Navigating The Gift Giving Season
If you’ve followed us here at Done and Done for any length of time, you know that we love this time of year. Everything seems more exciting and hopeful, particularly with young kids at home. From Halloween, to Thanksgiving (our favorite holiday), followed by the joy of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, and ending with the reset of New Year’s.
So it was with great anticipation that we sat down and prepared to assemble our holiday gift guide for 2018!
And then a funny thing happened. The more we talked about the items we wanted to recommend to others, the more we felt like hypocrites. For the majority of the year, we preach the idea of conscious consumerism, less being more, and getting rid of all the stuff that is cluttering up your life and making you miserable. Yet here we are suggesting ideas of more things to buy.
To be fair, in last year’s gift guide we did talk about buying gifts that don’t take up space. And we still stand by our philosophy of Burn It, Eat It, Drink It, Spend It. And, just so we don’t come across as the world’s biggest Scrooges, we’re going to recommend some items we love again this year.
But in the interest of clarity and honesty, we want to share that we struggle with the right way to celebrate the holidays. As professional organizers, we help people who are overwhelmed by their possessions on a daily basis. We see different levels of overconsumption, but the bottom line is, people have too much stuff. Way too much stuff. And we like to think that we’re part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The conflict is that we love to give and receive gifts as much as the next person. It can be a fantastic way to express your love and appreciation for another person. But buying gifts for the sake of meeting a societal expectation is not what giving gifts should be about.
The Art of Gift Giving
So in the interest of finding a compromise, we offer these guidelines to use when deciding what to get for all the people on your holiday gift list.
1. Who is the recipient? Be mindful of the person you are buying a gift for. You may only wear natural fibers but your sister may love neon acrylic sweaters – consider putting your personal style aside.
2. Where will the gift go? Does your BFF live in a 500 ft sq apartment? If so, don’t buy her an enormous vase, even if she loves flowers.
3. Is the gift sustainable? Consider whether or not the gift you are giving will be enjoyed for more than a hot second. Will your mother-in-law thank you for the singing, light up plastic reindeer you gave her as a joke? Even if it’s great in the moment, where will it go after the holidays? Will it end up at Goodwill or worse the landfill?
4. How will it impact the environment? We know, we know. This doesn’t seem very festive, but it is a legitimate concern and one that we firmly believe needs to be considered. Is the trendy kitchen gadget you bought impulsively for your daughter going to go out with the trash in 6 months?
5. Can you buy from a small or local business? So much money is spent around the holidays and being a small business ourselves, we love to support other small business owners. Consider checking out local gift stores or small Etsy shops that might carry a unique item.
2018 Gift Guide
Now that we’ve noted our concerns, it’s time to share some items that we think fit into the parameters of great enduring gifts or gifts that will be used up and not have to be stored!
There’s nothing better than burning candles and the cozy feeling they bring to any room. But certain candles can be overwhelming and many people have sensitivities to the chemicals. We’ve found that small batch hand crafted candles are the solution.
www.brownstonecandle.com They make small batch soy candles in the most amazing fragrances! Our favorite is Bourbon Country but they also have more traditional scents if you’re a purist.
And making an appearance once again this year is Thymes Frazier Fir. We can’t recommend this candle highly enough! It brings the smell of Christmas right into your home without any of that fake pine scent that is reminiscent of floor cleaners.
We’re enamored of the idea of homemade Christmas cookies, but honestly who has the time? We love this festive easy homemade solution for chocolate bark from Food52.
Like the idea of food for a gift but don’t want to add to the seasonal sweets that just don’t quit? How about an amazing fruit basket from Harry and David? Beautiful and delicious it’s perfect for the health conscience person in your life!
As we’ve already said, we try to support small businesses whenever possible. Etsy.com is a smorgasbord for every conceivable business and item you could dream of. We found this amazing gift set of gourmet salts from SaltNerds. They would be perfect for the chef (or aspiring chef!) in your life.
We couldn’t be more excited to share this new (to us) product! It’s a non-alcoholic spirit that is perfect for any get together. If you don’t drink, are trying to cut back or just want to have a night off, Seedlip is your solution! It tastes amazing, we love the Spice 94 flavor, and it has the sophistication of a real cocktail!
Looking to add some Hygge to your life? These dessert teas from Tazo strike just the right note. They are, by far, the best after dinner teas we’ve ever had. They actually taste as good as they smell! The Lemon Loaf is herbal and the other two flavors are made from black tea.
Need a gift that keeps on giving? This subscription from The U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club for craft beers will have your friends and family thanking you all year long!
This category is our favorite. The idea of sharing experiences and memories with the people in our lives is what it’s all about. Even if we aren’t present for the event, we know our friends and family members will be thinking of us while they are out and about or choosing the perfect gift for themselves. Gift cards may seem like the easy way out but truly, everyone loves them! Teenagers, in particular, use them for xbox, Amazon, iTunes, etc. and you can be sure they’ll be enjoying your gift before the day is done!
General cards like Visa or American Express are great if you’re not sure what your recipient wants. Massages, manicures, going to the movies, spending the day at a museum or the zoo are all experiences you can give with a gift card. And of course, everyone loves eating out, so another great option is the app Open Table. With Open Table, you don’t have to choose a particular restaurant, the person you give it to can pick from any participating restaurant in their area.
Hopefully, some of these options have sparked your imagination and will help you choose the perfect gift for all of the people in your life!
From our home to yours, we’re wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons! Enjoy the people, the moments, and make some memories. You don’t have to store any of that in your basement!