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How to Give More Meaningful Gifts This Holiday

Close-up of hands of senior and young woman holding a present at Christmas.

When it comes to holiday gifting, we’re a little like Santa at Resort Lifestyle Communities. We like to make a list, check it twice, and shop for gifts that are especially nice. As we’re brainstorming this year’s holiday list, we thought it would be helpful to share a few creative and scientifically-proven ways to choose gifts your loved ones are sure to treasure!

Get Sentimental

Sentimental gifts often remain cherished for years, so when faced with the choice between something practical or something with more emotional value, go with the latter. According to a 2017 Journal of Consumer Psychology report, recipients would rather receive a sentimental gift that reminds them of special events and relationships. Gifts that require more effort, like a handmade item or something that took a long time to find, can symbolically show just how much you care.

Gift Ideas to Consider:

  1. Share a poem you’ve written or a piece of art you’ve painted that includes your signature.
  2. Print and frame a photo or two that you love on the recipient’s social media account. 
  3. Have your handwriting turned into a piece of jewelry.
  4. Commission a work of art that features the recipient’s pet or birth flower.
  5. Compile your favorite family recipes, holiday traditions, or stories in a lovely book.

Go Beyond the Moment

As a gift-giver, it can be fun to see a person’s eyes light up and be genuinely delighted with your gift. These particular moments can be fleeting, though. Beyond the initial exchange, consider how the gift will be cherished or enhance their life. Research indicates that, rather than striving for a big reaction, we should focus on what will ultimately provide the most utility or long-term enjoyment. Recipients don’t always need or expect a “wow” factor and might be happier with something that fits better into their lives. So, take the pressure off finding something that will be super exciting to unwrap and think more long-term. What would still be valuable and fun for them two weeks or two months down the road?

Gift Ideas to Consider:

  1. Share a coffee mug with a daily devotional that they can read each day of the year.
  2. Give a gift certificate to a home-delivered meal or home laundry service. 
  3. Make a basket of spa goodies like a cozy robe, foot bath, massage roller, or face steamer. 
  4. Give a gift card to a local restaurant they love, and include a coupon for free babysitting!
  5. Ask what they need around the house and give something that will truly help right now.

Give Experiences Instead of Things

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when buying gifts for others is the notion that more stuff makes people happier. According to research published in 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Research, experiential gifts are much better at strengthening relationships than material ones. People who received experiential gifts felt more connected to the gift giver. So, get creative and think of ways to share a few memorable experiences this year.

Gift Ideas to Consider:

  1. Take a cooking class together in person or online.
  2. Give a gift card & plan a day to shop together.
  3. Volunteer at the animal shelter together & donate in their honor while you’re there.
  4. Share your favorite book with a note about what you hope they get from the reading experience. 
  5. Treat the recipient to a night out at the theater, gifted with a family heirloom to wear.

We hope these ideas make it easier to surprise and delight the ones you love for years to come. We also hope you get everything you wish for this season. If finding a worry-free, independent retirement community happens to be on your list, we’d love to introduce you to an RLC location near you. Schedule a tour, and let us treat you to a complimentary meal while you’re here. Until then, all of us at Resort Lifestyle Communities wish you happy holidays ahead!

Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit

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