7 rules for giving thoughtful Christmas presents


Jewellery brand Mosami puts a special emphasis on meaning and purpose; its pieces are sourced with environment and ethics as a priority. It’s one of just a handful of brands accredited to use Fairtrade silver. Mosami asked 50 friends for their advice on thoughtful gift giving and came up with seven tips.

Rule 1. Think about what’s going on in their life – make it personal

To choose something that’s truly personal, and shows that you really know and care about the person, you’ll need to pay close attention to what’s happening in their life, how they feel and what makes them smile. Don’t just pick on interests for inspiration.

Our ‘thoughtful’ respondents all said they try to find a gift that demonstrates care and strengthens their connection to the recipient. In general terms, they look for gifts that will increase the recipient’s wellbeing in some way, for example a relaxing aromatherapy candle for someone who is under pressure.

Rule 2. Start thinking long before Christmas – make a list

Our respondents told us they think about possible gift items throughout the year as ideas come up. More often than not inspiration comes when they spend time with the person, either because they mention something that they like or enjoy, or because the conversation inspires an idea for a gift that could be helpful for a particular situation. Or sometimes they just drop a hint that needs to be heard. Several respondents told us they keep a list and jot ideas down during the year so that when Christmas arrives the thinking is already done and they can just concentrate on finding the gift.

Rule 3. Don’t focus on cost – the thought really does count

‘It’s the thought that counts’ is a phrase that is often used but not always believed, especially by the giver. Our respondents told us that they often worried about not spending enough, and that the gift would be judged by its value as well as its thoughtfulness. In contrast they also said that they rarely attributed the quality of a gift they received to its value. Interestingly this finding correlates with research conducted by Stanford University that shows the value of a gift to be less important than the gift itself, and that givers and receivers have converse beliefs about the importance of monetary value.

So don’t worry about the price, focus on thoughtfulness and the cost becomes irrelevant.

 Rule 4. Consider making something special

It seems that recipients appreciate the time and effort that’s gone into a gift more than the amount of money that’s been spent. So for the crafters, artists and bakers out there, start creating and make a personal gift – it will be appreciated and treasured (or devoured).

 Rule 5. Choose something that will last

For some there’s an uncomfortable feeling of excess creeping into Christmas, and a suspicion that in amongst so many gifts, their own might be forgotten. To overcome this worry our ‘thoughtful’ respondents favoured gifts that would be long lasting and used over a period of time. This could be something material such as a piece of jewellery, or a something that created a lasting memory like theatre tickets or a day out together. A few mentioned environmentally driven concerns such as waste, another reason to choose gifts with a long shelf life.

Rule 6. Wrap it beautifully

Giving really is better than receiving it seems, and our respondents like to max out on the giving pleasure by indulging in pretty wrappings. Our ‘thoughtful’ gift givers told us that they especially appreciate carefully wrapped gifts, and that they enjoy putting care and attention into wrapping a gift. So it makes sense to wrap with love, and create some extra wow factor for your recipient.

Rule 7. Do it with love

Our conclusion is this: the thought definitely counts, but more than just the thought, it’s the fact that the recipient feels loved and cared about that makes a gift extra special.

And on top of a happy recipient, the feeling of giving an appreciated gift just can’t be beaten, because our brains perceive the act of giving to be a positive reward: http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/janedut/POS/GrantDutton_PsychScience2012.pdf

So a truly thoughtful gift makes a happy Christmas for everyone.

In the course of our research we stumbled on this quote which seems to sum it up rather well: “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving,” Mother Teresa