gift giving paper red bow

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Gift-giving conveys the message that we care and most of us express ourselves with a present on special occasions or holidays.

Yet each time we need to find the perfect gift, stress levels rise as we question what to offer someone.

This is why a little planning and note-taking is always better than winging it. It avoids standing in long last-minute lines and exploding our budget.

When choosing a gift, always keep in mind the person you’d like to please because ultimately, it’s always about the people we care about – or those we’d like to show our appreciation to.

The pleasure of gift-giving to family and friends starts with a plan.

Matching the perfect gift to a particular relationship can get complicated not to mention expensive without at least a simple outline.

So let’s try and figure out the essentials and focus on simplicity.


gift giving page with dollar sign

Gifts come in all forms and yes, it’s ok to choose a “non-traditional” gift. As long as it’s offered with consideration and affection.

Make a list of people you would like to buy a gift for and assign a budget to each person.

It seems obvious, but many of us get carried away and lose the budget focus.

As an example of a non-traditional option, offer the gift of time.

Organize and invite the person to a special day out, or surprise them with their favorite film during a popcorn movie night.

If you are creative, then making homemade gifts is an excellent choice. You’ll stay on budget and the person will most probably be thrilled.

For example, we created a calendar for the grandparents who live far away and aren’t able to see my kids often.

By making a collage of photos and shots of daily life, they were super happy to see the kids in different situations. A win-win gift-giving situation.


I have a friend who loves the Rolling Stones.

Recently we went shopping for a few gifts and she bought a Rolling Stones album for her colleague.

I told her they were lucky to share the same tastes in music and have this passion in common.

She looked at me surprised and said I don’t know if she likes this music, but I do, so I’m sure she will too!

I was perplexed, to say the least.

Giving someone a gift has very little to do with you. It’s about them.

When choosing to give a gift, whatever the occasion, keep the person’s taste in mind.

It shows you took the time to understand their likes and dislikes and it’s a clear message of consideration.

Not only will the receiver appreciate the gift that much more, but it also makes gift-giving easier for you as it targets specific tastes.

If the gift is for someone you can’t get to know better, but still feel you must offer something to them, then choosing a neutral gift, something anyone can use is always the best option.


gift giving string of hearts

I have always told my children that if a present comes from the heart it’s the best gift of all.

I’m very happy to still have a box full of beautiful drawings, poems and noodle necklaces from when they were younger.

Today they are in their teens. Need I say things have changed?

Yes, of course, they have, but that’s another story.

As far as gift-giving goes, today they’ve learned how to save up a small amount of money and enjoy going into town searching for THE gift.

The intent and excitement behind their actions are proof of their desire to give back somehow.

From the idea to the purchase (or creation) to the secret wrapping to writing the note to the end result of offering the gift itself. It’s very exciting!

Of course, it’s not always perfect.

But who cares, it comes from their heart and that’s the ultimate gift in itself. In my book that’s what real gift-giving is about.

The downside of them growing up is that now they like to receive more complex gifts!

Beautiful wooden games or little farm animals just don’t cut it anymore.

They want “stuff”. A lot of stuff. Brands, fashion, tech, makeup stuff.

Normal, they’re teens.

So here is where it gets tricky.

A lot of gifts under the tree or for their birthday feels great to them. But it doesn’t really teach them values or appreciation.

Yet, on the other hand, minimal gift-giving doesn’t feel like a special occasion.

Many parents struggle with how much is enough.

Try focusing on essentials like budget plus the message you’d like to get across. This will make finding the right balance easier.


giftgiving envelope with pencil


A  gift voucher is a fantastic gift and the most underrated option of all times.

You can’t push a button or make it play music and yet it has a powerful message when offered to the right person.

With simple paper and colored markers, design your own vouchers for your gift of presence. Make it pretty by wrapping it up in beautiful ribbons.

Some voucher examples: an offer to prepare a special meal by choosing a recipe from a different country. Or plan a girls’ day out around a certain theme.

If you have certain skills you can teach them as a gift.

Show the receiver how to cook a particular dish step by step, or fix the computer of a non-tech person.

You could even get into some old clothes and repaint your uncle’s porch as a gift.

Too busy?

Make the gift vouchers anyways, but take advantage of someone else’s skills.

Ideas can run from any of the above to house cleaning for busy families or giving parents a break by having someone babysit for a few hours, an afternoon or an entire weekend.

Just remember that when gift-giving, it doesn’t have to be a material thing that comes out of a box.

So match the person to their need and be creative.


gift giving chocolate box

The time and effort you put into homemade gifts are usually greatly appreciated.

Examples of homemade crafts are endless. Making jam, knitting a scarf, creating soaps or candles. Go put those wonderful skills to work and make someone happy.

Just make sure to assess how much time you have available before the special day.

Even just baking cookies in different shapes is a cool idea.

But the real key is: what do you enjoy making?

I gave our calendar example for the grandparents above.

Here is another example. I once made a typical Brazilian dessert. Hundreds of little delicious chocolate balls.

I lined them up, then decorated the colorful boxes with huge bows and gifted them to people I cared about but didn’t know very well.

Not only was it appreciated, but it’s also a way to share a moment together.


gift giving homemade accessories

Homemade gifts and the gift of presence are an original and wonderful way of getting a message across.

But I also think that still today, many in our society expect to receive a physical gift.

Even if other ways to gift give exist as we saw above, there’s no doubt that the majority will choose a physical gift.

If we don’t have a lot of time or not comfortable making something, then this is the best option. However, don’t get lost in the array of possibilities.

Try to narrow it down by matching the receiver’s personality with the appointed budget above.

You did make your list and assign a budget to each person right?


Kindle Paperwhite

Reading is always on top of my list.

It’s educational, fun, interesting and there are as many books as there are favorite topics.

