giving with meaning: 2018 holiday gift guide

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!"

This year, Kurt and I actually decided that we would not be giving gifts in order to be a bit more responsible fiscally at the end of the year. While this was a little difficult for me to agree to, I know it is what is best for our family this year. For those of you who might be in similar situations as we are this year, you’ll notice that everything on this year’s gift guide is at a price point of $50 or less!

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 celebrate...


If I was making a holiday wish list this year, this would be at the top of the list! I’ve shared here how much I love celebrating the friendships and relationships in my life, and the new Celebration Binder from the Cultivate What Matters Shop is a great way to keep track of celebrations throughout the year, both big and small.  

With monthly checklists, a perpetual calendar to track important dates, and space to dream and plan for events you’ve chosen to celebrate, this new tool from the team at Cultivate What Matters is one that will help focus your energy as you celebrate throughout the year.

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

seed bombs.jpg

In the second half of this year we spent a lot of time working outside in our yard, cleaning up things from those who lived here before us and making plans for our green spaces. As we continue to think about how to improve our yard, one thing that I’ve been keen on including are native plants to encourage pollinators to visit us more often!

These Native Regional Seed Bombs from terrain are an easy, low maintenance way to introduce native plants to your garden. Just drop the seed bombs where you want them and watch them transform a backyard space or open field into a miniature garden of beautiful flowers. They sprout from seed to bloom, helping restore native pollinator habitats. And with varieties for six different regional areas of the United States, there’s an option for everyone.

For someone who is a kid at heart...

birch railway advent calendar.jpg

I love advent calendars and the excitement they build toward Christmas, and this Birch Railway Advent Calendar from terrain is perfect for your friend who is a kid at heart!

The beautifully carved birch figurines make it easy and fun to build a winter tableau on the mantel or below the tree. Add a new piece to the scene each day in December as you count down to Christmas, and keep it for years to come in the included drawstring storage bag.

For someone who just bought a new home...

House plants are a common gift to give to new homeowners, but what to do in the winter when green plants are sometimes hard to find? I turn to bulbs that are best forced inside like amaryllis or paperwhites from White Flower Farms!

The shapely blooms and rich, iridescent colors of these indoor plants light up a cold day like nothing else. Carefully prepared, these bulbs require only warm temperatures, attention to watering, and bright light to deliver a truly spectacular performance, a process that is great fun to watch.  

For someone who seems to have everything...


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. This candle and matches pairing is sure to bring a sweet smile - and scent! - to your friends this holiday season.

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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