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Intentional Giving: Thoughtful Ideas for a Joyful Holiday Season

Intentional Giving: Thoughtful Ideas for a Joyful Holiday Season Chelsi Jo

November 16, 2023

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I’m fully committed to crafting an intentional giving holiday season, and one aspect that often catches me off guard is the challenge of finding the perfect gifts.

Despite my initial resolve to not stress about presents, the holiday spirit in the stores and those tempting displays at the front of Target’s dollar section, where nothing is actually $1, always lure me in. Suddenly, I find myself envisioning the places I’ll visit, the people, friends, and family I’ll see, and the desire to give them meaningful, intentional gifts.

The festive spirit takes over, and I end up scrambling at the last minute, putting together presents, navigating town, and checking if Amazon can deliver on time. It’s a scenario I’m determined to change.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Intentional Giving: Navigating Holidays with Our Newest Family Member

Despite my initial reluctance, we recently welcomed a dog into our family. While I didn’t necessarily want a dog, everyone else was eager, and I decided to take one for the team, recognizing it would bring joy to the household. However, in the discussions with the kids, I emphasized that the addition of a dog meant sacrifices, including foregoing Christmas and birthday gifts for a while.

We’ve had numerous discussions with the girls, emphasizing that Christmas will look different this year. Moving into a larger house required new furnishings and adjustments, marking a significant change for our family. Blaine and I, after eight years together, hadn’t invested much in new items for ourselves. We made it clear that this Christmas wouldn’t be extravagant, especially since we now have a dog. While the 11-year-old is on board with the changes, the six-year-old is concerned about Santa’s arrival, hence the beginning of my thinking on intentional giving this year.

Intentional Christmas Gift Ideas: Navigating Thoughtful and Trendy Presents

I’ve adopted an intentional giving approach to Christmas this year, creating a list of thoughtful gift ideas in my phone’s notes app. Throughout October and November, I’ve observed my family members, noting things that would be special to each of them. These little notes come in handy when it’s time to purchase gifts, as I tend to forget under pressure. I’ve encouraged Blaine to share any ideas he might have so I can add them to the list. Additionally, I’ve started exploring ideas online, allowing ad algorithms to work their magic and provide me with inspiration.

Being intentional about my giving on this holiday season, combined with my love for aesthetics and fashion, has prompted me to explore creative and meaningful gift ideas. This intentional approach is not only a strategy to avoid last-minute rushes and overspending but also a way to craft something truly special. Plus, with my kids experiencing a mostly tech-free childhood, I find it a unique opportunity to instill intentionality in gift-giving.

“This intentional approach is not only a strategy to avoid last-minute rushes and overspending but also a way to craft something truly special.”

Early Christmas Prep Excitement: Wrapping Gifts, Creating Moments, and Spreading Joy with Intentional Giving (With Convenient Links!)

In my excitement for a well-prepared and intentional Christmas, I am eager to have gifts wrapped early, envisioning a serene Christmas Eve with my husband. The goal is to create a memorable experience using intentional giving to avoid the chaos of last-minute preparations and enjoying a cozy moment watching a Christmas movie together.

For those interested in exploring the items mentioned, there are convenient accesses to the link. I transparently mention that some Amazon links are affiliate links, while others are not. My emphasis is on sharing my genuine enthusiasm for these products rather than promoting affiliate links. The intention is to offer a hassle-free way for everyone to explore and possibly incorporate these ideas into their own intentional holiday giving.

Unveiling Holiday Delights: 15 Obsessions for an Intentional Christmas!

While not included in the list, there is my current obsession with the idea of a Nespresso machine. Additionally, some items, like essential oils, have already been purchased or are on the shopping agenda. I highlight the versatility of essential oils as intentional teacher gifts, emphasizing their affordability and the creative possibilities they offer for crafting personalized presents. Here are the 15 incredible items that capture my obsession, spanning gifts for others and desires for my family.

#1 – Smart Sketcher by Fly Catcher Toys

Introducing the Smart Sketcher by Fly Catcher Toys, a unique projector equipped with a free app. This compact device transforms any captured image into a projected sketch on a tabletop. From pets to nature, the possibilities are vast. My excitement is fueled by the prospect of gifting this to Frankie and Bailey, my kids who have a deep love for drawing. Stay tuned for updates, as this innovative item is high on the intentional Christmas wish list.

#2 – Casio Digital Piano from Costco

We are thinking about getting a Casio Digital Piano from Costco—it combines functionality with aesthetics.  Picture a piano that looks like a piano but without the clunkiness. I’ve got my eye on this beauty, and even though it’s a bit of a splurge, I’m crossing my fingers for a musical addition to our home soon. It’s on our family’s wish list, big time. 

If you’re looking to bring more music into your life and haven’t settled on that grand gift yet, this piano is a fantastic choice for an intentional gift. Online, it’s around $450, maybe a bit pricier in stores. I stumbled upon it while wandering the aisles at Costco and instantly fell in love. It even has an auxiliary port, so you can plug in headphones and enjoy your tunes without disturbing the whole family. I can’t wait for “Monday Music Days” with Frankie and our violins, while Bailey dreams of strumming the ukulele. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have someone swing by for piano, violin, and voice lessons at home. It’s a dream in the making!

