I don’t need the holidays as an excuse to buy gifts for my friends and family — gift-giving is one of my most prominent love languages, through which I express my affection without any need for a gift in return. Whenever I see something unique or interesting on a shopping trip, and am not in the position to snag it for myself, I try to match personalities and hobbies with whatever I find, be it a beautiful old map from a flea market or some bauble in a boutique.
I’ve been planning my Christmas list for months now, and I almost have all of the gifts purchased or DIY’d. But there are always opportunities to find more gifts, whether for a hostess or for a friend who just really needs a pick-me-up. My favorite gifts to give are simple, often homemade, but classically lovely no matter what the occasion.
For a hostess, I love to bring flowers or a really nice candle. I am a huge candle fan. I can never have enough, especially when they smell like the woods or a campfire or a pumpkin pie. A candle can make even the most somber corner look inviting, and even the most sterile bathroom seem luxurious. A little potted plant is always a sweet touch, and unless the recipient has a completely black thumb they’ll think of you fondly each time they water their new fern or aloe vera bud.
Friends, especially good ones, deserve something unique. Maybe even a little bit quirky and frivolous. Something they wouldn’t buy for themselves but would be absolutely delighted to receive — like a delicate wind chime or an old piece of art found on a long afternoon of thrifting. I love Etsy shops for these kinds of gifts because between all of the new and old there is something for everybody.
Andrew’s favorite gifts to give — and to receive — are books. Old books, new books, special edition books, books for display purposes and to be pored over with a pencil late at night. To him, books are personal and highly specific, tailored to both the gifter and the giftee. They say something about the person who’s giving you the book, because then they know what you’re interested in…or are at least interested enough in you to share what they’re interested in. (His words this time.)
For me? This year I doubt I’ll be splurging on a selfie gift because I’ve had so much fun thrifting and antiquing (frugally so) for our new house, and we also bought a new couch (SPOILER!). I also don’t need much, nor do I want much. I would love to have a few little things, like a wooden mortar and pestle, some nice beauty products, and maybe even a handmade strap for my camera. But I’d much rather shop for everyone else now, and then shop gradually for myself over the rest of the year. Is that selfish? It was supposed to come across as “benevolent.”
Regardless, I love gifts. The search, the puzzle, the triumph over a great find, and the pleasure of giving. This season, enjoy the giving. Out of everything else, it is the most important.
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Stay tuned for more gift guides this week!