My aunts are some of the most caring, thoughtful women I know.  All of my life they never cease to amaze me with their unexpected greetings and surprises that show up in different ways.  They always make me feel cared for, loved and genuinely special. Above all other gifts they have bestowed on me it’s their thoughtfulness that I remember.  Perhaps thoughtfulness and how to rethink gift-giving is the message I have been missing.

What an amazing gift to be given that opportunity to feel good. Aside from gifts, gatherings, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, isn’t giving about thoughtfulness?  With the holiday season upon us, I thought I’d share some authentic ways to show thoughtfulness.

After an unprecedented year, feel free to borrow these ideas on how to make someone feel extra special without breaking the bank.  Its’ time to rethink gift giving.


Thoughtfulness doesn’t have to cost a dime

Think about what makes you feel special.  I’m guessing it isn’t THE gift you’ve always wanted or the cash for a shopping spree you’ve been pining for.  When I think about all the thoughtful gestures I’ve received, it’s the feelings evoked that stick with me.  Thoughtfulness in gift-giving is about feelings and emotions –  not the size, cost, or even quantity of the gifts.

Some of the happiest feelings I’ve had from thoughtfulness:

A card or note (or gift) in the post

Yes, the actual mailbox, aka snail mail. Equate this to the exciting feeling when an Amazon delivery arrives on your doorstep!  A parcel and you don’t know what’s inside! Could it be a hello, a hug from afar, glitter, a lottery ticket, a poem, a story, a picture, comic strip, or a joke?!  You’re getting the picture.  All very low to no-cost options to show you are truly thinking about the person.

Share a Skill

Another truly amazing, generous, and selfless thoughtful person in my life is my mom.  She gives the best gifts, is available when needed, and ensures she spends time to show she cares.  For example, over the spring and summer, while we were in shelter-in-place, she set up lessons for both cursive writing and piano keyboard for my children. Not only did they get to spend quality one-on-one time together (safely) every week, but my son and daughter gained skills they will carry with them for life.

So this year, can you show your thoughtfulness by sharing a skill?  Perhaps it’s sewing, singing, or drawing. Perhaps it’s knowledge around personal finances, baking, or a sport.  The lessons will last a lifetime, and the time spent together shows true thoughtfulness.

An Experience

Time together is priceless.  It’s the only thing that we can’t make more of.  In case you have “stuff” overload, an experience is also something you don’t have to find physical space to store.  The only storage required for an experience is in the memory bank.  Travel restrictions may still be in place for a while but you can still plan an experience such as a trip together, a special meal out, picnic, tour (even virtual), or time together doing something you both enjoy an option.   Presenting the experience in a fun, creative way really makes the gift special and builds anticipation for the event.

A Favor

One of my love languages is most definitely having someone do something for me. Nothing makes me happier than when my husband takes my car to get washed, or my kids give me a foot massage without being asked.

What can you do for your friend, loved one, or co-worker that transcends the material, but makes a big impact?  Cleaning their house for example is something that costs only your time and energy (and cleaning supplies) but can be enjoyed for weeks.  Cleaning the yard or planting a garden of flowers along a walkway can also bring joy for weeks or months. How about cooking and delivering a meal, baking, or completing some other task that they can’t do for themselves?

This type of gift shows such thoughtfulness and is sure to be one of the most appreciated gifts received.

Save Money, Give More

This holiday season, after one of the toughest years on record for so many, I challenge you to rethink your gift-giving.  Instead of a list of gifts, can you put thought into creating and giving a truly thoughtful gift in addition to, or instead of, the monetary spending you would otherwise have?  I have a few additional tips, click here for more. 

Cheers to that!


PS: Looking for more tips on holiday gift-giving on a budget?  Check out: Your Money Survival Guide for the Holidays!


Michelle Boss

Michelle Boss

Michelle Boss is a Personal Finance Coach and Certified Financial Education Instructor. She is certified through the NFEC. As a Professional Money Coach, Michelle helps successful women get smart with money so they can grow their wealth and finally feel financially secure. With Michelle’s Group and One-to-one Coaching Sessions, she helps take the Fear out of Finances.