No one wants to have the reputation of giving “back of the closet” or “re-gift” presents. Quite the contrary, we all want to be the person known for their gift-giving expertise. But let’s face it – each year it gets harder to be creative and give something both meaningful and unique.
Not this year. This year, you’re going to be the talk of the gift-giving town because we have the perfect gift for anyone on your list: the gift of time.
Recently, we wrote about how researchers found that spending money on time-saving activities actually made people happier than spending money on material things. In other words, people have less stress and more positive feelings when they spend money in a way that gives them more free time. If we know that having more free time makes us happier and less stressed, why wouldn’t we want to share the wealth by gifting time to our loved ones as well?
The best ways to give our friends and family time is through leverage. In other words, we know that if something is being done by you, it can also be done by a system, technology, or another person. When we leverage the things that take up someone’s time, we give take those things off their plate. This gives them the capacity to spend more time on the things they want to do, not the things they have to do. Check out our favorite gift-giving ideas below:
#1: The gift of a spotless home
Cleaning a home is a time-consuming job. And there aren’t very many of us who find the act of mopping a floor or scrubbing a toilet to be a particularly enjoyable way to spend our time once the workday ends. This is where your gift can save the day. Consider purchasing a weekly, bi-weekly or even one-time deep cleaning for the person in your life who could really enjoy spending those three or four hours on a Saturday on themselves instead of tackling dirty floors.
#2: The gift of a pristine yard
Sure, we all love the great outdoors: grilling, gardening, dipping our toes in the pool. But there’s nothing enjoyable about our Home Owner’s Association’s telling us we need to tend to the jungle outside our door. If you know someone who wastes whole Sundays mowing, trimming, and edging – gift them with a lawn service. That way, they can spend their Sunday enjoying their yard with family and friends, instead of knee deep in weeds.
#3: The gift of a great meal
There are plenty of times we go out of our way to give people the gift of food, be it when a loved one is sick or there are new parents in your life. But let’s face it – who wouldn’t enjoy eating a meal that they don’t have to prepare, cook and clean-up afterward? There are multiple choices for gifting free time in the form of a meal, whether it’s by giving a gift certificate to a delivery service, chef-prepared meal or even a local restaurant. The gift of time may never be appreciated more than by the person that can sit with their family after eating rather than watching from afar while cleaning up a dirty kitchen.
#4: The gift of peace
Sometimes what a person could really use is as simple as some quality time. And this is an easy fix for a gift giving guru like yourself! A gift card or money designated for babysitting or eldercare goes a long way toward showing the loved ones in your life how much they deserve some time to themselves. If you aren’t sure if the recipient has a regular sitter, you could alternatively offer to take on the supervisory role for a few hours or even overnight so your loved one can experience the gift of a lazy morning. Just make sure to be proactive about setting up time to follow through on the gift so that your recipient doesn’t have to remind you about the help you gifted.
#5: The gift of all the little things
We all have things we need to get done but often find ourselves with too few hours to accomplish everything we want. Dry cleaning, grocery shopping or even taking Fido to the groomer for a trim — all of these things are necessary chores in our daily lives that often go undone when our lives get too busy. By gifting a few hours of an errand or personal assistant service, you can gift your loved one with the freedom to decide what tasks they can take off their own plate.
By choosing to wrap up and put a bow on a time-saving service this holiday season, we’re telling our loved ones we want them to be present for the activities that matter most to them. Each hour gifted is not just an hour saved from chores, but an hour gained for the ONE Thing they wish to pursue, which can positively influence their happiness and decrease their stress level. We don’t know about you, but to us, this sounds like the perfect way to get the Gift Giver of the Year award!
What unique ways have you given the gift of free time to others? Share your ideas on our Facebook page!