giving with meaning: 2016 holiday gift guide

giving with meaning: 2016 holiday gift guide

Today, I'm excited to share with you the fouth post in a new series: Giving with Meaning! 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 new series I'm going to 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 this series here!


Last week, Kurt and I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit my family for Thanksgiving and kick off the holiday season. Because we will be with Kurt's family in Illinois for Christmas, we combined our celebrations in Pennsylvania, having our very first "Happy Merry Thanksmas"! It was definitely a different type of holiday, combining our favorite elements of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it allowed us to celebrate and spend lots of time with my family.

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. This year, because I put the time in ahead of the holiday sales, I was able to complete all of my holiday shopping in the weekend after Thanksgiving! 

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 with you the first ever Giving with Meaning: Holiday Gift Guide! This guide is full of some of my favorite things that I'm giving this year (and some that were given to me!), and I hope it helps inspire you in your own shopping! 


For someone who loves to be in the kitchen...

My mom actually gave Kurt this recipe box from Rifle Paper Co. this year during our "Happy Merry Thanksmas" gift exchange. Now you might be thinking, "A recipe box? Really?" BUT! It's what she filled it with that is so meaningful. 

Inside the box, she placed some of her favorite holiday cookie recipes that she used to make with her mom when she was growing up. So on the last day of our trip home, Kurt and I were able to write out these cookie recipes on the enclosed cards and enjoy hearing my mom talk about her favorite meals and memories. Now each time we bake those cookies in our own home, we will be reminded of this holiday and my mom! 

For someone who is ready for 2017...

In the last few days, my Facebook timeline has been full of friends sharing how ready they are for 2016 to be over and a fresh start to arrive with 2017. And I totally get it - 2016 really rocked some people! I certainly have moments of the past year that I'd like to wipe away.

For those friends who are ready for that fresh start, give them the gift of intentional goals for 2017! You've heard me talk about PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters throughout my posts about my 2016 goals. With both 6 month and 12 month versions of this intentional goal setting planner, there is an option for everyone! 

For someone who is having a baby this year...

I am definitely in that season of life where all of my closest girl friends are having babies. And as a renewed knitter, I am loving how creative I am able to be with gifts this year for those special women! 

This knitting kit from Purl Soho comes in a number of color combinations and includes the yarn to make one Pointy Hat for a newborn baby. And let me tell you - it is absolutely darling in person. While it does take a little bit of time to make, the time spent thinking about the little baby who will someday wear this sweet little hat means it passes rather quickly. 

For someone who has (or wants) a gallery wall...

You know how much Kurt and I love filling our apartment walls with prints and memories from the places we've visited and lived, and I love being able to help my friends and family decorate the spaces they live in as well. With so many options to choose from, these art prints from Rifle Paper Co. are perfect for adding a little bit of love to a wall! 

These art prints encompass a wide variety of subjects ranging from exotic locations to ice cream cones made of flowers, which means there is an option that will work for a number of people on your holiday gift list!

For someone who has moved away from home...

I received this candle from my brother during our "Happy Merry Thanksmas" gift exchange, and I was blown away by how thoughtful of a gift it was! It's no secret to my friends and family that I am itching to be closer to home in the northeast. While Kurt and I have made a very comfortable life for ourselves in Florida, it just doesn't always feel like "home". 

These candles come in specific scents for every single one of the fifty states - for example, the candle from Pennsylvania smells like chocolate and molasses! So if you have a friend who has recently moved or is needing a little reminder of where they are from, send them one of these and let them have the experience of being "home" even when they aren't there. 

For someone who seems to have everything...

We all have that one friend who seems to have everything. Enter Greetabl! While I haven't sent one of these little boxes yet, I have my eye on a few combinations for when someone in my life is in need of 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. This one with silver and gold confetti would be perfect for helping to ring in the New Year! 


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! 


our trip to Vancouver!

our trip to Vancouver!

giving with meaning: our first anniversary

giving with meaning: our first anniversary

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