A gift guide for the good life (5 gift ideas for a happier holiday)

  • 4 min read

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

The holidays have become synonymous with excess — a bit too much food, a bit too much to drink, and a bit too much money spent on gifts “just because.”

But let’s hold up for a second. Gift giving can be a really great thing. It brings you closer to the people you love, and it’s been proven to make you, the gift-giver, happy too. 

A pair of dollar store socks may not be the gift your partner’s been dreaming of, but you also don’t have to spend your life savings to make them (and you) smile. The key to giving the perfect gift is finding something that will bring your loved one a prolonged sense of joy, and enrich their lives in a way they might not have expected.

Sounds like a tall order? Not really. 

We’ve pulled this gift guide together to help get you started.

Tickets to a concert, play or festival

If you want to make those you care about happier, psychologists advise you to gift experiences, rather than material objects. 

The excitement of opening a box of jewelry is fleeting. But experienced-based gifts give back in two ways. One, they encourage recipients to find joy within themselves — rather than relying on external sources for fulfillment. And two: it’s something to look forward to in the future.

Of course the music and arts sector has been badly hit by COVID, and many live music and theatre events have been postponed. But there are outdoor venues and/or more intimate, seated, and socially-distanced shows still going if you know where to look. Better still, some tours have been taken online, available as live streams — the perfect COVID-secure Christmas gift for the music lover in your life.

Bonus points if you buy a ticket for yourself at the same time, too. Sharing positive experiences makes the good stuff even more good for both parties. Happy Holidays to you!

Our top picks:

  • Check out Songkick. Their easy-to-use website lets you filter concerts and shows to your local area, right across the US. Click on the ‘Live Streams’ tab to browse a huge number of acts offering virtual concert experiences.

A gratitude journal

A daily gratitude practice has been proven time and time again to enrich our lives and make us happier and more fulfilled.

Journals that include gratitude prompts are a great way to ease into the habit. And, when given as a gift, can show that you really care about someone’s long-term health and happiness.

Our top picks:

  • The Five Minute Journal is one of the best gratitude journals out there. It includes a structured daily format that will help to boost your loved one’s happiness in just five minutes a day!
  • There’s also a ton of great gratitude journals available over on Etsy. Support independent makers this holiday season.
  • We make our own pocket Well Being Journal too! If you want to help support this project, buying a Heylow Well Being Journal is one way you can help. 

Book them a class or workshop

Building and creating by-hand is a fast-track to enhanced mental health and happiness. Plus, a hands-on class or workshop is the ideal tonic after a year spent staring at our screens.

There’s no shortage of classes to choose from: cooking, candle-making, brew schools, embroidery, at-home fermenting, the list goes on! There are also some great online classes and subscriptions that would make really thoughtful gifts, should social distancing continue into the new year.


Our top pick:

  • Platforms like Skillshare have thousands of classes available. Skillshare’s ‘Limited Membership’ acts a bit like a gift card, or sign them up for an annual pass if you’re feeling generous.

A gift for the home

We once knew a guy who bought his wife a new vacuum for Christmas. That’snot what we’re suggesting here. There’s plenty of stylish homeware gifts, hitting the sweet spot between utilitarian and fun to unwrap. 

You might also consider a temporary, experiential gift for the home like the tablescape rentals from Social Studies. One might plan a socially distant, remote holiday party, then gift a tablescape to each household you invite. This way, you can create a unique memorable experience that you share together even if you can’t share the same table. 

Don’t believe us? Check these out…

Our top picks:

Best of all, scientists have found that people really appreciate long-lasting presents that they use on a regular basis. It’s way better than some fancy-looking gift that’ll sit at the back of the closet.

Sign them up to the Good Life Journal

If you’re enjoying what we’re putting out there, why not share our message with your friends? 

A subscription to the Good Life Journal costs absolutely nothing. And it may just make their life (and yours) that little bit better.

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