The Mindful Gift-Giver’s Guide to Selfless Giving

This time of year everyone is posting best gift lists for everyone in your family and every type of person imaginable. Allow me to take a different approach, as I am someone who adores the full contemplation process behind gift giving.

My history of gift giving comes out of good-natured sibling rivalry. Each year my sister and I had an unspoken competition of who could give the best Christmas gift to my parents and to each other. Obviously the gift giver would receive extra points for complete surprise, a moment of actual silence upon opening the gift and the number of people who cried tears of love and delight.

It was an excellent way to evaluate gift giving because it didn’t usually come with a high price tag, though time devoted did have a tendency to win out over quickly thrown together gifts. What it taught me was that the perfect gift is always out there and a little brainstorming and real examination of a person’s current life would usually bring it to light.

So instead of providing the pre-made list of items (sorry), I will instead offer questions on how to figure out the perfect gift on your own.

First step is making a mental list of the best gifts you’ve ever received. Don’t go for the obvious, but let your mind come to the ones you remember receiving and cherishing. I’ll offer you my short list for inspiration.

My Top Gifts of All Time

  • Cameo necklace
  • String of pearls
  • Statue of Venus
  • Print of a favorite artist
  • Friend’s photography
  • Slippers
  • Christmas tree ornaments for my future Christmas trees
  • Sourdough starter
  • My first car

What all of these items on my list and probably your list have in common is the absolute delight that they provided upon opening and then the nearly daily excitement of having them in my life.  Some of them were incredibly cheap, others required a ton of research and planning, and others actually did cost quite a bit of money.  But all were absolutely perfect in the moment.

Things to consider when contemplating each person on your gift-giving list.

  1. What is their life like right now?
  2. What is their aesthetic and what item of beauty would bring them joy?
  3. How do they eat their meals? How important is food?
  4. If you could describe a physical sensation of pleasure or rest for this person what would it include? What would it look like?
  5. What do they need/want more than anything right now in the world? How could you help them start that process or encourage energy to flow towards that goal?
  6. What gift would you want them to give to you? Why that gift and what does that say about your relationship?
  7. How do you want your relationship to change based on this gift? What messages should this gift contain?
  8. What are the different selves of this person? Which self is most hidden and under-appreciated? What present does that self need?
  9. What would bring this person their type of wellness in 2014?
  10. What makes them laugh or cry tears of joy?
  11. What are their highest values? How could you support or showcase one of those values?
  12. What do the gifts they’ve given you in the past reveal about their gift giving principles?

The perfect gift reveals itself as a symbol of someone truly knowing you and what makes you a unique being in the world. There is no price tag associated with that sensation. You can never spend too little (or perhaps too much) on the perfect gift if it is the one that truly warms the heart.

Think wellness might be the best gift? Check out Window of Heaven’s latest special!

Image credit: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo

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