Here is your official gift-giving guide, friends. There are three ‘main’ types of people when it comes to gifts. Which one sounds like you?
- The Santa Claus apprentice. If it wasn’t frowned upon, they’d be the people up on the roof pushing Santa off so they can take his place they looove giving gifts this much. They’re the ones you find saying “gift-giving” is my love language. Giving gifts is something that genuinely brings them joy and they look forward to the season of giving all year long, Christmas in July anyone?
- The mom and pop of gifts. Gifts are great, but one time a year is enough for me. If you love to love on others and cherish how a gift can portray that love, but can sometimes find it overwhelming or stressful especially when you have other things on your plate or in a busy season of life then you likely lay here, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
- The Corporate Gifter. You don’t hate gifts, it’s just not your thing. You prefer everyone to make lists so you know what to ACTUALLY give people-things that they genuinely want, maybe even something practical. You can’t seem to wrap your head around the reason why everyone has to do secret Santa gift exchanges or white elephant gift parties at the office that requires you to buy a gift for someone you know nothing about but somehow still manage to wow everyone with a thoughtful and unique cool gift that leaves people impressed with your idea. You secretly wish you had the skill that you feel so many others have with their ability to pick out the perfect gift so effortlessly, but you can’t seem to connect the dots when you find yourself spending hours shopping and lost looking at all the choices.
You see this spectrum, right? On one hand, we have the ride or die gifters, on the other hand, people who could take it or leave it.
The truth is no matter where you are on this “spectrum” we all struggle with gifts at one point or another. Whether it’s a tricky gift situation that pops up or you just don’t have time, sometimes we need to pull out our handy ultimate gifting guide to help us problem solve and get ourselves out of a gifting dilemma and into solution mode.
That is why we’ve created this Ultimate Guide to Gift Giving, to help you solve all your gifting troubles and ease your stress during the gifting giving holiday season.
Gift or No Gift:
First, let’s talk gifts or no gifts. Scenario number one, you don’t know if you should bring a gift or if you and x, y, or z are doing gift exchanging this year.
I’ll be straight to the point, it’s better to be prepared and come with a gift than to be the person who stands there receiving a gift someone was thoughtful enough to give you and you have nothing to share in return. No time? No money? Don’t know what to get? -If you have the question do I need to get a gift…the answer is yes. Be the thoughtful generous person with a gift. Side note: you can always leave it hidden then grab it when needed if the moment does come up where gifts are exchanged, and if no gifting happens then you can either keep the gift you got for yourself, re-gift, donate, return it, or exchange it. Should you still do your best to give a thoughtful gift to someone anyways? Yes. The holidays are all about acts of kindness, if you have the opportunity to pass that on- I’d encourage you to do the kind thing.
To Ask or not to Ask: Christmas Lists
We go back and forth with this a lot in my family. Are we doing lists this or year or nah?
If you’re not sure what to get a friend, co-worker, or a gift for some gift exchange-should you ask them for a list?
Does asking for lists ruin the fun surprise of gifts?
To ask or not to ask!?!
While this is a personal preference and there is no wrong answer. You don’t have to ask or not ask for a list.
My suggestion? Ask for a list, then pick one or two items to get off of the list and then one item not on the list for a surprise. Do a little balance. Only getting one gift? It’s okay to stick to the list, especially if it doesn’t give you anything to work with on ideas for gifts that wouldn’t be on the list.
If it’s work sitch, suggest the whole office provide their three things they’d like under a certain price limit to share for their secret Santa’s gift exchange or have everyone throw out x amount of ideas to create a compiled list for a general gift idea list. Trust me, everyone will appreciate and be grateful someone spoke up to give everyone a break on where to start or a baseline on what everyone’s doing gift wise.
Even with friends, if you want/need a list- send them a casual text like “bitch, what do you want for Christmas this year?” This gives a fun, pressure-off approach to sharing gifts with the girls.
Another idea is Pinterest boards!! Tell people to create Pinterest boards filled with ideas and things they want or like and send you the link.
If you prefer lists, there is nothing wrong with asking and hopefully it can give you some ideas of their interests/needs/wants to maybe snag something that can still surprise them whilst still making sure it’s something they will enjoy.
No Money No Problem:
The biggest and most common struggle for everyone. Budgets.
People don’t always have a lot of money to spend on gifts.
That’s okay, you have three options.
- Skip gifts and instead do quality time-style gifts where you plan special dates and experiences to have together.
- Set a spending limit and be intentional about what you buy and for whom, considering where you want to spend the most money for which gifts.
- Get creative with your gifts and think outside the box. For example, a handmade gift or any gift that is still precious but doesn’t cost much- a sentimental priceless gift.
Not sure specifics? Like what kind of experiences or dates or what you could make?
We have links to our posts full of gift ideas like our 7 Handmade Gift Ideas blog post.
To Go Overboard or Throw Yourself A Lifejacket:
However, some of us aka our founder and CEO, Marnie, (a classic example) are the type of people that no matter how much you stress to stick to a budget or keep things “low-key” they can never seem to help themselves, they can’t NOT go overboard when it comes to gifting.
If you are smiling and nodding right now, thinking to yourself, “guilty!” Or maybe you’re smiling and nodding because you know someone else JUST.LIKE.THAT.
Either way is there an answer to “let yourself go all out, it’s the Holidays anyways” or “should I be reasonable and not myself get to the point where someone might quite literally have to throw me a lifejacket to come out from under the pile of shopping I just did.”
The “adult answer” and proper solution is to plan out ahead some extra overflow. If you know this is a thing for you, make sure to add that into your planning. That way you aren’t exactly overdoing anything if you take into account your excess ahead of time and plan for it.
