Mindful Gift Giving

A Guide to Mindful Gift Giving

posted in: Community, Mindfulness | 0

The holiday shopping season is upon us. In the past this has been a sort of sticky area for me, it’s one of the big reasons this was not my favorite time of year. Last year at this time, I decided to adopt a new perspective for the holidays and you can read about it here.

Part of this perspective shift includes being more mindful of the gifts I give – not giving just for the sake of giving. That means considering each person’s lifestyle, tastes and interests while keeping the environmental impact to a minimum. I can see you rolling your eyes now, and just know that it’s a fun and thoughtful challenge for me and I enjoy it.

This year it also helps that I’m teaching meditation classes and working a bit in the gift store at Metta Yosemite, so I see a variety of gifts that fit the bill. And beyond that, there is just so much to choose from, just use your imagination. Here are some ideas to get your started:


  • You can put together a custom self-care basket for every one on your list, including men, women and children. We carry some amazing handcrafted soaps at Metta with masculine scents like Frankincense and Myrrh for men, Plumeria or Rose for women, and Eucalyptus/Peppermint for kids. Add a book from their favorite author, some yummy treats and wrap it all up in a tote, purse or backpack.
  • Give them something that’s related to their hobby. Have a birding friend? Buy them a bird feeder or bath. Someone you know love to garden? You can’t go wrong with plants, or garden tools. Are books their thing? An autographed copy from a well-known author they read would be cherished. There are several online sources for used signed and rare book – I use AbeBooks.
  • For people who are concerned about the environment (and we all should be), there are a full range of household items that reduce their carbon footprint. Reusable silicone lids for kitchen leftovers are great for covering bowls. Cotton cloth makeup pads means no more one use pads. Soy- or beeswax-based candles keep the home smelling fresh without waste.


  • Take them on a Forest Bathing Experience with Mindful Café! It’s benefits will last well beyond the outing.
  • Buying a meal for your friend or loved one makes them feel special. Just be sure it’s a place they would choose, regardless of your tastes.
  • Rent an Airbnb for the night and invite them to join you. Even if it’s local, they’ll feel like they’re on vacation.

Homemade goodies

  • Whatever you’re good at, do that. Bake cookies and deliver them on a pretty platter you find at a thrift store. Arrange flowers in a nice, gently used vase. Build a bookshelf from reclaimed wood.
  • Put together a photo album of memories the two of you have made.
  • Decorate a plain terracotta pot and add a plant you’ve propagated from your indoor plant collection. Spiders plants, pothos, snake plants and wandering jews are among the easiest to propagate and directions for these and others can be found here.


  • You can buy and single class or 10-class pass for any of the Metta meditation or yoga classes here.
  • Online courses in a wide range are available. Classes for the aspiring chef, the budding artist or the future multilinguist can be found and much more. I even saw one recently that teaches Hip-Hop Storytelling!
  • There are classes in music, dance, pottery, and on and on. Just pick something they enjoy, and if you don’t know what that is, discretely ask some probing questions.


  • For young parents, offer to take their kids for the day. If you plan age appropriate activities, it’s a gift for everyone involved.
  • For friends that are overwhelmed with family and work obligations, prepare a complete meal for their family, and be sure to include enough for leftovers. Or offer to clean their house if that’s your thing.
  • Do you have a special skill your friend always wanted to learn? Teach them! Knitting, building furniture, foraging in nature, whatever it is, share it with them.

Mindful gift giving needn’t be difficult or expensive. A well thought out gift reminds your loved ones how much you cherish your relationship with them. Mindful gift giving takes the focus away from the commercial aspect of the holidays and returns it to the true meaning of peace, love and joy.

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