5 Tips for Thoughtful Gift Giving

5 tips for thoughtful gift giving from kate shore art


Finding the perfect gift for someone is something I absolutely love. It might be my super power (not super helpful to the Avengers, but whatever...) I never want to give anyone more meaningless stuff just for the sake of giving them something.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for finding thoughtful, intentional gifts for everyone on your list!

1. Write it Down (or Pin It!)

Maybe you’ve been blessed with a magical brain that doesn’t forget things constantly. But if you’re like me, if you don’t write something down, you’re going to forget it (no? Just me?). I have lists for everything, including a running list of gift ideas.  

I also have a secret “Gifts” Pinterest board for things I come across online. If I see something I know someone would like, or if someone mentions needing/wanting something specific, I just add it to my list or save a picture to my Pinterest board. 

a secret gift board on pinterest to keep me organized

That way, when it’s time to find a gift for someone, I’ve already got a list full of thoughtful ideas and I’m not scrambling at the last second. So if you mention in passing that you like my wallet and you’ve been meaning to get a new one, guess what you’ll be getting for your birthday 3 months from now?

2. Be Sneaky (Verging on Stalker-y)

Use the power of social media to snoop on other people (all in the name of gift-giving research, of course).

Did your friend post about missing that awesome coffee from her favorite local coffee shop where she used to live? Think how surprised she’d be if a couple bags of that very coffee showed up on her doorstep!

Did your cousin share how much he loved visiting a state park? Think how much he’d love getting an annual pass to visit ALL of his local state parks! 

You can even dig a little deeper and check out what brands or accounts they follow/like/comment on. They’ll think you’ve achieved mind-reading status when you give them a mug made by that potter they’re always liking on Instagram.

3. Don’t Underestimate Quality Time

Experiences and time together can be the best gift you can give! Plan some one-on-one time with no distractions. Take them on a hike, treat them to dinner, bake cookies together … just make sure it’s something that they will enjoy and that the two of you can do together. 

This also comes with the bonus gift of not adding more stuff-for-the-sake-of-stuff to their living space.

couple hanging out in back of car with trunk door open on beach - quality time

As of writing this, we’re in the middle of 2020. You know, the funnest year everrrr... So even if you’re stuck at home, reach out and plan some virtual hang out time with one of your friends who’s going a little stir crazy. 

4. Be Sentimental

Choose a gift that reflects a certain event, person, or special memory.

A couple years ago, I had my sister’s best friend create a painting of the house we grew up in. My parents moved out a few years back, so now they have the painting on display in their new home. I even got prints made of it for my siblings and myself, and I love seeing it in my office every day. 

watercolor house portrait by emily johnston

I mean, look how great it is! I love it. You can see more of Emily’s work here.

Maybe you took a special trip together last year - have an artist create a painting from one of your favorite photos! Maybe they have a box of Grandma’s old recipes sitting in their kitchen - put those together in a nice book that can be handed down to the next generation! 

Going the sentimental route is great, because you’re adding something to their home that actually means something, that can bring them joy every time they see it in their daily life. 

I love creating artwork that becomes a tangible reminder of a special memory. 

A while back, I created a small custom piece as a gift for a client's sister - it features the beach where she got engaged! Here's a bit of the process from photo, to sketch, to completed piece!

custom beach painting process by kate shore art

beach painting with cliff by kate shore

PS - I am currently booking a limited amount of commissions. If you’re interested in getting an original piece of art created just for you or as a gift for the holiday season, contact me so we can chat about what you’re looking for!

5. Shop Small

There are so many benefits to shopping small, as well as shopping local. Yes, I own plenty of things from Target. But I do make a real effort to support independent businesses as much as possible. 

When you visit a local gift shop, you’re going to find a curated selection of things that you won’t find in a big box store. When you buy from independent shops and artists, you’re directly supporting real people and their families. 

Plus, it’s so easy now to find and support small businesses! Between google and social media, you can easily find your new favorite places to shop. And most of them are offering online shopping now, so you can do it all from your home! (Shopping in pajamas? Yes please.)

kate shore art - mom and kid at art show with teal and pink painting

oh hey, that's me :)

*Bonus Tips*

Embrace Snail Mail 

I LOVE sending and receiving snail mail. Make someone’s day by sending a hand-written note in the mail, maybe for no specific reason at all! Seriously, they’ll be so happy to get something other than bills or junk mail.

You can snag some cards with my artwork here! Want me to fill them out and mail them for you? Just contact me and I'm happy to do that, too :)

Wrap it Up

Yes, the wrapping paper gets ripped off immediately, and in all honesty it’s probably pretty wasteful, so I try to reuse whatever I can. But taking the time to wrap a gift and add a cute tag just shows you put even more thought into it. 

colorful gift wrap with flowers

It’s ok if you don’t have the wrapping skills of Martha Stewart. This is one of those things where it really is the thought that counts.

Do you consider yourself a gift-giving master, or do you find yourself scrambling at the last minute? If you're thinking a unique piece of art might be the perfect match for someone on your list, contact me so we can chat!

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