image Give a Gift from the Heart, not from the Wallet.

Why buy “stuff” when you can “create” something unique.

Many of us stress at the thought of spending lavish amounts of money on gifts for loved ones.

Instead, why not take a different approach? Create or give a gift from the heart that has sentimental meaning.

These gifts are often better received because they are a creative creation from you to your loved one.

Most of us have plenty of “stuff” so why not take a chance at doing something more special this year.

Chances also are that if we really want something “stuff” related bad enough, we will just get it ourselves. So let’s get creative!

It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a holiday to give a creative gift. We can always give gifts any time of the year.

My experience has led me to the conclusion that the best gifts have cost little to no money and have come as a surprise. Some of these gift ideas were either given to me or from me for a holiday or birthday gift, and some were just simple surprise gifts that were given as thoughtful gestures that needed no holiday or special day to celebrate.

I love giving. I love giving gifts. Historically, I used to enjoy buying lavish gifts to give my partners at the time to show my affection towards them.

However, love and appreciation can’t and shouldn’t be measured by how much money we spend on our partner. A better indicator is to give gifts from the heart. Gifts that show that we put serious thought, effort and a personal connective touch on our gift to them.

Here are some examples of gifts I’ve received and gifts I’ve given that were either extremely inexpensive, or cost no money.

These gifts still to this day stand out to me more than any other gifts that were expensively purchased.

-A meaningful and personalized cause bracelet. If you are unfamiliar with cause bracelets, these are rubber bracelets that many of us wear to show our support for a cause, such as a pink rubber bracelet to show our support for breast cancer awareness. They are often sold for around 5$.

However, the particular bracelet I received was personalized. The woman I was dating at the time had a unique tattoo with a short inspirational quote. She gave me a bracelet with the unique quote she had tattooed on her ankle.

Even though that relationship has ended, I was really moved by the gift and it currently resides on the stick shift on my car, as a reminder of her, her thoughtfulness and the quote itself as it is an inspirational quote. Vive Intenso. 

-A full planned day. Another gift I received when I was in a relationship with another woman was she completely planned a day filled with events, activities, foods and various other interests of mine.

We went to many different places, a historic site that I always mentioned to her that I wanted to go visit, lunch and dinner at restaurants that she knew I enjoyed, a sporting event and finally when we got back she made the night all about me. As hard as I tried to reciprocate, she insisted the day and night be focused solely on me and my desires. While this did cost a bit of money, it’s the memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.

-A very simple gift I received that had so much meaning and was given to me randomly one day, an apple.

What made this so unique was that there was no special occasion. It was not a special day.

The woman I was dating at the time showed up at my work and we had lunch together and she gave me an apple. You may be thinking, so what? Well, I’m a teacher! So for this young woman to bring a teacher an apple was the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever randomly done for me.

We associate teachers with apples. I was so moved by this simple gesture that I will forever remember and respect this particular person.

I’ve given a few creative gifts for my end too. Symbolic and creative gifts that let the special person in my life know that they are always in my thoughts and that they deserve something special and thoughtful.

-Relationship coupons. This one is a pretty obvious choice, but we can make it so personalized that it can potentially sweep a partner of their feet.

I made ten coupons for a young woman I was dating at the time. Every one of them personalized to an interest or pleasure of hers. A few examples are one was for a 30 minute massage. She always asked me for massages but she would be hesitant in asking sometimes. So I created this coupon and wrote “valid for multiple usage, expiration date: N/A.”

Another coupon was for a full car detail. I would completely clean the interior and exterior of her car. While this particular coupon was never cashed in, it was my intent to be so meticulous in my cleaning of her car that it would serve as an example of how much I cared and valued our relationship.

The last example was a coupon for one round of mini golf. Mini-golf was our first dates, so I thought this sentimental gesture would let her know that I valued, appreciated and remembered our unique past.

-A creation of lists. During one particular relationship, a woman I was dating was a big list maker. She made lists often and even kept them in a notebook. She even went as far as to hang a large piece of paper with lists of goals within a timeline on the back of her bedroom door of when she hoped to accomplish her goals.

So what I decided was to make her a few lists. I made her three to be exact.

One list was a list of the top ten songs that reminded me of her. I included a link to each song and quoted specific lyrics from each song that made me think of her.

Another list was a list of the top ten life-lessons she taught me. Each with a thorough explanation of how it changed and affected me.

Finally I made her a list of my top ten most memorable experiences with her, each with a descriptive paragraph of why each moment was so special to me.

These lists obviously took me a while to make but they were personalized and unique and did not cost me a cent. It was well received and personally I felt that had I received a gift such as this, I would have enjoyed it more than some lavish item or “stuff.”

-The gift of time is another simple gift we can give. Being present in the moment and/or surprising a loved one can potentially mean the world to our partners.

Taking a random day off work or making a surprise change in our daily routine can be a thoughtful gift.

As a surprise, I planned ahead of time (without informing my partner) to take a day off of work. I knew my partner had a lot on her plate on a particular day off so I decided to surprise her by giving her the gift of my time.

During this time I helped her with all the errands she needed to run. I even took the load off some of her errands by doing her grocery shopping and stopping by the dry cleaners for her.

It was a simple gesture on my part because all I needed to do was be present and be helpful.

-Passing along a treasured personal item to our partner.

Some may consider this “re-gifting,” but what we are actually doing when we do this is we are passing along a treasured item that we have held dear to ourselves to show our partner that they are worthy of holding on to an item of meaning to us.

My father, who passed away a few years ago gave me a steel bracelet with my initial carved in them. I decided to give this to someone I love dearly. Currently it resides on her wrist everyday.

Gifts such as these are so much more meaningful than going out and buying “stuff.” The recipients always appreciated these gifts more than me opening up my wallet. I always appreciated them more then her opening up her purse.

Creative gifts ideas such as these have the tendency to increase the bond between lovers. People frequently say, “It’s the thought that counts.” I couldn’t agree more.

Author: Adam Wilkinson

Image: flickr

Relevant read: About Unchained Voice

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