“They’re just so hard to shop for!” How many times have we found ourselves saying these words when it’s time to buy a gift for someone in our lives?
But the truth is, gift giving, as is many things in our lives, can be approached from a mindful perspective. In the same way that we apply mindfulness to our yoga practice, or when we prepare our meals, the act of gift giving can be centered in awareness and care as well.
Here are five tips to cultivate the practice of mindful gift giving.
We’ve all heard it before: put the mask on yourself before you put the mask on others. When was the last time you treated yourself to a nice meal? Or a relaxing massage? Or a day off? Before we are able to cultivate the act of giving to others, make sure that you are giving enough to yourself. Trust me when I say that your loved ones would rather see you healthy and happy than to receive the latest iteration of that gadget they probably don’t even need. Taking some time to be the best version of yourself is the best gift you can give your loved ones.
Gift giving doesn’t have to be limited to what’s on a Hallmark card. Gifts are a physical manifestation of how we feel about a person or a message that we want to convey. It doesn’t have to be anything big- from their favorite candies or sending over some pizza when they’re not having a great day, simple acts can make them feel like you’re thinking about them, even if you’re far away.
If you know about the five love languages, you would know that you can show someone that you care in a variety of ways. There can be acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch or quality time! These things could mean as much to a person or more as any material object. To make things even more fun, try making your own coupons with the act of service you’re gifting.
Giving gifts is a chance to show that person that you have been attentive and have been listening to their needs. Watch out for little hints they may be dropping in conversations about what they need in their lives. Figure out ways in which a gift can make their lives better. Has your partner been telling you about a workout they’ve been wanting to try? Or a software they’ve been needing to upgrade for work? Being more present and actively listening when we’re around people is not only a gift in itself, it can also help find gifts they will actually love and use.
One advantage of giving material objects as gifts is that they have the potential to last a lifetime. Oftentimes, we tend to go with what is on-trend, or a passing fancy that might not be important by next year. Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones that have the potential to outlast us, to bare witness to the lives we live.