Gift giving

When it comes to gift giving, there can be pressure to spend a certain amount, or buy from particular stores to keep up with the Joneses. As the recipient, you can also end up with lots of things you don’t really want or need, but feel too guilty to give away.

The truth is, you don’t need to spend much, or anything at all, to show someone how much you care. To get you thinking outside the box, I’ve asked everyone I have interviewed, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received?” Here are their answers below – and mine too.

Gift giving can also be a wonderful opportunity to contribute to causes you or the recipient care about. Donations in lieu of gifts don’t create clutter around the house, and they can have a meaningful impact. Win – win!

A woman with brown hair wearing a white top is smiling

Erin Davidson (The Thrifty Philanthropist)

The best gift I have ever given was a rap song that I wrote for a workmate’s birthday. I got into work early, called their number, and sang the whole thing as a voicemail message. Watching their reaction while listening to it for the first time made my day as well as theirs!

The best gift I have ever received was my partner signing up as a regular donor to my philanthropic fund on my birthday.

A woman with red hair wearing a white shirt is smiling

Erin Rhoads

“My son. He is the best gift I have received. I know that sounds soppy! But I wanted to be a mother for so long.

“My favourite inanimate gift I have received recently was from my mum. She used scraps from my old teddy bears (look up the blog post on my website) to make a new teddy bear for my son. It’s very zero-waste and fun!”
Read Erin’s interview on zero waste

A woman with dreadlocks, wearing a blue shirt is smiling

Laura Baxter

“This one is obvious. The best gift we’ve ever given has been unconditional love. I don’t even know if it’s really a gift, it’s just natural. But how can you give a better gift than that to anyone? A house, a home, a family and unconditional love to a kid that needs it is the ultimate gift. You truly can’t beat it. And that experience in itself is its own gift back to you.”
Read Laura’s interview on foster care

A young girl is smiling

Abbie and Ruth Knight

Abbie (pictured) said the best gift she ever received was a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef. She recalls that most of the coral was out of the water and she learned about how important it is to help keep the coral alive. Abbie’s Mum, Ruth says, “We’re trying to understand it’s not just people we need to help, it’s the environment as well. So that was a pretty special trip.”
Read their interview on live crowdfunding

Chris Burnett

“I was teaching English in Thailand a few years ago and and when I was leaving all of the kids lined up to say goodbye. I was inundated with a bunch of gifts like football jumpers, a basketball, and even a banner full of photos of my time there. One little guy, about age six or seven, came up to me and handed me his eraser, insistent that I have it. That was a tear shed moment because these are kids that don’t have very much, living in rural Thailand. Out of all the gifts I received, that was the main one that struck a chord with me.”
Watch Chris’ interview on Melbourne SOUP

Amy Churchouse

“It’s just got to be help. It has never ever been a thing. It’s always been about being able to give someone what they need, when they need it.”
Watch Amy’s interview on Good Karma Networks

A woman with a red face and short curly hair is smiling

Carly Findlay

“Ooh I love presents. I love giving more than receiving. And I love giving unique handmade presents. I gave a friend a rolling pin that rolls a chicken print onto the pastry – a gift for being in our bridal party. He bakes a lot, but I am yet to see a chicken print biscuit! I must request one!”
Read Carly’s interview on appearance activism

A man is smiling, looking away from the camera

Abe Nouk

“A book. That’s the best gift we can both give and receive.” 
Read Abe’s interview on storytelling

Jenna Flood

“I love planting the seed of slow fashion someone’s thoughts. I like to get them thinking about how they can make a change, see that spark in their eyes when they get excited about finding a new initiative doing good or a new op shop score. That’s what makes me happy and I feel that it’s a gift I can give again and again.”
Read Jenna’s interview on slow fashion

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received? Please share your gift giving ideas in the comments.

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