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.”
Share below if you've received one of these gifts or if you have a totally different story of a meaningful gift from your cupid! And, obviously: fabulous, meaningful gifts live here ;)