I want to give the best and most original Christmas gifts. Gift-giving is the way I show others that I care for them, and I get a kick out of finding the perfect gift, but I want it to be original. I used to have trouble thinking up original Christmas (and anytime) gift ideas. I didn’t know what to buy, what to make, what to wrap it all in.
Being stumped when trying to think of what to buy friends and family is common, but I found a way to make it fun and enjoyable for the gift-giver too!! Now, gift-giving and planning out what to buy or make for people has become a bit of a hobby. Here is the best idea that I’ve been using consistently and with success for a few years now:
Pick a Theme!!!!!
I cannot underestimate the power of this tip.
Picking the theme is the key to the best and most original gifts
If you pick a theme, you can buy multiple smaller items that fit under that category without having to worry about finding the ONE great gift of the year. Just buy or make a bunch of little gifts that fit your theme and tell your loved one what your theme was. Chances are, if not all of your choices are a hit, at least one of them will hit the mark. Remember, themes don’t have to be related to an activity, they can be tied to an emotion, a hobby, a color. The sky is the limit.
The best part is, you can collect these things throughout the year and avoid the December rush and inevitable feeling you’ve fallen under the spell of the god of consumerism. I keep my stuff in a bin in a closet and when I shop the post-Christmas sales, I pick a theme or two and stay focused. When the new year rolls around, and I need to pull out a last minute birthday surprise, it’s all sorted (and I didn’t spend a fortune).
These themes don’t have to be limited to the Holiday season either….birthdays, Valentine’s day, a new baby, a new home, etc. Whenever I want to give someone something, I pick the theme first. This technique is especially useful when buying for children and for parties your children are attending. More on this in a later post.
So, if you want to find perfectly original and memorable Christmas gifts this year, here are your guidelines.
Best Original Christmas Gifts:
Using Themes 101
1) Pick an Emotion
Pick a feeling you want to convey and collect things that fit with the emotion. For example, I bought ‘cozy’ stuff one year and put together gift bags with blankets, candles (fireplace scented), books and slipper socks. How about ‘refreshing’ (with mint scented, flavoured and coloured items), and ‘new beginning’ (with blank journals, agendas, newly minted coins). Here are some others emotion-centered themes to consider:
- Surprised (with things that pop, unusual wrapping and a mystery book or two)
- Joy (a memory book with all your favourite moments of the year, their favourite book or movie, tickets to an activity you know will fill them with joy, and there is no shortage of mugs, dish towels and other items with Joy printed on them if you want to be literal with this choice)
- Fear (Unconventional, but for the Halloween fiend in your life)
- Anticipation (with a series of little treats leading up to a bigger gift put in numbered bags…like a gift countdown!)
- Calm (to help someone get it or keep it….books on finding peace of heart and mind, calm music, a massage etc)
2) Pick a Colour
This one can be tricky if you pick a colour that isn’t in style, but thinkof shades of the same colour to make it easier. It doesn’t have to be their favourite colour either. Here are some of the colour combos I think work best:
- White or/and Black (looks stunning when all the gifts are unwrapped)
- Metallics (a real hit if you’re buying office supplies or kitchen goodies)
- Green (especially if you’re getting a mixed bag of stuff, think soap, scarves, sweaters, towels, plates, journals etc)
- The Primary Colours (a grouping of Red, Blue and Yellow looks really cheerful together)
- A Rainbow (especially cool for the unicorn lover in your life, because you can buy or make things in each color of the rainbow, or each item can be rainbow themed)
3) Pick a Flavour
Remember, you don’t have to buy food for this category. Candles and soaps come in scrumptous flavours even if you don’t eat them and I’ve seen pillows in every shape known to the graocery store. Be creative! Here are a few to get you started:
- Marshmallow or Smores (you’d besurprised how amny bath and beauty products are made with this flavour inmind)
- Cream and Buttercream (great if you want to buy someine a sweater, socks or a throw blanket in buttery coloured yarn)
- Salt (for the chip-lovers among us….you can find really nifty salty treats and beautifully packaged bath salts to put together in a grouping)
4) Pick a Hobby
Get your loved ones into a cool hobby. If nothing else, even if they don’t like it, you’ve given them an excuse to explore something they might not have taken the time to check out. Here are my best ideas:
- Yarn crafts (a list of links to YouTube channels, a crochet hook or 2 and some yarn)
- Coins (The Mint has some great stuff and its tax free. I like the ancient Roman coins and go that direction)
- Calligraphy and Brush or Hand Lettering (a pen, a book, some great paper for the Artistic one in your life)
- Stickers (there are some really useful and interesting sticker packs for the Planner Girl in your life or someone who needs to get organized. Beyond that, anyone who crafts appreciates a box full of stickers)
- Planners (Agendas, planners and all their accessories make a great gift to start the new year right and they come in all price ranges. You can even make one yourself tailored to your loved one and print it up to give them along with a digital copy of the file)
- Learn a Language (either gift them a class or a subscription to a language learning app…maybe tie this in with past or future trips)
5) Pick a Song or a Movie
You don’t need to know your gift recipient’s favourites for this one, just think of something they might enjoy. You can also pick a famous movie or song and buy things from it or that were inspired by it. With a song, go with the lyrics and have fun with it. Christmas music is especially evocative and can give you some great ideas for an original gift bag.
Here are some I especially like:
- Peanuts by Charles Shultz…everyone loves Snoopy (you can go old-school and buy a copy of the the Peanuts’ Christmas movie or find Peanuts’ themed stationery, books, stuffies, and more.)
- “Let it Snow”…a copy of a CD that has this song in it, and everything else snow related (snowflake sweater, Snowflake shaped marshmallows or cookies that you can bake yourself, you get the idea)
- “Jingle Bells” (everything has to have bells in it or on it and if your loved one likes figurines, a sleigh would do just the trick for this one)
- “Frosty the Snowman” (There are no shortages of snowman related products out there, but my favourite for children would be a book of the story and/or the song accompanied by an accessory kit for adding a proper black hat and buttons to their snowman building adventures)
- The Nutcracker (This theme would delight the young girl in your life and with the new movie in theatres, there’s renewed interest. I’d go classic and get a copy of Hoffman’s original tale, a CD of the Tchaikovsky ballet or tickets to live performance, if you can swing it.
Keep it Simple
The key to giving great gifts is to make the recipient feel that you’ve given them some thought. Pick a theme with them in mind.
Let me know what interesting gifts you’ve given or received in the comments section. Let’s help each other enjoy this process and remember that the reason for giving a gift, handmade or store bought, is to tell someone that you care for them. Merry Christmas!!