Books range from inexpensive kindle downloads when on the road to higher-end coffee table travel books for adults when back home.

Films and music also come in all forms and are a safe bet if you know the receiver well.

gift giving kindle reader

A few travel books to inspire you!


gift giving travel money belt

It’s no secret that keeping money and documents safe when traveling is essential. A money belt tucked discretely underneath a shirt or sweater is the way to go. Lightweight and functional, I never travel without one and feel reassured that our passports and credit cards are safe.


gift giving travel eye mask

Airplane eye masks are usually available on long flights. But after battling with how flimsy they are I end up stuffing them back into their plastic wrap.

These eye masks are different and what a relief that is!

They adjust comfortably closer to the nose without adding any eye pressure. Not flimsy at all, very flexible, and the elastic strap doesn’t get tangled in your hair.

Finally, get some sleep on long flights.

Adopt the use of packing cubes and organize everyone’s suitcase!

It’s so easy when arriving at your destination to just take out a cube and put it on the shelf. Stop taking everything out and refolding.

Parents and kids alike can take care of their own pack which is very practical. It saves time and keeps things under control the easy way.


I can’t live without my camera! This model is versatile and very simple to use.

The bulk of my photos are taken with my Nikon and even my kids sneak it from me to take their own photos, that’s how easy it is.

It comes with 18-55mm which is a big plus.

You can keep it simple and just press a button letting the camera do the work or try and play around with the settings for different effects.

It’s all at your fingertips.

If you’re just starting out with photography then check these tips.


travel compression socks gift giving

Everyone’s legs can get swollen and tired during flights. But the real risk is the formation of blood clots. Compression socks relieve these symptoms and alleviate circulation problems.

Easy to put on as they have an open toe and sturdy zipper. Try wearing them on your next flight, you may be surprised.

Read about why they are important on long flights.


gift giving running shoes nike

The name running shoes is misleading because these days, everyone wears them.

All the time and for any reason.

Especially teens who usually have an extensive collection.

Sneakers are a thing now and part of any fashionable wardrobe no matter what the style.  There are so many colors, models and styles to choose from so check here on Amazon for yours.

gift giving headphones

Like most teens, my girls are always listening to music. Needless to say, I can’t count the number of headphones that I’ve emptied my pockets for!

So I decided to invest.

These headphones have a soft cushion that goes over the ears which makes them very comfortable. Plus the overhead slider is adjustable and its built-in microphone works in wireless mode to call hands free.

The best part? It folds up to save space 🙂

Have a listen to some of these songs:

Ariana Grande: No Tears Left to Cry

Young T & Bugsey: Greenlight

Imagine Dragons: Believer


gift giving Nike backbag

This bag is a must for teens who are into brands and for parents who are budget conscious.

It has a large compartment as well as a small zippered pocket for house keys for example. Not only is it resistant, but it also goes with just about any casual wear.


  • gift giving carryon vibrant colors

Love the colors! Inspired by a famous Brazilian artist whose work is vibrant and colorful.

Learn more about him

Why check luggage when you can save yourself the hassle and just carry it on?

This suitcase has everything we like: it’s lightweight, durable and has spinnable wheels.



giftgiving travel pillow

Designed to look like a scarf, this soft fleece pillow has hidden internal arch support and is machine washable.

It alleviates neck aches so you can sleep comfortably during travel. Finally, a pillow that does its job, what a great invention!



Polaroid-type cameras are so much fun for kids and adults.

The thrill of waiting for the photo to come out for all to enjoy together brings smiles every time. Kids will feel like grownups and grownups will have fun 🙂


It’s always such a hassle to try and organize medication or vitamins on a trip.

This compact pouch is lightweight and has nine clear internal pouches with a sliding lock. It keeps medication safely away from kids and takes the worry out of carrying the whole arsenal!


gift giving day pack

So today’s the day you’re going sightseeing with the kids or taking them on a hike?

Make sure to pack the bottle of water, the maps, the snacks, a sweater, rain jackets and everything else you need. You can fit a lot in this lightweight pack.

And the best part is that when not in use, it goes back into its little pouch. Very practical.


gift giving car cushion

We love them for sure, especially with the family. But after hours of driving hunched over, it can get very tiring.

This car cushion helps to keep a good posture while at the wheel relieving certain symptoms only drivers can relate to.

Of course, the cushion can also be used at home or in specific painful situations, which is a big plus.


gift giving juice extractor

The best way to make healthy juices is to always have a few fresh fruits on hand and a nice tall glass. And a juice extractor.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to make excellent homemade drinks for the entire family.

It’s easy to clean and simple to put together.

Check out these recipes to get started


gift giving echo dot

Ask Alexa anything using your own voice and get tasks done for you.

For example, you can ask to turn on the music, send messages, control lighting and so much more.

It’s fun but it is also very useful and helpful.


gift giving oil diffusier

There are many benefits when using an essential oil diffuser.

Fill your home with delicious smells to relax, humidify the air, to heal certain problems like colds and coughs.

This model changes colors to create special moods which are pretty cool.


gift giving crockpot

A perfect way to make dinner for busy families. Time it from 30 minutes and up to 20 hours depending on what you’d like to cook. Forget about the hassle of last-minute “what’s for dinner”?

Check out and start with a few simple recipes here.


The act of gift-giving comes in various shapes and sizes. It can be a physical gift, a homemade gift, a presence, or a time gift.

It all depends on who you’re giving to and your budget.

Getting all wrapped up in the tumult of daily life just adds more things to do on our long list, including gift-giving.

Reduce stress by planning and knowing a few things about the person you’re giving to.  It also increases focus and brings on clarity instead of getting lost in a pile of presents.

After all, gift-giving is essentially about family, friends, and yourself.

And about caring and sharing special moments together.

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