I’m getting ready to move from the home where I’ve lived for the past decade, and I can say with utmost conviction that I do not need more stuff. I love you, but please, do not gift me another basket of anything. If I cannot eat it, thank you, but no thank you.
Certainly, I’m not the only one feeling this way, moving house or not. But gifts must be given! Luckily, by reframing the gifting process slightly, you can choose surprising, meaningful gifts that won’t end up shoved in a closet or regifted next month.
I know it’s true because I have a few friends whose gifting skills make me both grateful to have them as friends and jealous of their ability to know me so well. Here are a few ways I think they do it.
What does your friend, mother, or sister, really want? There’s a good chance she’s telling you every day, but it takes some effort to actually hear the clues. Does she talk about always being too busy to cook? Treat her to a surprise Doordash from her favorite lunch spot or buy a bundle of pre-made meals from a meal delivery service.
Is she constantly in the know on the latest current events? Consider a book about a country she’s interested in or a biography of someone she finds fascinating. If you know she drives or walks a lot, gift it in audiobook form. Can’t sleep? (Who can?) Perhaps she wants a sleeping mask with Bluetooth speakers so the ocean (or Idris Elba) can lull them into slumber.
The science nerd in me typically steers clear of the mystical, but I’ve always had a soft spot for gemstones. While I don’t believe they have magical powers, I do believe they represent a certain power because they can spark a thought, which leads to feelings, which can lead to actions.
For example, a new acquaintance once gifted me three small crystals and explained what each one meant. I keep them on a bookshelf, and every time I catch a glimpse of them, I feel good because, one, a stranger gave me a gift, and two, one of the crystals is amethyst, which represents healing, transcendence, and intuition.
Your good vibes don’t have to be delivered via crystals, either. This method works with anything that promises to provide good vibes but takes up negligible space. My therapist once gave me a literal rock. I keep it on my desk, and it fortifies me every time I take it in my hands.
Help With Problem-Solving
Most women I know—especially my fellow midlifers—would give anything for more time to get things done. So, maybe that’s something you can give them. Volunteer to help them clean out their closet one weekend. (This is honestly the best gift anyone could give me right now).
Or take their kids for an afternoon. You can also cook something they love and deliver it. These are all relatively simple gestures, but your recipients’ appreciation will be huge. Because, in the end, no fancy gift is as valuable as feeling truly seen and heard.