Secondly, prioritize showering others with sentimental and priceless gifts over indulgences. Basically, yes, that’s a fancy way of saying stick to quality over quantity, but the point of a gift is for someone else to feel loved and happy and find joy from the gift. Remind yourself to focus and work towards making each gift send the intention of thoughtfulness and care that it the person on the receiving end does feel special, loved, and thought of. This will allow you to limit yourself by making what you do give be truly significant.
Lastly, if you’re the kind of person that “goes big or goes home” -we have a lot of those in our family- then wear that gifting badge with honor. There’s nothing wrong with being who you are and doing what you love to do. If you love to go overboard and it makes you and your loved ones happy then you go big, girl. No shame. You send your endless love out into the world. I know I do!
Still looking for how you can rein in the cavalry that is your family and loved ones on gifts? Try checking out our 5 Gift Guideline post on how to transform gift exchanging into a fun game!
Gifts for the Impossible Sitch’
We all have that moment where something pops up, like a secret Santa gift exchange or you have to find a gift for a boss or acquaintance, where we find ourselves wondering, “how in the world do I get myself into these things” or asking the Universe, “why is it always me?! How am I the one that always gets stuck with these impossible situations?!”
There are as many impossible situations that occur as there are gift ideas to share. While we can’t cover every situation nor all the ideas we can direct you on to a path to discover the perfect idea for your own unique situation.
First tip is determining how well you know this person. Can you walk through any of the solutions above? Such as asking for a list or can you determine some of their interests? (i.e. movies/tv/music, hobbies, travel, favorite food/drink, etc.)
That will determine your next step, how generic does this gift have to be? If it is a complete stranger then it has to be a pretty generic gift.
Using the posts below of gift ideas-you should be able to narrow down a type of gift.
Our go-to solution for the impossible situation is to hand-make a gift (if someone insults a handmade gift that just makes them an ass-but still makes you look good) OR we put together our own curated gift box full of different treats and goodies that anyone would enjoy (tip: if you know anything about them then this is the perfect opportunity to personalize by adding some small things here and there that you know they like or would enjoy and shows them that you made it special just to their taste)- which then shows the thoughtfulness you put into the gift for them.
Another trick to the impossible gift is adding in something special, local, handmade/homemade from a small business to share with that person to show support for your community (how could any gift go wrong with that?), which leads us to our next thought to ponder…
Shop Small? Say it again for the people in the back, SHOP SMALL!
To shop small or to not shop…woah wait, what?! There’s no “not” here. Always as much as you possibly can SHOP SMALL.
We’ll scream it from rooftops if we have to. SHOP SMALL, PEOPLE!
If you’re wondering how pressing it is to shop small and add to the burden for yourself to spend more money and time to shop small, we’d like to emphasize our encouragement that you do shop small burden or no burden. Where you shop can make a difference in the world, just by making the conscious choice and effort to do so, you alone can help make an impact in the world. So yes, shop small.
If you need ideas or suggestions on where you can shop small you can check out Pinterest, Instagram, Etsy, and Bloggers for their “favorite shops” lists for shopping small. Or you can post to Facebook asking for your friends, family, loved ones to share their recommendations. We share suggestions on our social platforms via @themintsweater as well.
I Still Need Ideas:
Okay, we’ve covered some of the struggles we can face when it comes to giving gifts this holiday season, but sometimes you may just be stuck and while you know how to handle some of the situations we all could still use some ideas.
Here’s a compiled list of our blog posts where we share a variety of gift ideas to help you tackle your gift list.
The Mint Sweater Boutique 2020 Holiday Gift Guide
Future and All Mint Sweater Gift Guides
CEO Marnie’s Youtube Channel (Gift Giving Ideas Video)
Give the Gift of Giving: Make sure your loved ones get to feel the good feelin’s too.
A few years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about gift giving and receiving and it changed my life. It really did.
I wrote a whole blog post on it too.
If you were to ask me the question I asked you at the very beginning of this post, “where do I stand on the gift spectrum?” …well, before I would have been 1. I was the girl who WISHED she was Santa Claus. No really I did.
I was so in love with giving gifts that I lost sight of the true purpose of giving. I lost sight of compassion and selflessness.
Until someone opened my eyes to see the world differently. Here is an excerpt from the post I wrote.
A quote by Alexander McCall Smith described this eye-opening experience for us perfectly.
He said, “Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be harder than giving…accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
Being able to take the time to get out of your own head and place yourself in other people’s shoes to understand both sides can help you to see how you can truly be serving others when receiving their gifts.
We realized in those moments it wasn’t JUST about us and how we feel, it IS about THEM and allowing them to feel happy in the spirit of giving after all that is what the season of giving is all about.
This is how we learned what it means to be a graceful gift receiver.”
The lesson is if you truly love others, it is just as important to allow them to feel the beauty of giving to you as you love that same feeling when you give to them. When you struggle with receiving you aren’t being a graceful gift receiver and therefore you might be robbing others of a loving experience that could fill their heart up by letting them show their love by giving to you.
If you haven’t yet, I would love for you to read through my post How to be a Graceful Gift Receiver and learn just how truly important it is that you allow others to have the precious experience of giving just as much as you love to do the same for others.
There is an abundant amount of love and thoughtfulness that goes into gifts, but sometimes it’s not always an easy task.
I hope that this compilation and creation of our version of the “Ultimate Guide to Gifting” becomes your one-stop-shop for problem-solving your gift-giving stresses this holiday season. From gift ideas to sticky situations to mindset shifts, I hope this post can be your one guide that has everything you need to make it through the gift-giving season.
Have your own gift-giving tip you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! or still have something you struggle with and need ideas or input? Feel free to ask me below and I’d be happy to put our minds together to come up with any possible solutions and ideas for you.
I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season.
With love from The Mint Sweater.
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