giving with meaning: 2018 holiday gift guide

Finding meaningful gifts is something I truly love to do. However, budgets, timing, and distance often impact how I celebrate those I love. In this series I share how I've kept each of those things in mind as I assemble meaningful gifts for my friends and family. You can read more posts from the Giving with Meaning series here!


When it comes to giving gifts at the holidays, I like to spend a lot of time planning and browsing before I do any spending. That way I can limit impulse purchases, stick to my budget, and find unique and meaningful gifts for my friends and family. 

As I think about gifts for my friends and family during the holidays, there are a couple of things I consider: 

  • What have been the high or low points of their past year? 
  • What is something that they've talked about wanting or needing?
  • What does their day-to-day look like? 

Each of these questions helps me narrow down my choices and personalize each gift I'm planning to give so that it is meaningful and thoughtful. Thinking about gift-giving in this way, especially during a season that can sometimes be draining or distracting, helps me say to someone, "I know and care for you, and I pay attention to what you say and do. In my life, you matter!"

So, with that in mind, I'm excited to share the 2018 Giving with Meaning: Holiday Gift Guide! This guide is full of some of my favorite things, and I hope it helps inspire you in your own shopping! 


For someone who loves to travel...

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I bought this crossbody bag from Madewell for myself before our trip to London and Paris at the beginning of this year. After almost a year of use, it's become my absolute favorite bag!

The strap can be adjusted to different lengths, making it easy to use as both a crossbody and a shoulder bag. The zip top makes it easy to keep important items safe, and the overall size isn't large enough that it gets too heavy to carry. For your friend who loves to travel, this bag would be a beautiful gift! 

For someone who is working on their green thumb...

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Ever since I started living on my own, I've struggled to keep plants alive. I am constantly watering too much or not watering enough - that balance continues to eludes me! That's why I love these little knitted cactus plants from the You Me Serendipity Knit Shop - they will be ever green! 

Perfect on a window sill, book shelf or a desktop, these little knitted cactus plants are a great way to help encourage your friend who is still working on their green thumb. 

For someone who wants to strengthen their faith...

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I have been following Valerie Woerner from Val Marie Papers on Instagram for the better part of a year. She is a beautiful writer and doesn't hesitate to showcase her real life, which on a platform that sometimes feels like it showcases pretty over realistic is so refreshing! Following her has also given me more confidence as I've worked toward one of my 2017 goals to have less fear in living a faith-driven life. 

Something that I've added to my own Christmas wish list this year is one of her prayer journals. Val Marie Paper journals seem more straightforward and simple compared to other prayer journals that I've looked at. And with a variety of versions to choose from, there is an option for everyone on your list! 

For someone who had a baby last year...

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A year later and now all my friends who had babies last year are celebrating first birthdays! I've thought a lot about gifts that will celebrate their first year of motherhood, and something that I think could be so meaningful is a map from The Night Sky.

These 18" x 24" prints feature a unique snapshot of the night sky from an important date. They would be beautiful in a nursery or as a part of a gallery wall. And because each is different based on the date and location selected, they could become a tradition continued for each child!

For someone who just bought a new home...

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While there are a lot of things we've done in our new home, finding a warm way to welcome guests was something I was especially excited about. Welcome mats are a beautiful and efficient way to give a hint about what guests will see when they enter your home! I prefer thick coir mats which are made with coconut husk fibers, making them durable season after season. 

I love this one from Magnolia, and this one from Target. Or, make your own using this DIY from Chris Loves Julia! With changing options for the changing seasons, it is a fun way to bring a bit of personality to a front porch or entry! 

For someone who seems to have everything...

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We all have that one friend who seems to have everything. Enter Greetabl! I included this on last year's gift guide, and after sending a few of these little boxes this past year I love how these simple gifts are a great way to send a surprise pick-me-up!

The concept is genius - pick the box design, pick the little item to be placed inside, write your message and it is sent off to your most unsuspecting friend. These cute socks would be perfect for encouraging a friend preparing for a big event! 


I hope this Giving with Meaning: Holiday Gift Guide helps you navigate this gift-giving season! I'd love to know - how do you approach your own gift-giving at the holidays? What are some of the most meaningful gifts you've received? Share your thoughts in the comments! 


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