Seasonal consumerism gets a bad rap, and never more than with Valentine’s Day! It’s gaudy, it’s excessive, it’s unnecessary… What can I say? By and large, I agree.
Are gifts altogether bad? Does a tangible, physical item have to fall under the ethically-minded, wannabe-minimalist’s (that’s me, btw) no-no list of “stuff”?
Here’s my problem. I don’t like “stuff” (or “junk”), but I do like gifts. I like giving them, and I like receiving them.
I love donation gifts like a chicken or goat or school supplies; I also think “experience gifts” or other alternatives are also brilliant! But, I also like to wrap a thoughtful gift, place it in someone’s hands, and see them handle it, use it, & enjoy it.
I asked some friends, customers, & followers about meaningful gifts they’ve received in the past from a mate/love-of-their-life/partner-in-crime. Here is a list of some faves:
Art. In my opinion, art is never a bad idea! Big or small, print or original: it lasts, it’s unique, and it adds real value & warmth to your living space. Seeking out a piece of artwork that you both agree on can be fun (says the eternal optimist) or, maybe, an activity to save for another weekend. (or year. or never.)
Jewellery. It’s cliché, but a special piece of jewellery is classic, beautiful, and endures over time as a memento of a relationship or a life milestone.
Something Handmade. Don’t immediately bust out the knitting needles, but friends said again and again that receiving something created by their handy andy was a very meaningful gift. Time! Effort! These are the building blocks of a well-received, meaningful gift.
A Repeating Gift. Flowers are beautiful, but you know what is better than flowers on Valentine’s Day? Flowers all year! Subscription services or thingy-of-the-month gifts continue the thoughtfulness long past the initial gift-giving (*IMPORTANT: Said “thingy” has to be something that the recipient actually, you know, likes.)
Small, but Thoughtful. S put it best: “I am delighted if my husband picks up a tiny bag of Mini Eggs or a chocolate bar from Bernard Callebaut for me. It costs almost nothing and it is gone in minutes, but it’s something that shows me he thought of what I really like, not giving a gift for the sake of it.”
Just Organize it. “I’ll make you dinner! What do you want me to make?” is the worst. Every woman I know spends big chunks of her time planning, organizing, & serving other people like her kids, spouse, neighbours, students, etc. Said one customer: “If he plans something for us – the sitter, the location, the activity – I don’t even care what it is. The time & effort itself makes it amazing.”
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