#3 – Giiker Global Super Block Puzzle

Check out this super cool find from Giiker Global—the Super Block Puzzle! I love that it’s completely tech-free, providing a hands-on gaming experience. It’s a handheld game with a Tetris vibe, featuring illuminated patterns on the device. The challenge? Fit the actual puzzle pieces (think plus signs, long strips, L shapes, and Z shapes) into the outlined patterns. It’s a simple yet engaging brain puzzle that I know my kids will adore! 

The Giiker Global Super Block Puzzle is ranking high on my intentional giving list because it’s going to be a lifesaver, especially for car rides or moments when the kids need to be patient. It’s portable, making it easy for me to toss in my bag and pull out when needed. Having a non-tech option for entertainment is something I am always wanting for my kids, and this puzzle fits the bill perfectly. It’s an affordable option, priced around $20-$30. 

#4 – Woobles Beginner Crochet Kit

Introducing Woobles Beginner Crochet Kits at number four!  These adorable kits are perfect for beginners and come with an instructional video that you can watch on your phone via the app. They’re compact, cute, and designed to teach crochet from scratch. The kits have a range of options, from $20 to over $100, making them fantastic stocking stuffers. Looking for a fun weekend activity, a distraction during a road trip, or a daily pick-me-up for the kids? These kits are a great choice. We’re definitely considering grabbing a couple because of their irresistible charm!

#5 – 3D Pen

Next up at number five is something we already have – the 3D pen!  This incredible gadget is completely tech and screen-free, making it a standout choice. While we won’t be getting a new one this Christmas, I had to include it on the list because of its sheer awesomeness. There are numerous 3D pens available on Amazon; I’ve linked one that we particularly like. The concept is fascinating – it uses different colored wires made of wax, melts them through the pen, allowing your kids to draw anything they can imagine. The best part? It hardens into that shape! 

Frankie’s creativity knows no bounds with the 3D pen! She’s crafted tons of dollhouse furniture, cars, and a myriad of other creations. We’ve had ours for years, and it’s a blast. Just a heads up, though – it’s best to supervise younger kids while they’re using it. While it might not be the most travel-friendly option for shorter trips, it could be perfect for longer stays in an Airbnb, ensuring the kids have plenty of engaging activities.

#6 – LCD Writing Tablet

Number six on my list are these fantastic LCD writing tablets. Priced at around $20, they come with a small flat battery, similar to those used in garage door openers. Picture this as an endless canvas for writing or drawing—no more need for pen and paper. I always carry these tablets for the girls to scribble on. It’s like a high-tech Etch A Sketch but way better. These tablets are compact, about the size of an iPad, but offer the entire surface for writing or drawing. You can play tic-tac-toe and many other games. After use, just hit the button, and it’s a clean slate. The girls love drawing and coloring on them. These tablets easily fit in my purse, their go bag, or the car’s side pocket, ready to be used anytime. I’m super excited about these for Christmas!

#7 – Moleskin Smart Writer

Number seven on my list is the Moleskine Smart Writer, and it’s definitely not for the kiddos unless you have older ones. This is super cool! You know the Moleskine notebooks—thin, tightly bound, either blank or lined? Well, they’ve upgraded with the Smart Writer version. It comes with a smart pen that connects to an app. You literally write with the pen on paper in the Moleskine booklet, and simultaneously, it sketches and draws in the app. You can then turn your creations into PDFs or JPEGs and keep them indefinitely. If, like me, you love taking handwritten notes and are tired of snapping crummy pictures of them, this is the solution. It’s perfect for those who enjoy real drawing and sketching, not just note-taking. The possibilities are endless!

#8 – Ember Mug

Number eight on my list is the Ember Mug. You might already have one, or you’ve got a knockoff version. This coffee mug sits on a heating element, ensuring your coffee stays warm indefinitely. I’ve heard from many people that it’s super helpful, and I think it will be for my husband also. However, there are also some funny stories from people who admit they often forget to put it on the coaster-like heating element, so it doesn’t always keep their coffee warm. If you’re a coffee lover or know someone who is, this could be a great addition. Check it out!

#9 – Simple Modern Cups

Number nine brings us to Simple Modern Cups, and dare I say they might be a sleeker alternative to the classic Stanley’s. They come in various designs, and I personally find them less gaudy. The options are diverse, from tumblers to water bottles with flip straws and chug lids. My favorite is the cheetah print, available in a wide range of colors. With over 30 color options, these cups make fantastic teacher gifts and stocking stuffers. They even offer options for sports teams. Remember, with Black Friday around the corner, it’s a perfect time to shop for these items.

