“Connecting with friends, nurturing intimate relationships, socializing at parties, consuming art, music, and literature, learning new languages and skills, honing talents, and volunteering at our neighbourhood hospital, church, or animal shelter. Tellingly, these are precisely the activities that people on the brink of death…wish they would have spent more time doing in their everyday lives.”
– Sonja Lyubomirsky, from The Myths of Happiness.
Last week I wrote about the connections between happiness and the giving of certain kinds of gifts in certain ways – meaningful giving, in other words. This week I thought I’d provide a few other gift giving suggestions that focus on time and experiences. With some creativity, you can give wonderful, meaningful gifts that cost as little or as much as fits your particular budget:
- tickets to the orchestra for a music lover or tickets to the theatre for a theatre lover – there are often good package deals around the holidays
- gift certificate to a local movie theatre
- spa gift certificates, or gift certificates for massage therapy
- homemade soaps, or lip balm and beauty products
- coupons for homemade muffins or cookies, to be redeemed at the time of the recipient’s choosing
- money towards yoga classes or running/walking workshops
- coupon for a favour – lending a skill you have to someone who doesn’t have that skill, or offering to drive someone who doesn’t have a car somewhere they need to be
- agreement to choose a particular event or experience as the gift, i.e. a special afternoon coffee and chat, a hike, a family movie or games night, a day of baking, etc.
- itunes gift certificates for someone who loves music or perhaps a homemade CD with songs you know to be his or her favourites
- gifts of homemade jams, jellies, or relishes
- gifts to support hobbies: art supplies, strings for a violin, a guitar capo, bakeware, journals or sketch pads, squash balls, a running headband, a book on photography
- adopt a farm sanctuary animal for someone as a gift – you get the tax credit, they get the joy of receiving information about the animal adopted in their name.
- if you like to knit, try knitting some catnip mice or other toys. If, like me, knitting a mouse (with all those increases and decreases) seems too difficult, google other options – I’m sure a cat would like a square shaped toy just as much as one shaped like a mouse. Donate your knits to a local animal shelter, give them as gifts to friends with pets, or surprise your own furry friends.
If you have other suggestions, feel free to share them below! I’ll keep updating this post as I think of new ideas. It’s all in the brainstorming. 🙂