The best gifts are those that reflect or slightly enhance the reality of one’s relationship with the receiver.  Perspective and some objective analysis can save even the most thoughtful gift giver from awkward gift giving scenarios. For our purpose, a “gift” is loosely defined as “a thing given willingly to someone without receiving payment" or something given "without the expectation of reciprocity.” Five creative holiday gift giving options are listed below, but each listing scenario can be tweaked, in order to ultimately inspire ones’ gift giving experience ALL year long.

A Little Extra Push

There are times when we all need or require a little extra push or encouragement in one direction or the other, in order to fulfill a need or desire. Gift giving can provide opportunities for the giver to gently encourage good and healthy habits which are at times hard for one to either begin or to create on ones own.

Take for instance, you’re best friend has been talking about trying yoga and has been reading up about eastern philosophies and meditation. Picking up on small, sometimes subtle queues can help one with distinguishing between fleeting curiosity and more apparent interest in a specific subject matter.  An example of a “little extra push” gift idea might consist of a yoga class punch card, complete with yoga mat, gift card earmarked for yoga pants and top, a pair of non-slip socks, and a small book of eastern quotes that he or she can keep on the nightstand or in the car.

Wrapping up these goodies in clear cellophane and topping it off with a lovely organic bow can bring this gift idea to fruition.

Artistic Outlets

An array of artistic and creative workshops (both private and commercial) are available in most regions.  Providing a gift to a loved one which allows them to work with their hands and to challenge ones’ self by thinking and acting outside of one’s comfort zone can be liberating!  Creating a final product is both stimulating and rewarding! Providing an opportunity for artistic expression for the stressed out and overworked individuals in your life can do wonders for them, especially those who are generally set into or restricted to a conventional routine, whether as a parent and/or provider.

An “artistic outlet” gift example may look like, the purchasing of a workshop certificate from one of the national craft store chains in which the receiver can cash in for a series of classes on subject matter such as quilting, scrap booking, knitting, sewing, cross stitching, and or seasonal decorating. Some other non-conventional classes can be taken at local art & culture museums, through private studios and/or galleries, or occasionally through local recreation centers.

Painting, sketching, pottery, mosaics, stain glass, sculpture, woodworking, and creative writing are all excellent choices for gift giving.  Providing an artistic outlet for your loved one demonstrates that you are sensitive and concerned about their well being and that you support their desire to break out of their mold and to try something new and exciting!

Enclose your gift certificate within a heartfelt card, by explaining that you are supportive of their personal growth and want to tangibly facilitate this interest or curiosity. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, feel free to tie the card and certificate around a tangible related object or collection of objects such as a basket of art supplies, including a few paint brushes, a canvas and a set of acrylic paints or possibly a new sewing machine. 

New Mother

Becoming a new mother is strewn with both physical and mental changes, which can be a challenge, for even the most well prepared woman.  Creating a "new mother" gift basket with an array of handpicked items, that will provide comfort and solutions to some of the basic changes your body and mind will experience, is an amazingly thoughtful gift.

Include an assortment of products such as, several 30 minute prenatal massage treatments, which can be applied to focus on specific parts of the body.  Specific parts of the body can be especially susceptible to soreness or swelling and thus, massages that focus on certain problem areas such as the lower back, feet, and calves are a wonderful way to release pain and tension in these areas.  

Prenatal teas are a nurturing and soothing way to show your love and compassion for a new mothers. Birds & Bees Teas provide a line of hand blended organic herbal teas created especially with women’s health and well being in mind.  Sipping warm caffeine free teas over the course of the winter while pregnant and nesting is especially comforting and nourishing.

An array of essential oils are available to support health and well being (please consult your local apothecary and/or doctor prior to using oils) in new moms.

Create an inviting basket (arrange items in a dipper bag) with an assortment of useful yet enjoyable choices.  Celebrate new mothers-to-be as well as new beginnings this holiday season!

Getting Out Of A Rut

Often times we tend to categorize ourselves, as a bohemian, an athlete, or an artist, for instance.   As a result we unwittingly compartmentalize our interest and engage in activities which are friendly to or are conducive to our category such as attending outdoor music festivals, participating in competitive athletic leagues, or visiting avant-garde art galleries.  Providing a gift which affords an opportunity to climb out of one’s comfort zone or potential rut can breathe new life into an otherwise monotonous and/or predictable life pattern.

Drawing upon ones relationship with the gift receiver, inquiring about potential topics of interest, and by actively engaging as an acute listener and observer, one can provide insurmountable data, that will help the giver formulate an appropriate “getting out of a rut” gift opportunity. People can and do mention things in passing, therefore engaging in and paying attention to casual "in passing discussions" is key to unlocking gift giving ideas.

For example, your hyper athletic friend may have mentioned something in passing about feeling out of the loop concerning wine (opportunity for a lovely wine tasting day trip or dinner in the nearby wine country).  Amazingly enough, many states have at least one wine region, therefore, take a look into states which are not generally consider by the masses as having a thriving wine industry, such as Oregon, Colorado, New York, Texas, Florida, and Michigan.

Mid-century modern design, architecture, and decor are on the rise and possibly he or she may have recently commented about being drawn to simple, clean lines, and minimalism. These comments may pave the way to visiting a new gallery opening (featuring minimalist or modern art) and can be paired with a leisurely learning course in art appreciation, hosted by a regional museum or cultural center.  

The above gift options will provide both a sense of comfort and a foundation for venturing into the uncharted territory of modern art.  These new experiences will provide potential discussion topics and can provide a gateway to new hobbies or activities, that can either be shared or explore independently.


Spas and retreats are never out of vogue.  Taking the spa treatment or retreat to the next level, by drawing from personal knowledge of the individual, will once again pay off, while tailoring a pampering gift experience for your much deserving receiver. Considering questions about the type and specificity of the treatment can shed light upon the variety of spa experiences and can help one in narrowing down the choice to the most appropriate one.

An array of massages are available including more generalized full body massages and those that are tailored to specifically treat parts of the body that hold stress and trauma (such the neck and shoulders in women).  The option of a meditative or yoga retreat, which encapsulates both physical and mental components, can help the receiver actively bridge the gap between both mind and body.

Cleansing or detoxification treatments, the sauna, mud baths, or a trip to the nearest natural hot springs are also a viable pampering gift option.  Other treatments such as facials, manicures and pedicures can be given in a voucher or certificate form and can be used by the receiver at will and can be a much more affordable approach to facilitating a pampering gift.

The most successful gifts are those that are creative, well planned, and nurturing. Plus, those gifts which demonstrate that time and consideration were invested in the choosing of the perfect gift, will shine above all others. Each one of the above described gift giving scenarios can serve as a general template and/or format for bring joy and excitement into a loved one’s life.

Take the opportunity this holiday season to approach gift giving in a different way, by considering alternative presents and unique experiences, that will foster confidence and encourage growth within the gift recipient!

Remember that all gift ideas should include a thoughtful letter or card explaining why you chose the gift you did and that you above all you want the receiver to be happy, healthy, and free!