Giving should be a joyful experience for the giver and the receiver. It's not about how much money is spent, but how it is spent that makes the difference. Often, the best gifts are simple, perhaps hand-crafted and, more importantly, given from the heart. So, consider the intrinsic value rather than the material or fashionable worth of the gifts chosen for loved ones.

Let's take a look at some meaningful gift ideas:

Creativity is a special gift and crafting something distinctive from your own hands, whether it is a painting, poem, floral display or a traditional craft, makes a unique present that a loved one will cherish. If you haven't yet found your creative talent, then buy your gift from an artist or someone who specialises in hand-made crafts. Take a look on Better-Life-Choices for ideas!

Choose a gift that nurtures mind, body and spirit. Vouchers for a relaxing treat such as reflexology, shiatsu or Indian head massage are ideal. A gift basket filled with aromatherapy oils, natural body care, herbal supplements, or crystals is a thoughtful alternative.

If you've read a book that has inspired or helped you, don't keep it to yourself. Share it! Books that enhance well-being or provide guidance for personal growth make wonderful presents.

Organic Treats
A basket of organic produce makes a nurturing, wholesome and healthy gift. Make up your own gift basket. Support local organic farms and stores that sell organic products.

Create a Scrapbook
Memories are better than dreams and what better than to share those memories with family and friends by creating a scrapbook. This makes a beautiful, heart-felt gift, particularly for those who live far away. Fill the book with thoughts, family photos, pictures, poems and recollections of the year's events. A touching gift that costs no more than the time to put it together.

A Retreat Treat
For a special gift, treat a loved one to a day or weekend at a health spa or healing retreat for a well-deserved break to replenish mind, body and spirit.

Treat someone to a gift of experience – perhaps a course in yoga, Tai Chi, painting, pottery, piano playing, horse riding… Or buy someone a ticket to an art exhibition or museum.

Ethical Gifts
Be eco-friendly! Buy gifts made from recycled, reclaimed or natural materials or that utilise alternative energy sources. How about a solar powered radio or flashlight? What about a paper making kit?

Make gift-giving an enriching experience. Remember that it's the simple things that bring the most joy.

By Carol Anne Strange