I’ve always been what I suppose you might call a thoughtful gift giver. I don’t see the point of dashing to the shops at the last minute and buying something that’ll ‘do’; I’d rather give nothing at all.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here, but I do know people for whom gift giving isn’t so much a joy and a process as it is a chore and a struggle. Each to their own, but that seems a shame to me.

There is so much joy in seeing someone’s face and knowing you totally nailed it. Obviously receiving is joyful too, and as my teacher would say ‘in truth giving and receiving are the same’, but I’ve always preferred the act of giving.

I nearly started a business a while back based around thoughtful gift giving. The intention was good but in practical terms it wouldn’t have worked, so I put the ideas I had into practice for my friends and family instead.

It’s not rocket science or anything. I just get a huge kick out of really thinking about a person and who they are, what they would love, what would make them feel ‘seen’, in modern parlance. And for the most part I’ve succeeded; people know me as ‘good at presents’.

Sometimes that means I make the gifts, sometimes I buy them, and I tend to pick things up throughout the year when I see them rather than waiting til a birthday or other event is coming up and freaking out in last minute panickness. In recent years I’ve really enjoyed putting together gift bags with several small things inside. An adult’s version of a stocking if you like!

So that’s what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks; slowly gathering small things here and there until I have a small pile of gifts for each person that say ‘I’ve thought about who you are and what you love and I created this to reflect that.’ {God, is it me or am I sounding incredibly worthy today!}

One of these things is a tiny heart painting I’ve done for my teacher’s bag; it’s very simple but I hope she’ll see the love that went into it. We had a conversation the other day about how she loves soft greens at the moment, and because all her teaching is fundamentally about love, of course there had to be a heart. So although it only measures 10 x 10cm, it’s bursting with significance!

Another thing I’ve learned from her is that we are not bound to keep the gifts we’re given. This is quite challenging in a way because if you spend time and effort thinking about what someone would love, you kind of feel they ‘ought’ to not only love it, but keep it forever and ever amen!

But by that rule you must also keep the gifts you don’t love too, and you know how crappy that can make you feel. So I give now knowing that the love and thought behind the gift are what will be absorbed and appreciated, and that the physical bunch of atoms that are the gift itself will end up wherever it most needs to be.