Friday, October 21, 2011


It's getting chilly outside, so we know what that means: time to start thinking about Christmas gifts.  My thinking about gift giving has been evolving over the last few years. 
Gift giving is such an opportunity to express love and create something wonderful.  However, at the most basic level, gift giving amounts to nothing more than, "I'm expected to give a gift to _____ in ____ price range."
I try to be sensitive about needless "stuff collecting" for myself as well as for people I'm gifting to.  I really like DIY gifts, and think they're probably the best, but sometimes I don't have ideas for what homemade gift someone would want.

Some things to consider when buying a gift:
  • Remember to pay attention.  We (thankfully) have a few months before Christmas.  If someone makes a comment about what they'd really like to have, write it down!
  • Is there something I can give that would help support her/him in a hobby or creative pursuit? 
  • What does this person need? 
  • What is this person's love language? (Hint: The way they express love to you is probably the way they like to receive love.)
    • Words of Affirmation--This is my husband's love language.  Considering this helped me think of his Valentine's Day gift this last year.  I cut out 365 colorful strips of paper, and wrote something I loved about him on every piece and rolled it into a tight scroll, so he could read one a day for the rest of the year.
    • Quality Time--A special outing or date with this person would help them feel loved.  A good Christmas gift might be something that you can use together.  I think that this is my love language, so I love it when my husband takes me on a date, or buys me something that we can use together, like camping gear.  It seems like doing a project that took a lot of time might also fit into this category, even though the the time wasn't spent with them, it was spent for them.  I'm not sure about that, though.
    • Receiving Gifts- My dad loves to give gifts and gives them often, so I believe this is his love language.  Give him a well-thought out, quality piece of gear, and he'd really be feelin' the love.
    • Acts of Service--Coupons to do all the yucky jobs, or preparing a special meal might do the trick.
    • Physical Touch--With a spouse this is easier than with someone else--but can work with children too. 
Here are a few DIY gift ideas:
  • Bibs that tie in the back (my babies pull the velcro ones right off)
  • Lotion or pampering products for a new mama
  • For a kiddie birthday party, consider having your child make the gift, or help making the gift for a friend.  My son decorated a plain white hat with fabric paint for his friend's birthday last year.
  • Picnic Set for newly weds
  • Personalized stationery
  • Homemade preserves (or anything edible I think makes a great gift)
I still have a long way to go to be a good gift giver, so I'd love lots of feedback here.
  • What have been some of your favorite gifts to give or receive?
  • Do you have some websites or books that have good gift ideas?
  • Any good DIY ideas?
  • What's your love language and how does that translate to gift giving?


  1. Lovely post, Ariel! I confess, gift giving has never been one of my love languages and so I OFTEN forget to give them... I've found myself to be more of an experiences person, than a things person.

    I am re-finding the gift-giver in me, though, as it is definitely one of Joe's love languages. (He gets soooooo excited about giving gifts!) I prefer a genuinely heartfelt gift to a bunch of stuff that has no real meaning. Great ideas!

  2. I remember my first Christmas dating Cameron... he gave me 8 or 9 really nice, very personal, thoughtful gifts. I was horrified, as I gave him 1 middle-of-the-line thoughtful gift! I'm with Melissa in the gift-giver category, often forgetting about giving them altogether. But I am getting a little better!

    I loved Abraham's birthday present to Samuel. It was so sweet that he gave Sammy a toy from his own collection and pennies he had saved himself. That is such a good way to teach littl'uns about true gift giving --- much better than going to ToysRUs and having them pick something out for you to purchase!

    Cam and I like giving framed photographs that we have taken, especially of places that have meaning to the recipient.

  3. Giving is the best. I loved this post. Thanks for getting me thinking about this. (If I relied on the weather to let me know Christmas was getting closer, I'd probably miss it! It's HOT here.)

    Keenan is also words (mainly). Any affectionate written words I give him, whether in a letter or on a post-it, are kept forever. (Great Valentine idea, Ariel!) I'm mostly a time person, but I have a fair amount of service in there too, I think. One Valentines Day when we were dating in college (I was living with a friend and her parents), I was gone all day and wouldn't get home until very late. Keenan spent all day cleaning and organizing my much neglected room. He also left a few little gifts, had music playing, a candle burning, and a heart on the door for when I got home (though he wasn't there). I will never forget that.

    One of my favorite gifts I've given him was our second married Christmas together. He'd been hoarding a few old classical records that he loved, despite not having a record player! So I did some research and invested in a relatively cheap turntable (and a few more records) for him that Christmas. I knew he was going to be thrilled, so it was very exciting to give.

    For a lot of really great ideas that could work for gifts, check out the archives of's Friday Make and Dos. With each idea, she posted a link to a tutorial of some sort. I love browsing through them. (Thanks, Amy, if you happen to see this!)

    Your mention of lotion reminded me of a great, easy (and safe!) recipe I saw recently (I've used her similar recipes for aftershave for Keenan and diaper cream for Daniel). If you're interested, check out:

    Let's keep sharing these ideas!

  4. Thanks for posting. You've helped me to start thinking about creative and meaningful ways to give to show others how much I love them. It actually makes the Holiday season much more exciting to look forward to.