How to Give “Better” Gifts that People Really Love

Thoughtful “conscious gifting”

Conscious gifting is often called “thoughtful gifting” or “social gifting” and it’s a way of spending money that supports your or the gift recipients’ values. You’re shopping for gifts that are ethically, sustainably, or ecologically made and support the individuals or community behind the product or service.

According to a recent Gallup poll, American consumers estimate that they’ll spend an average of $932 on gifts this year, which is up about $100 from what they estimated last year.1

Conscious gifting can be a way of supporting your local community by buying products from local businesses. Shop Small Business Saturday on November 26th (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) or make an effort to go out to stores in your town and shop those independently-owned businesses this holiday season. If you’re giving gifts to friends, family, and colleagues or clients in other towns, check out local businesses in their town you could buy from or get purchase a gift certificate they could use.

5 Things to Keep in Mind if You Want to Try Thoughtful Gifting

1. Consider the recipient’s values. Although your purchases should be ones you feel good about spending your money on, think about what will matter to the giftee. Is your nephew an eco-conscious teen? Gift them something that supports the environment (like something made from recycled materials) and make sure it’s wrapped in recycled paper or… skip the wrapping! Thinking about buying your mom jewelry or clothing? Buy it from a website that supports artisans on a site like—you could get her something handmade from a cause that supports women.

2. Shop according to your values. If you are unsure of the recipient’s values, then spend your money according to yours. That could mean gifting someone treats from Fair Trade Certified companies2 or buying sustainable beauty products3 from companies that don’t test on animals and practice recycling with their packaging and materials. Search for phrases like “sustainable gifts” or “gifts that give back” to see if you’re inspired by the search results.

3. Try to learn about their interests. Want to practice thoughtful gifting with corporate gifts or client gifts? Do some digging to learn about the company’s charitable interests and make a donation in their name. If you have a favorite client you want to dazzle with a conscious gift, try to find out what they like via LinkedIn searches, Facebook page interests, or ask their assistant or colleague if they have a cause that’s near and dear to them. (Easy one: If they have a pet, donating to an animal shelter or buying something that supports an animal cause will likely be a win!)

4. Focus on quality over quantity. We’re a society of excess and the consumerism of the holiday can easily overtake even the most conscious of us. (Cue: Oh no! I forgot to get cousin Sally a gift. I have to run out and get something at a big box store!) Keep a few small sustainable gifts on hand in case you need to give a last-minute gift and you won’t be tempted to “go big or go home.”

5. Think about packaging and presentation. Look around your home to see if there are ways to wrap or present a gift that is better for the environment. Could you wrap a gift in fabric? Perhaps wrap a gift in newspaper or magazines you were going to recycle—but be strategic with the pages you use so your recipient gets a kick out of it? Or, use the front image of holiday cards you received last year as a pretty “gift tag.” Be creative and have fun with it.

6. Wish your recipients “well.” The health and well-being of the people you love is many times at the forefront of your thoughts during the holidays. We’re getting together with people we only see once or a few times a year. Gifts that provide nutritional recommendations or action plans that are personalized are a special way to give that important person in your life the means to start, or continue a journey to improve their health. Giving a gift of this nature does take a little more finesse than one that is not geared towards health and wellness, but if your recipient is more of a longtime friend or close family member, a gift that provides them guidance on wellness or nutrition or even fully personalized supplements and biotics may be just what they were hoping for this year.

Remember that it’s not about the number of gifts someone unwraps or the size of the present. Just like mom said, “It’s the thought that counts.” So make sure you put some thought into what you’re buying, who made it, how the producers will benefit, as well as the feeling you want to evoke when you give the gift.

Happy Holidays!


1 Saad, L. (2022). [American holiday spending 2022].