We’re starting to shop for the holidays now. But what is it that people really need?

Well, what do you need? What do you truly, deeply need this year? That is what you should give to someone else.

To me, the best gifts are the ones that:

  • fix a problem,
  • meet a need,
  • and tell people, “I pay attention to you.”


Here’s an example:

My mom loves freshly ground pepper. But she has arthritis in her hands. For several years, she was forced to use the awful pre-ground pepper because her hands couldn’t twist the round pepper grinder we had. And that broke my heart: Why should anyone be denied a simple pleasure for such a silly reason? So I searched and searched through dozens of pepper grinders, and finally found one in a shape that bent fingers could use. She cried when she saw it. And the sound of peppercorns being cracked has warmed my own heart ever since.

Did it cost a lot? No. Was it a fancy gift? No. Was it meaningful? Yes. It said, “I pay attention to you, saw a problem, and found a way to fix it.”


So with that in mind, here are some gift ideas for the people in your life:

Pay a bill. Babysit their kids. Do their errands. Send them to a spa. Fix the leak in their roof.

Write a referral for the job they’re trying to get.

Change their doorknobs to door handles to accommodate their arthritic hands.

Show the person that you see them. Show the people you love that you pay attention to who they are. That, after all, is one of the deepest human needs: to be seen.


If you’re in the market for some meaningful gifts for your loved ones, take a look at my gift guide.

Let people know you really thought of them this year.

That’s the whole point.

~ Jen



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