Is the process of searching out gifts a pleasure for you, or is it a chore?
Do you wish you were that “gifting hero” whose presents get everyone smiling with anticipation...but in reality you always in end up short on time, inspiration, or both?
Don’t be too hard on yourself, my friend. Practicing the art of meaningful generosity is exactly that ~ it’s an art, and it isn’t learned overnight. It requires intention, sincerity, and often a little creativity.
But with continued practice ~ and with the help of tips, resources, and inspiration I’ll be sharing in this journal ~ I know you can cultivate a spirit of generosity that will be a source of delight to the people in your life, be they friends, family, clients, colleagues, and even strangers.
In future posts, I’ll be talking about how to give with impact (in both your personal and professional life), spilling the beans on my go-to tricks (like how to shop for The Friend Who Has Everything), and sharing all kinds of gift ideas that’ll help you out in a pinch.
But before we get to all that, I want to give you a glimpse of why I’m here, what inspired me to start a gifting business, and what generosity means to me.
And then to get you on your way to becoming that gifting hero, I’ll leave you with my first little tip...it may seem obvious at first, but I challenge you to really reflect on it!
My appreciation for a gift well-given was first instilled during my teenage years, when my grandmother Betty Anne would have me wrap the bounty of Christmas gifts she had collected for the family. Working away at my grandmother's dining room table, I learned to love the art of beautiful, unique gift presentation ~ and the delighted smiles it could bring about!
As I grew older (and more aware of life’s ups and downs), I began to better understand and admire the generous spirit my grandparents have embodied in so many ways ~ from Christmastime, to chauffeur duty for cello lessons, to supporting local arts organizations and more.
(My grandmother regularly donated to the ballet, though I’m pretty certain she never actually made it to a performance herself...how amazing is that?)
Their unspoken commitment to generosity continues to inspire me today, as I attempt to build a life that brings not only joy to me, but also delight to others. As folk singer Pete Seeger so beautifully put it, “Being generous of spirit is a wonderful way to live.” Don’t you agree?
I want a spirit of generosity to permeate every aspect of my life, not just because I love those warm fuzzies, but also because I believe it’s the right thing to do for our world. It’s why charitable giving has been a priority for my husband and me since Day 1 of our marriage, even when times have been tight.
And it’s why I've committed to donating 10% of Memento & Muse’s net profits to a very important cause: hunger relief and food security. I’ll be sharing more details on this exciting endeavor in the future, so stay tuned!
And now for that “so-obvious-you-might-be-missing-it” tip for becoming a gifting hero...
If you’re familiar with the pop psychology of “love languages,” you can guess which one mine is! Not that I’ve always been a gifting pro, mind you. It’s taken me years to develop the art of discovering gifts that people will truly love, and that will put a genuine smile of delight on their faces.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s a lesson I learned during my seven years as a marketing director, actually, and it’s incredibly simple: put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
It seems obvious, right? But how many times have you given a particular gift because deep down it was something you wanted? No judgement, friends; we’ve all been there…but we can do better, can’t we?
Instead, take yourself out of the equation for a minute.
Trust me, I know very well how tempting it is to be drawn to gift ideas because we like them (often subconsciously so). But vicarious gift-giving will never have the same meaningful impact as when you remember to check your own desires, and thoughtfully consider what it would look like to make it all about them. Their preferences. Their interests. Their personality.
Because if your gift-giving is more about you than them (and if you’ve ever worked in a marketing department or been to a corporate event, I bet you’ve witnessed this first-hand...cheesy promotional swag, anyone?), then I humbly suggest that you’re doing it wrong. If genuine, impactful generosity is your aim (and I hope it is), your best first step will be in your recipient’s shoes.
In a nutshell: The next time you find yourself in gift-giving mode, start by stripping away all your own preferences and desires, and this will make room for you to authentically consider what will delight others. They’ll thank you and remember you for it.
But what about when I don’t know the person well at all, you ask? I hear you, and I know that can be tricky. I promise to share some advice about gifting to strangers in the future!
In fact, I’d love to hear what your gift-giving challenges and questions are, so I can try to address them in future posts. Please comment below to let me know!
In the meantime, I thank you for following along on this journey to generosity with me. I truly believe our lives and our world will be better for it.
Wishing you an abundance of good cheer,
P.S. ~ To receive more tips and inspiration for becoming a gifting hero, be sure to and sign up for the Memento & Muse seasonal newsletter (where you’ll also receive access to complimentary shipping in the M+M Gift Shop...and who doesn’t love that?).