Thoughtful Holiday Gift Ideas

by Nicholas Stocco

Do you want to avoid succumbing to consumer madness during the holidays? Do you have a hard time thinking of meaningful gifts to give to family and friends?  If so, here’s a list of thoughtful things you can do with or for loved ones without breaking the bank or camping out in a parking lot for three days:

  • Create a personal website for someone, complete with photos.
  • Create a picnic for the two of you, the whole family, or a group of friends.
  • Plan a day trip into nature.
  • Create a scrapbook.
  • Find a board game at Goodwill and customize it for the person’s personality.
  • Devise a treasure hunt.
  • Sew a personalized quilt.
  • Share your expertise: be a personal trainer, language tutor, guitar teacher, etc...
  • Pass along your absolute favorite books.
  • Massages are often appreciated.
  • Clean their house or wash their car.
  • Bake brownies or a berry pie.
  • Help their dreams become reality.
  • Do something challenging together.
  • Take a class together (community classes are often free or cheap).
  • Pass on something you no longer use, but they would.
  • Gift certificate for mowing their lawn.
  • Make an illustrated book about how awesome the person is.
  • Create a video with family and friends sharing what they love about the person.

Usually, we see similar lists geared towards children, but these “gifts” can be for any age. The list, which we edited slightly, was created by Leo Babauta for his blog, Zen Habits. He explains, “These aren’t all free, but they aren’t part of the consumerist holiday shopping tradition. They take extra effort, which is why they’re special. The loved ones in your life are worth more than a few clicks online and a hit to your credit card." Indeed!


Nicholas Stocco is Communications Director at MNW. He is also serves as Board Secretary for the Montessori Administrators Association. In his free time likes to run in the woods, eat ginger snaps, and watch movies.


Posted on December 5, 2014 and filed under Resources, From MNW Staff, Parents.