The Classics: Gift Giving & Caregiving

(OR People Love Caring People)

Sorry this post is a wee bit late...the weekend snuck up on me and has been pretty busy till now. We did family photos yesterday with Strider's side of the family, which was followed by an old-fashioned Mennonite hymn sing on the porch. Needless to say, it is a wonderful memory we will cherish forever.

So...here we are...the final post in the Modern Simple Homemaking series! I can't believe it! It has been a really fun six months and I hope at least some of the info I've shared has been helpful. Of course, as I've been researching and reading all this time, I've learned a lot too (though I don't imagine there is ever an "end" to learning about homemaking). So thank you for reading and sharing along with me, everyone!

Today, I want to talk about gift giving and caregiving. I don't know about you, but I absolutely love to give gifts. I'm not so big on receiving them, but I love surprising people with a thoughtful (often homemade) surprise. My mom, on the other hand, is the true caregiver in my life. Sometimes in an indirect way and sometimes in a very literal sense, she is one of the most care-giving people I know. And as you might imagine, whether its a physical gift or the gift of caring, most people out there seem to love being cared for.

Let's start off with gifts. Many people seem stumped when it comes time for special occasion purchases, however, this task (as with almost every other in this series it seems) can be made much easier with a bit of forethought and planning. So here are some quick tips to make gift giving less stressful and more thought-full:

- Think Gifty Year-Round: Listen to friends and family and jot down gift ideas when they mention something of
  interest, no matter what time of year. I use this printable sheet in my Home Management Binder to keep track of
  ideas until the next giving occasion (click for free download):
- Observe Little Opportunities: If a friend mentions something missing in their home or an item that will soon need
  replacing, make note for the next holiday or surprise them with a "for-no-reason" gift. (Ex: my cousin seems to be
  perpetually in need of a new can opener)

- Take Cues from Others' Clues: Just because I think something is super cute, doesn't necessarily mean a 
  friend will. Remember who you're purchasing/making the item for and look at their home decor, color schemes,
  fashion sense, favorite scents, etc. for clues. 

- Traditional Transitionals: Giving gifts during transitional life moments (new house, graduating, new baby) is a
  standard for many people today. If you're feeling extra creative, take time to look in to some of the historical
  symbolism or traditions on which you might create a new spin. For ex: I once gifted a traditional housewarming 
  basket with a tag detailing why each item was included...bread for plenty, salt for flavorful life, honey for 
  sweetness, candle for happiness, etc.
not mine, but the same idea (source)
- Hobbies Schmobbies: Consider what they're in to. Wine enthusiast? Maybe some wine glass charms or a cute
  bottle stopper. Gardeners? A unique planter never goes amiss. Home decor junkie? A HomeGoods gift card.

- Time Is Not Overrated: Especially for parents, a gift of your own time can be a huge blessing. Watching the kids
  so they can take a date night has never been turned down as far as I know. Look for other ways your time might
  be a gift to someone. A friend moving? Older family need some weeding done? Or help cleaning?

- The Age of Gift Cards: Although they might have gotten a bad rap in the past, gift cards are not seen as the faux-
  pas they once were. Sometimes a well-chosen gift card can say much more about thoughtfulness than a 
  last-minute gift. And who doesn't appreciate them, right? 

Last but not least, don't forget that holidays and special occasions don't have to be the only reason for gifting to those you love. Sometimes the unexpected gifts or small gestures of friendship are the ones that have the biggest impact. Occasionally, I see something I know a friend will love, I'll snag it and just hang on to it until I sense that they're having a rough week or could just use a pick-me-up.

As for caregiving, I've found that just being present is often the biggest act of caring that we can give. The entire idea of homemaking is founded on the principle of care. Caring for our family, our home, and our community. So whether it's bringing a box of tea to a coworker with a cold or calling a new mom to see if you can hold her little one while she gets a shower and quick nap, taking the time to see opportunities for care is the biggest step. 

I sometimes miss these opportunities, and of course, there are always ways for each of us to do more. But training myself to ask the question and seek those chances seems to make them appear all the more. So...what are your favorite ways to extend your homemaking care beyond the walls of your home?

Once again everyone, thank you so much for reading and being a part of this series with me. Links to all the posts are on my House & Home page and of course, I'll continue adding homey things as I get back to some of my regularly scheduled (or not so scheduled) blogging!

This post is part of the Modern Simple Homemaking series.
To learn more about this series and see other posts, click the button above.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written...you bless me. I love you so much and I have enjoyed every blog post! Keep writing sweet Sarah. You have things to share that encourage us all.


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