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What Does Gifting Mean To You?

What Does Gifting Mean To You?


This time of year I usually start to feel busy, overwhelmed and worried about gift giving. I’m wrapping up a busy show season, and trying to find space to prepare for the holiday, and buy gifts. The compulsory aspect of gift giving this time of year can feel stressful and deflating.

Lately, however, I’ve been playing with the idea of gift giving and questions have been sparked in my mind: Why do I really give gifts? What does the word gift really mean? And I keep returning to the sentiment: When I give a gift, I’m really saying,

“You are such a gift to me.” 

I’m honoring the relationship that I have with the recipient. It’s an expression of love or gratitude. So, the reality is, the person I’m giving the present to is actually the gift, and the object simply a tangible representation of that person’s role in my life. 

I believe that anyone can make their special someone feel especially special without resorting to generic expressions or spending a fortune.


The word itself has many different meanings, including:

  1. “A notable capacity, talent, or endowment”,
  2. “Something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation”, and
  3. “The act, right, or power of giving”

So, by definition, a gift can be any number of things - tangible and otherwise. So, this holiday season, I’m trying to explore ways to express love and appreciation for individuals - and the world at large! - in ways both traditional and novel, physical and non.

Honor Someone

I love the idea of enhancing or preserving nature as I honor a person dear to me. Does it offer that feel-good sentiment? Absolutely. Is it personal? Yes. Is it tangible? Somewhat. Can you keep it for yourself at the exclusion of others? No. How beautiful is that? It’s a perennial present that benefits not only you but the environment and thus, humanity. A gift in so many ways. These days, the opportunity to give universally constructive gifts has extended beyond trees. For example, the World Land Trust offers a host of ways to give a green gift. You can...

And for those traditionalists out there, you can still plant a tree in honor of a loved one via WLT, A Living Tribute and The Arbor Day Foundation.

Invest In The Moment

We’re all moving so quickly these days that stopping to enjoy the moment can at times feel like a bottleneck to the bigger picture. Yet, despite our greatest efforts to justify otherwise, there really is only this.present.moment. Honestly, I often have a hard time staying in the moment, though I know how important it truly is.

Of course, there are times when reflecting about the past and projecting into the future have served me well. It’s a crucial part of business planning and strategy. And yet, there’s no better feeling than the moment I watch someone connect with a piece of my art. So, what can you do to gift more presents - I mean, presence! - in the life of someone you love? I have a few ideas...

  • Pay for a subscription to a mindfulness meditation app like HeadspaceBuddhify, or Calm. Mindfulness is a method of meditation that has grown considerably in popularity as people have discovered the benefits of attending to their present state of mind. These apps offer a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to get anyone out of their hustle and into their body.
  • Gift a singing bowl or brass cymbals. Your loved one needn’t be a practitioner or even enthusiast of eastern religion or spirituality to appreciate the resonance that comes from playing these instruments. The sound and vibration they generate is a call to stillness - something we could all learn to practice a bit more.
  • Make plans together! This may seem obvious or silly because we all crave connection but how many of us are actually prioritizing it over other things? How about helping a loved one live in the moment by sharing it with them? Take the time to connect via a phone call, an afternoon out, or a dinner in.

Gift An Experience

Gifting someone an experience can be a wonderful way to show that you care. I love it when someone who knows me well suggests we do something that they know I enjoy. To me, it’s such a thoughtful gesture. It means they’ve watched, listened, and gotten creative! These days, the process for identifying experiences is as simple as it’s ever been, with online coupons and the rise in home-stay travel. Consider what it is your friend or family member enjoys doing, or listen for the experience they’ve been talking about but haven’t had the opportunity to try.

Charitable Donations

Charitable donations are acts of generosity that are ways to honor the person you care about and a meaningful cause. There’s always good reason to find an organization whose mission you support but this time of year, it’s especially impactful. The holiday season is a time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for. For many of us, the list is long. What better a time to harness the power of giving than on the heels of Giving Tuesday and just in time for Hanukkah and Christmas? Align with a charity you care about by visiting Charity Navigator. Their A-Z Directory includes hundreds of thousands of organizations along with reputation-measuring data so you can make an informed decision.

Gift Grace

Some of the most powerful gifts are the ones we may never regard as such…

The person who lets you in when traffic is piling up and you’re running late.

The person who bends down to help you scoop up something you dropped on the floor.

The person who smiled warmly at you.

The person who gives you a hug when you most needed it.

And, the grace we’re given by others to live fully and authentically without judgment.

So many of these gifts are given us each day and though we may not see them in that way I urge you to take notice. Be both the gracious giver and grateful receiver of kindness, good deeds, and thoughtful gestures.

Get Personal

Finally, sometimes it seems there’s no better way to express your affection than with a physical gift. After all, there is something to be said for that magic moment when the item you adoringly hand-selected and wrapped with that special someone in mind, gets opened. The physical gifts that always mean the most to me are the ones that take my preferences and personality into consideration. As a jewelry artist, I aspire to capture the essence of my subject and transfer that character into my pieces. My inspiration comes from the natural world around me – leaves, flowers, raindrops, the sky, desert cacti, and many others. But what is really inspiring is the number of times a customer has told me that a particular piece speaks to them; that it feels like an extension of them. I can think of no greater a compliment. With that in mind, I encourage you to give a gift this holiday season that offers its recipient that same feeling. And if that gift happens to come from the Lila Clare Jewelry collection, well, that would be a gift to me as well :)