How to give more thoughtful gifts

Gift giving is one of my favourite things. My friends have started to expect getting magically inspired things from me – a crystal slipping into their birthday bag like it’s no big deal, or a sprig of lavender or thyme attached to the wrapping paper. Here are my four tips for giving more thoughtful gifts:



Believe it or not, the actual present is only part of the gift giving process. Knowing the recipient is key, assuming you’re not doing the polite thing and bringing over a bottle of wine to a housewarming or something equivalent. But even so, I’d probably still complete all these steps. Peruse the person’s Pinterest boards if they have any or scan their instagram and facebook accounts. This only takes (max!) ten minutes and gives you an idea of what the person is interested in – at the moment. This is important. It shows you pay attention to them and their interests, and people love feeling important. Is she pinning a lot of home things lately? Is he constantly reposting clips from his favourite SNL skits on his instagram? Spot any trends and give a timely gift.


Gone are the days where we need to search for the perfect message in a semi-decent looking card. Never buy a card with a message inside. Cards should be blank, just waiting for the twirls of your pen to come up with something sweet and memorable. Cards aren’t meant for someone else’s words. What you’re really looking for is something on the front of a card that could hold its own in a picture frame – preferably something the recipient would appreciate or want to frame. Inside the card is your chance to get gooey. Tell the person what it is about them you’re grateful for and why you value them in their life. We don’t do this sufficiently, and people aren’t told what is special about them enough. What’s more – no one expects messages like this! If the recipient of your gift gets really quiet while reading your card, you know you did right. Bonus points if they draw tears.


Whatever the gift is, adding something small and clever on top of the main gift says, “Oh, and I just had to get this for you, too. I was thinking about you a lot.” It doesn’t need to be expensive; a funny key chain, a crystal, a candle in their favourite scent or a Starbucks card. Even an old picture you found of you and the person from a memorable time. Just something separate from the main gift. This tells the recipient that you weren’t just out shopping for just anything because giving a gift felt mandatory. People don’t actually care what they get. They care more about how your gift makes them feel. And that’s what they’ll remember.


Honestly? I would argue this is the most important part. How you seal your gift is the first impression the recipient will see and it sets the tone for the whole gift opening experience. Getting clever wrapping paper is actually inexpensive when it isn’t Christmas, Easter or something equivalent, but one of my favourite tricks is to just use great brown recycled paper, or the paper from my Stendig calendar of past months. Recycle! To make it look polished, wrap your gift with jute, twine, ribbon – even funky string you have lying around at home. I usually just wrap a piece of jute around the present about ten times and then tie a knot on the underside. Then I tuck a fresh filler flower like baby’s breath or spray mums (things I usually have at home), herbs or feather into the jute. Someone gifted me a couple bags of naturally fallen feathers from a local farm and I swear it’s the gift that keeps on giving. All these extra little nuggets show the gift’s recipient that you care about how they feel even before they open their present. And skip the bag. People like tearing that paper. Don’t underestimate the power of presentation.

There are tons of ways gift giving can be a better experience for everyone. It’s important to let the important people around you feel – important! What things have you done to make gift giving more thoughtful?