There’s no greater pleasure than finding and giving the perfect gift, but nothing diminishes that pleasure quite like the pressure to deliver the holiday goods. I think it’s a total waste to buy a gift for the sake of buying a gift. We all have too much, and yet we run around like maniacs this time of year desperately trying to buy something (anything!) for everyone on our list. The truth is, no one wants that mediocre, last minute, had-to-buy-you-something gift. What we really want is meaning.
Giving is all about intention. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, luxurious or inexpensive, what matters is intentionality—the genuine connection you make not only with the person you’re buying for, but also the meaning behind what you’ve chosen to give. A meaningful gift is the manifestation of genuine connection.
Here are just a few of the things that inspire me this holiday season. What I love about these gift ideas is that they’re all classic, quality pieces with a lot of style.
I’m in love (in love) with Cuyana (pronounced Coo-yana, which means love in Quechua). I found Cuyana just in time for my trip to France; I bought the Oversized Carryall Tote in Cream and haven’t taken it off my shoulder since. People literally stop me in the street to ask, “Where did you get your bag?!” I love that I can wear it in every season, and it has stayed remarkably clean despite the fact that it’s white!
Beyond their gorgeous aesthetic and reasonable price point is a philosophy that is completely aligned with my own. “Fewer, Better Things,” is how I was raised. My parents worked hard to save money and we always shopped at second hand stores for our best clothes; believe it or not, I still have most of those pieces in my closet today. As a teenage girl, I begged to have the newest trends and would pine over the cheap clothes at the cheap, teen-centric stores only to have my mother put her foot down. She taught me the value of beautiful fabric and expert tailoring. Quality over quantity is a mantra that has evolved past my closet to become one of my life philosophies.
I could (and do!) get lost in Cuyana’s beautiful online store. They’ve also opened a gorgeous pop up store in SoHo which is open until December 24th! You will love everything.
Of all their small leather goods, I adore their soft leather zipper pouches because they can be used in so many different ways. Versatility is a huge factor in anything I buy, whether it’s furniture, clothing, or home goods—I’m attracted to pieces with multiple functions because as I grow and evolve, I want to be able to see my things in new ways. We get to reinvent ourselves together.
Another online store I love is Zady. They make and curate beautiful things with an emphasis on conscious consumption. The less is more / quality over quantity philosophy is a cool way to think about shopping, practicing, and living. And while we may not succeed every time we pull out our credit cards, this guiding principle has the potential to bring more meaning into our everyday lives.
Home gifts are an opportunity to meet someone where they are. Contemplate their style and try to buy something that fits neatly into their aesthetic and lifestyle. That said, it’s also fun to give them something they would never think to buy for themselves, or to add thoughtful whimsy or careful edge to their existing style.
Candles are a luxurious gift, but trying to buy the right scent for someone else is tricky business. Scent is very personal. If two people pick up the same candle, one of them will think it smells like roses while the other one will think it smells like poo-oo-oo. I try to stick to lavender or a very “neutral” musk.
The best gift, though, is the gift of giving. When you’re not sure what to buy, consider a gift card to Global Giving, an amazing organization where you can research literally hundreds of projects around the world that need your help. I just donated to a project by Educate Girls that aims to send young girls to school in Rajasthan where 65% of girls are married under the legal age of 18 and 15% before the age of 10. Global Giving is perfect for anyone on your list, especially the people you may not know as well.
As you set out to buy your holiday gifts, let intention be your guide. If you start to feel overwhelmed by all the holiday madness, meditate on that moment they open their gift, and visualize the smile on their face. Keep it simple by focusing on quality over quantity. Less is truly more.