...is that a bad way to start this?
But really, sneaking around is so much fun. There's absolutely nothing I love more than a good surprise, and cracking a code or solving a puzzle is an instant dopamine rush. I admit it – these are tricky things to enjoy! So instead of dedicating these skills to a life of Ocean's-Eleven-style bank robbing, I put my sneakiness to the test in a much more thoughtful way: Gift-giving.
I believe that truly great gifts are the ones that show your friends and family that you know them; that you listen to their stories and notice their preferences. I know this isn't a fun or easy process for everyone, so here are my top 5 tips to giving more meaningful gifts:
1. Keep a running list...ALL YEAR LONG!
This is where that sneaky feeling comes in. I keep a running list of ideas in the Notes app on my phone so I can have it with me wherever I am. Then I write down when someone in my family mentions an experience or tool or just something cool they saw on Instagram. It's so fun to see their face light up in surprise by receiving something they only mentioned once, months go!
You can start your list right now – this holiday printable is FREE on our site! Download here.
2. Start with their hobbies
What does your loved one do in their spare time? You can get crafty with even the most ordinary of pastimes. They like to watch TV? Consider a subscription to a new streaming service, or make it a date night at home with a new movie and a coupon for their favorite meal.
If you have a reader in the family, pair this perfectly prompted Reading Journal with a new book or two!
3. Get specific with experiences
Ditch picking a generic city to visit and opt instead for something so tailored to them, they'll be stunned by how well you pay attention. Here are a few of my favorites:
Live Podcasts | This one is always unexpected! And it's another opportunity to flex your sleuthing skills. Start up a seemingly innocent conversation about their favorite podcasts, then check to see if there are any live tours coming to a city near you!
Comedy Shows | Stand-up is one of the most popular genres on streaming services – my Netflix history is full of it and I have several stations on Pandora based off comedians. If your loved one has a favorite, check to see when they'll be within driving distance!
B&B Browsing | There are some pretty out there experiences on sites like Airbnb. Got an outdoorsman? Try looking for a tipi or treehouse in your area! My personal favorite in our area is the Magic Tipi just south of St. Louis. I gifted this experience to my fiancé, Damon, a few years ago – you can see all the pictures here!
4. Liven up money or gift cards
Sometimes the best gift really is just a gift card or cash, but that doesn't mean the thoughtfulness has to take a hit. Add a lengthy note to a cash card – try telling them why you're thankful for them, or reminisce on the story of when you first met. Seeing those words in your handwriting will be something to cherish.
A more playful way to liven up a gift card (or any gift) is to create a scavenger hunt! Put the first clue in the card, then send them on a search through the house to find the real gift. The best part about this is that you can get specific and a little spicy with clues. When I did this for Damon, the first gift clue just said "I'm waiting in your closet." So he went to his closet and started searching, just to find another clue that said "Your real closet." He got a laugh out of finding his wrapped gift inside the dryer!
(P.S. You can check out all of our holiday cards right here)
5. When all else fails, make it a gift basket
Gifts don't have to be big or pricey to be thoughtful and fun. If you're gifting to a college student or stationery lover, grab a bunch of coordinating supplies in a pattern you know they'll love. Almost anything can go into a gift basket, so pick a theme and go from there!
I hope this list helps you find some inspiration! And don't be shy if you have more ideas or suggestions for unique ways to gift – comment below so we can chat about it!
Happy gifting, friends