#10 – Go Aro Phone Box

At number 10, we have the Go Aro Phone Box. If you’re unfamiliar with this, I actually did an episode with the founders and creators of Go Aro. It’s a beautifully designed box or caddy with a lid, essentially a charging station for your cell phones that seamlessly connects to an app. While the box itself is free, you pay for a monthly subscription on the app, which monitors your family’s phone usage. It tracks the time spent off the phone, fostering intentional moments in your family. If you’re grappling with creating meaningful connections amid smartphone distractions, this could be the perfect gift for your family.

#11 – Meemzy Magic Sensory Kits

Moving on to number 11, we have the Meemzy Magic Sensory Kits. After testing these kits, I fell in love with them, and learning more about the founder’s story only deepened that connection. These kits are not only visually stunning but provide hours of engaging play for younger kids. Even my 11 and 6 year-old girls were captivated, spending extended periods playing with them repeatedly.

These kits are packaged in the cutest, reusable boxes with dividers inside. Each kit includes wooden animals or dolls, various play doughs, and sensory elements, all centered around a specific theme. Priced at just $35, they are incredibly affordable. You also have the option to subscribe and receive a new kit every month. What sets Meemzy apart is their unique buyback program. After your kids have enjoyed the kit, you can return it for a small fee, and Meemzy will buy it back, donating the kits to others. It’s a fantastic initiative that adds an extra layer of value to these already incredible sensory kits.

#12 – YOTO

Number 12 introduces the Yoto, a favorite of my kids. Similar to Tony boxes from Target, Yotos are, in my opinion, superior. They provide a completely screen-free experience for your children to enjoy music and stories. You simply insert a card into the box, each featuring a specific story or music. This means every story your kids love from books can be enjoyed with the added fun of following along. Yotos offer a diverse range of music options and even include a playful radio station. The Yoto player is compact and fits in your hands, coming in mini versions for on-the-go entertainment in the car.

It’s worth noting that Yoto offers blank cards allowing you to record personalized messages or songs for your kids. For Christmas, I plan to record myself singing special songs for my girls to enjoy whenever they like. Additionally, the Yoto features a clock on the front that doubles as an alarm. The associated app provides complete control and customization options tailored to your kids. The device also includes a helpful “okay to wake” green light feature.

#13 – Canopy Shower Head

Number 13 on the list is a special treat for moms like me who appreciate a crunchy lifestyle. It’s the Canopy Showerhead. Beyond its stylish design, it boasts effective filtration, removing various impurities. What excites me most is its diverse shower settings, combining both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

#14 – Sink Caddy by Magnolia

Coming in at number 14 is the magnificent stone sink caddy by Magnolia. It’s crafted with compartments for your dish and hand soap bottles. The caddy also features a unique section for your dishwashing brushes, all neatly connected with a drainage spout. The creative design even allows for repurposing as a planter, thanks to a convenient drain hole.

#15 – Ever Spring Brushes

Securing the 15th spot on the list are the remarkable brushes from Ever Spring, the perfect companions for your sink caddy. While not entirely crafted from bamboo, these brushes serve a dual purpose, functioning as both dish and bottle brushes. What sets them apart is their cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Though not entirely made of wood, the heads are replaceable. This unique feature means you won’t need to discard the entire brush when the bristles wear out. Simply twist off the old head and attach a new one, making it an eco-friendly choice. With this, Ever Spring offers both affordability and environmental responsibility, making them an ideal gift or personal choice for your kitchen needs.

#16 – Dish Rack by Dorai

Claiming the 16th spot on the list is the Dish Rack by Dorai Home, a game-changer in the world of sleek and efficient kitchen accessories. Designed for those who detest bulky dish drying racks, this innovative rack is crafted from diatomaceous earth, derived from crushed shells. The magic lies in its instant dry feature, eliminating the need for washing it. It’s a trifold marvel, offering flexibility to adjust its size to your liking. Whether you want a compact setup or a fully extended drying space, this dish rack delivers. Notably, Doria Home doesn’t stop at kitchen solutions; they’ve extended their brilliance to dog bowls and instant-dry dog mats.

Bonus: Cozy Blankets

The one thing that I forgot to put on here is my all time favorite blankets/ pajamas/ baby gifts. If you have a baby or you know somebody that’s about to have a baby, or you want the most incredible pajamas on the planet for the most incredible price on the planet or you want the most incredible blanket that you could literally use for anything.

The owner actually was local to Arizona and started the company to help pay for her infertility journey. She now is a mom and her company has blown up. I get these blankets for everyone that I know. And I actually found them in a local air b&b. They almost feel like a weighted blanket but they’re not that heavy but they have a density to them. But they’re cooling but yet warm at the same time. They’re soft to the touch with the cutest patterns.

Intentional Giving; Intentional Christmas

Gear up for the most intentional and epic shopping spree of your life this year. I’m eagerly awaiting to hear about your fantastic finds. Join our Facebook Community so you can share the different ways you find to make this an intentional Christmas with your intentional giving! Happy shopping!

Intentional Giving Thoughtful Ideas for a Joyful Holiday Season Chelsi Jo

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