• Eloise Stewart + Kate Stewart

Meaningful Gift Giving

Gift giving … it can be special but it can also become stressful when you want to buy for many different people and you can’t think of something special or the perfect gift for each person.

I find SO much joy in finding meaningful gifts for others, then wrapping them, and then watching them open them. It is one of my favorite parts about birthdays and Christmas.

The joy you can share with others.

I don’t see it as consumerism (though it can become this). I see it as a way to foster a relationship. And it makes us realize how well we know someone as we try and find the perfect gift. I am convicted by this each year. Knowing I have not done a good enough job fostering relationships and knowing what is happening in others’ lives.

Kate and I put this blog post together not to add another Gift Guide to the internet but to help you gift in a meaningful way. To give you some practical tips, examples, and websites we find helpful as we practice meaningful gift giving this year.

Our first tip comes from my incredibly thoughtful and wise husband, Aaron.

When we first started dating in high school he thought I was a little crazy about how much I wanted to give gifts. Once he realized why I found it so meaningful, he worried he wouldn’t be a good gift giver (though he has always been amazing!)

So he started using the Notes App on his phone and recorded anytime I said I liked something, wanted something, needed something, etc. It could be as simple as new gloves or a bigger gift like the expensive mirror I had wanted for years.

TIP #1:

Keep a list on your phone throughout the year of anything you learn about someone.

That they love their dog. That they are really into a specific podcast or author. That they love a specific brand, store, or restaurant. That they love getting pedicures once a month. That they said they need or want something. Whatever it is, record it. Then when it is time to give, you are ready to buy and won’t be stressed about what to get them.

(This will also end up saving you money because you will buy intentionally and not just to buy)

TIP #2:

If you haven’t recorded anything, ask yourself 3 questions.

  1. What does the person do professionally and personally?

  2. What does the person talk about?

  3. What does the person enjoy or love?

TIP #3:

And if you are still stumped, have a conversation with your gift recipient.

After all, gift giving should foster relationships.

  1. How is school or work?

  2. What have you been up to outside of work/school? (Where do you go in your free time?)

  3. What are you loving lately? (movies, books, music, brands, podcasts, etc.)

TIP #4:

Once you have thought about your gift recipient, think about the type of gift to give. These are the 4 genres I give.

  1. Something to read or learn (book, subscription, lessons)

  2. Something to play with (toy, electronic, sports related, crafts, music related)

  3. Something to wear (clothes, shoes, or accessories)

  4. Something to do (restaurant, concert, show, exercise class, movies, event, workshop)

Now you are ready to shop, but where? Here are a few places we are shopping this year.

  1. Books and More: www.amazon.com

  2. Photo Gifts: www.artifactuprising.com

  3. Customized and Special Gifts: www.etsy.com

  4. Pretty Things: www.papersource.com

  5. Different and Unique Gifts: www.uncommongoods.com and www.thegrommet.com

  6. Quality Personalized Gifts: www.markandgraham.com

  7. Customized Items: www.thingsremembered.com

  8. Target, World Market, and TJ Maxx

And When You Need A Little Assistance, Purchase A Box!

  1. www.shopboxfox.com

  2. www.foxblossom.com

  3. www.greetabl.com

16 Different Types of People In Your Life

Now the fun part, Kate and I have found 16 different types of people that you may know in your life. We didn’t do The mom, The man, The girlfriend, The parent, etc. Because so many other people do those better on the World Wide Web (we love @chrislovesjulia Gift Guides)! We decided to create types based on what people are experiencing in life. Here are our 16 with examples, pictures and links. ENJOY!

Check out the Meaningful Gift Giving Board on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

And follow me on Pinterest (@eloisedesignco)


Personalized Stationery (by Eloise or order online)

One of our favorite Etsy Shops


1 Year Subscription to Amazon Prime

Eloise Career Services and Workbooks: You can purchase gift certificates for any of my one-on-one services. You can even customize what you give!

A Nice Bag to Replace the Backpack as They Enter the Industry:

The Dagne Dover Tote with Compartments

Reversible Tote from Target

Men’s Laptop Bag from Etsy

Low on $$$: Give a gift card to a local restaurant (We love the The Hound in Auburn) or a Gas gift card

Tired from the Semester: Get them a spa package or massage or pedicure

Homesick College Students: get them the Home Sick Brand candles from their home town



Higher end travel size soaps, lotions, and hair products that they would buy for themselves

Travel accessories or higher end travel size soaps, lotions, and hair products:

Travel Cord Organizer from UnCommon Goods:

Passport and Luggage Tag Set from Paper Source:

Customized Luggage Tags from Etsy:

Inflatable Neck Pillow Scarf from UnCommon Goods:


Customized Lunch Box with Monogram:

Lunch Box for a Man on Amazon:

Customized Lunch Box with a Tupperware on Amazon:

Healthy Snack Subscription Box:




A book with a custom note in the jacket: Because I have loved reading this year, I am giving books to my gal pals. I am picking them based on the season of life they are in this year and then writing them a note on the inside of the book cover.

I have really enjoyed Girl Wash Your Face (as seen in the picture). Check out our Meaningful Gift Giving Pinterest Board for more book lists.



A framed quote using Artifact Uprising: I love finding a quote, printing it off on my printer or at a local printer and then framing it in a pretty frame from Artifact Uprising. Inexpensive but thoughtful.

A customized (monogram or quote) gift related to something that they are trying to achieve

A great example is a customized pen for someone pursuing a degree or new career.


The Torro Charging Bracelet

1 Year Subscription to Amazon Prime

Blue Apron or Hello Fresh Package


Homebody Shirt

Personalized Stationery (Designed by Eloise or order online):

One of our favorite Etsy Shops



Toms Slippers

Pottery Barn Slippers


Hearth and Hand Candles by Magnolia (I love Cedar Magnolia)




Wine Subscription or Box (Look on Groupon.com for deals!)

Lapdesk to work or watch at home:

Lapdesk for Ipad or Tablet from Urban Outfitters

Lapdesk from Books A Million

Coffee Table Books from Anthropologie or Local Boutiques


Give them a date night: gift card AND free babysitting

If they can't leave the house, send them an UberEats gift card.


This is how I did our picture above: Take a picture of their new home, download the Sketch Master App, upload the picture to the app and pick your filter. Print off your new sketched photo and frame it! I love the frames from Target and Artifact Uprising!


Home Town or Alma Mater custom sketch from Etsy:

Homesick Candle to Remind them of Home:


Date Night Box

Photo Book Or Gift Certificate For Photo Book from Artifact Uprising: They have so many photos from their engagement and wedding - Artifact Uprising or Snap Fish gift certificate for a photo book or framed picture

Assorted Photo Gifts:




Ancestry or DNA Kits: