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The Secret to Giving Meaningful Gifts This Holiday Season

Updated on October 27, 2013

A Meaningful Gift Guide

This holiday season, wouldn't it be wonderful to give your loved ones more meaningful gifts? How about gifts that inspire a more positive outlook on life, provide motivation to chase a dream, build deeper relationships or create memorable experiences?

If you've clicked on this article hoping to find a guide to quick gifts you can purchase, wrap and be done with, then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. The secret ingredient in these meaningful gifts is your time.

This gift guide has suggestions for every budget, all made special and meaningful by adding your personal touches and time. These personal touches are suggestions aimed to create fun experiences and strengthen relationships, resulting in a joy and happiness that will hopefully be felt throughout the coming year.

I hope you enjoy this guide. The personal touches are suggestions and, if they aren't right for you, I hope they inspire you to think creatively about how you can give a truly meaningful gift this holiday season. We would love to hear any of your ideas in the comment below.

Image by Leah Abernathy / edited by Author with permission.

Gift: A Year of Happy Thoughts

Moleskine 2014 Weekly Planner+Notes, 12 Month, Pocket, Red, Hard Cover (3.5 x 5.5)
Moleskine 2014 Weekly Planner+Notes, 12 Month, Pocket, Red, Hard Cover (3.5 x 5.5)

I've love my Moleskine diary; I've been using one religiously for the past 4 years. The quality of Moleskine diaries really shines through: the beautiful hard cover, the quality paper, the simple design. This particular design has a simple weekly planner on the left side and plain, lined paper on the right. It is perfect for me, because I use my diary as both a day planner and a journal. At the back is a small pocket with a small removable notebook. This mini notebook has tabs and labels.

However, you can use any diary if a Moleskine is not in your budget – it’s the personal touches that make this gift special.


Add A Personal Touch

Go through and write personal messages, along with a few of your favourite quotes, hidden throughout the year. You could write in surprises, like a lunch date or a night at the movies (maybe include these as part of the gift.) I can't think of anything better than turning over a fresh page in my diary and being reminded of the love a friend or family member has for me.

I love the idea of using the removable notebook in this diary to take this one step further. Use the labels and create a tab called Memories and fill a few pages with your favourite memories of this person. Create another tab called Actions and write a list of suggested actions that can lift your mood; make a cup of tea, go outside and look at the sky, call your mother, or write a gratitude list.

There are so many ways you could fill the little notebook. If you need more inspiration try these books for ideas.

Gift: A New Way of Seeing the World

Give the gift of a camera and encourage your loved one to take part in a photo a day challenge. Ask them to take a photo each day and then share the results with you. Create a regular lunch date to share the photos, encourage them to share their photos on social media or you could even create a free blog with Blogger or Wordpress and include the login details in the card!

So often, we see what we look for in life. By taking a photo every day, you are encouraging your loved one to look for kindness, beauty and love; to slow down and take a quiet moment to see and appreciate the world around them. Also, taking a photo every day helps inspire the photographer to make their life photo worthy! I've started taking more photos recently and I found this inspires me to get out more.

Be inspired by this beautiful story of Jamie Livingston. He took a polaroid photo every day until he died. Encouraging your loved one to take a photo each day, gives them the gift of a history of their life. (Next year you could put all their photos into a bound book as a great follow up gift!)

Open Your Eyes to All the Beauty in the World
Open Your Eyes to All the Beauty in the World

Image by the Author

Gift: A Good Start to the Day

For most of us, mornings are often the most stressful part of the day. However, I've found that waking up a little bit earlier and having a peaceful morning ritual can completely turn my day around. I feel calm, happy, in control and ready to face the day!

Here are some very inexpensive guides to help your loved one create a morning ritual.

(Helpful Hint - Amazon offers gift cards that are a great way to give Kindle books. Just print out your suggestions and include them in your card!)

Personally, my morning ritual involves a beautiful cup of coffee. I use a french press and I love it. There is something soothing about the ritual, much more romantic than popping a pod in a Keurig. A great personal touch to this gift would be the offer to get up early and share the morning ritual!

You could print this inspiring article about tea rituals and include it with your gift.

Go Where Your Dreams Take You
Go Where Your Dreams Take You

Gift: Encourage a Dream

We all have dreams, but sadly we too often let them slip away un-pursued. It is easy to think your dream is too farfetched, too big, too distant, and without any encouragement it is easy to give up.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is to encourage someone to chase their dream. Show your loved one you believe in their dream and help them build a plan to a plan to get there.

For example, if your sister has a dream to travel around Europe, buy her a book to help her planning. But don't stop there - help create milestones. I love the idea of also including envelopes or small gifts with goals on them, such as "pay off credit card debt", "save x amount", etc. Inside each envelope could be a treat related to her goal, such as an Eiffel Tower keychain, a Spanish cookbook, a travel journal, or a date at a art museum. Anything to offer encouragement and show your support.

Image by Gustavo Devito / edited by Author with permission.

Don't Forget Your Real Gift is Time

No matter what your budget is, the most important part of all of these gifts suggestions is your time.

After the holiday season finishes, don't forget the promises you've made with gifts. Follow through on your dinner dates, afternoon walks, or morning coffee; Make the time and it will be a gift both you and the recipient will enjoy all year long.

What personal touches do you add to make your gifts more meaningful?

Share Your Meaningful Gift Suggestions

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    • jennifer88 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @LauraHofman: good advice!

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Personal gifts are the absolute best! I try to purchase or design gifts way in advance as I think of the recipient and the best fit (most thoughtful) for the person. Better to plan ahead so you aren't scrambling at the last minute.

    • toshia lm profile image

      toshia lm 

      5 years ago

      nice lens thank you for sharing

    • jennifer88 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @lesliesinclair: great suggestion!

    • jennifer88 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Valerie Bloom: Thank you :)

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Great lens! These are truly wonderful gift ideas!

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      Jars of my homemade gourmet sassies and sauces.

    • jennifer88 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @valmillsy: Sounds lovely :) thanks for sharing!

    • valmillsy profile image


      5 years ago

      I try to personalize my gifts. For example, a recent 60th birthday gift for my spouse was a shutterfly photo book of the last few vacations. The gift was truly appreciated.

    • jennifer88 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Pam Irie: Yes definitely! I'm glad you enjoyed my guide :)

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I really try to think about the recipient before I make a selection which is another way of saying meaningful, right? Good suggestions here; thank you! :)


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