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Find Fulfillment in Gift Giving

Columnist Nancy Hovde offers tips on how you make your gits more meaningful this holiday season.

I've always loved Christmastime for a few reasons. I've noticed how the season is filled with the infectious excitement of positive energy and the joy that comes from sharing it with people I am close to. I also have noticed how the holiday season inspires people to focus on everything that's important in life.

I find great fulfillment in giving meaningful gifts—really thoughtful gifts that are actually useful and appreciated. Perhaps you have received or given some meaningful gifts that have cost little to nothing. I know I have.

But sometimes, after years of mutual gift giving, your enthusiasm begins to wear a little thin. You can become re-inspired with some creative ideas that will help you give your family and friends meaningful presents that speak to them personally.

Begin by reconsidering each person's interests, hobbies and activities; focus on finding a present using these tips for guidance:

  • Give your time. Giving your time and attention is a great way to give people what they truly want from us. A present like a book of intentions that has gift certificates or coupons for use in the near future—including an offer to walk their dog or baby sit for a night out—allows joy to be shared with the gift. Instead of purchasing a physical item for a friend or family member, buy him or her a great day out.
  • Return their kindness. Reminding people of their own kindness can strengthen the bond. Invite your aunt who showed you how to cook the family chili recipe to dinner at your house. The next time she visits, I plan to take my mom—who influenced my love of flowers, plants and nature—to visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, followed with lunch at an outdoor cafe with a garden-type atmosphere such as in Redondo Beach.
  • Find something useful. Think about the recipient's skills, hobbies and activities. One of the best suggestions I've ever heard came from my grandma, who gives the best gifts. She always carries a small notebook in her purse and jots down notes anytime someone mentions something like, "I really need a new drill." When it's time to open gifts, the home-improvement enthusiast is excited to start the next project with his next power tool. Another person might remark, "My favorite skillet I use for making omelets has worn out." Come Christmas, the chef is happy and can hardly wait to use the new cooking utensils. Alternatively, you could consider giving that person on your list something a little out of the ordinary. Line up some cooking lessons for someone who enjoys using their creativity in the kitchen. in Redondo Beach offers the 1800 PCH Cooking Class. You could also give guitar lessons to the one you know who always wanted to play an instrument. in Rolling Hills Estates welcomes those new to music.

Giving your friends and family unique, individual gifts, even after years of back and forth exchanges, brings happiness and fulfillment. A little creative thought creates a large amount of joy.

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