The Art of Thoughtful Gift-Giving



For years, I have prided myself on giving thoughtful gifts. I plan ahead, I make things extra personal, and I’ve DIY-ed presents well past the appropriate age to give homemade crafts as a gift. I hunt for thrift-store treasures all year long, and spend way too much time finding wrapping paper and bows that match perfectly.

But all of that can be really exhausting, especially because it’s difficult to out-do yourself every Christmas, and then again at birthdays. So this year, I thought critically about my shortcuts to finding thoughtful gifts in a pinch (you’ve got 5 days, people!), and included a gift guide below to some places that will still deliver by December 25th.

1. Lean on Their Love Language.

If you haven’t heard of Love Languages before, they’re the 5 most common ways that people give and receive affection — everyone has a unique preference. The languages are: acts of kindness, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and gifts. If you know how your loved one prefers to receive love, use their language to guide you. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Acts of Kindness: Give a gift that gives back! Donate to a charity, support a young artist, or pick up a gift from a company that puts proceeds toward charity (I linked a bunch at the bottom of this post).
  • Words of Affirmation: a journal or first edition copy of their favorite book, with an inscription from you on the inside cover.

  • Physical Touch: Treat them to a deep tissue massage, put together a basket of luxury bath products, or — if there’s a college grad in your life who’s feeling lonely in their new city — adopt a puppy or kitten from your local animal shelter.

  • Quality Time: Get tickets to see their favorite band in concert, the new Star Wars movie, a couples spa day, a cooking class or book an Airbnb for a trip early next year. This one is the most fun IMO because you get to participate too.

  • Gifts! How do you find a gift for someone whose love language is gifts? Subscription boxes exist for basically every hobby you can imagine: Birchbox for beauty products, Hello Fresh for food, Rocksbox for jewelry or Winc for vinos. There’s something for everyone, and a 3 month subscription is usually pretty cheap for 90 days worth of presents.

2. Be practical.

What activities do they do every day? Are they always cold? Always running errands? A practical gift doesn’t have to be boring; get a personalized version with their initials or in their school colors, or find a splurge-worthy version that they might never have bought for themselves. Moms are notorious for this - they’ll buy the most pragmatic, unbranded, inexpensive version of the thing they need, and put the rest toward gifts for everyone else. Now’s your chance to make their life easier and make them feel special.

3. When in Doubt, Ask.

There’s bound to be someone on your list who seems incredibly hard to shop for. It sounds obvious, but just ask them about their personal preference, if they need anything, or if they forgot to put any items on their Christmas list. If you’re committed to the surprise, ask someone close to them for perspective. You’d be surprised what others see that you might have missed.

In my experience, the only thing you need in order to find a thoughtful gift is a good listening ear. When you pay attention to the people around you, it’s much easier to perceive what they care about, what keeps them up at night and what makes them feel special.

Capitol Hal Gift Guide (4).png

Gift Guide Details:

  • Rocksbox Subscription, $21: Get three curated pieces of high-end jewelry for $21 a month. Try new pieces or stick to your tried-and-true style, all with the help of your personal stylist! Use “capitolhalxoxo” for your first month free!

  • Bijou Candles, $29: This company is completely owned and run by women, who create luxury candles that make you feel pretty damn fancy. Their scents are named after famous Old Hollywood actresses, and they’re planning to add famous historical figures, musicians and artists. Plus, their motto is “Women are Magic.” If you’re not already sold, this might not be the blog for you… Anyway! Order by 12/20 for UPS Next Day Air shipping. Use code “capitol_hal15” for 15% off your order through December 31, 2017!

  • Going Home After This Keychain, $15: From my favorite newsletter, the Girls Night In Club, this keychain is perfect for the homebody in your life. Give her a hint and some bling for her house keys, and check out the rest of the GNI shop for more self-care goodies.

  • Bombas Socks, $12 each: Socks are a simple, cozy gift for anyone on your list, but they’re also the most commonly requested item in homeless shelters across the U.S. For every pair purchased, a pair of socks is donated to a person without a home. Click here to get 25% off your order, which is an even better deal than they’re currently offering on the site!

  • Woman Cards, $20: The Woman Card deck is created to support gender equality, and features 52 #Queens who make waves around the world (ex: Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce, Rosa Parks, RBG, Cleopatra). It’s on sale right now for more than 40% off, and makes a perfect gift for your favorite feminist (read: me lmao) who also knows how to have fun. It won’t deliver by 12/25, but you might as well buy it for yourself anyway.

Gifts that Give Back:

  • Love your melon: 50 percent of the profits from these cozy hats support pediatric cancer research.

  • Thistle Farms aromatherapy candles and sprays: This company empowers and employs survivors of human trafficking, prostitution and drug addiction

  • YLLO Beauty: This company offers turmeric-based skin care, and donates 15% of every purchase to organizations that work to end child marriage

  • Hand in Hand soaps: With every soap purchased, they will give a bar and a month of clean water to a community in need.

  • Purpose Jewelry: Proceeds from each piece sold goes to the non-profit International Sanctuary that provides survivors of human trafficking with education, health care and counseling.

Alright, I didn’t make this guide just to tell my family what to get me; I actually got a bunch of these things for my pals and loved ones. Hope this was helpful, and that ya have a lovely, joyful holiday szn.