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Give with Intention: The Haus Guerin Guide to Wow-Factor Gift-Giving

For the last couple weeks, my inbox has been buzzing with retailer best-of-the best lists and influencer guides for this season of holiday shopping. Here are my takeaways :)

Shopping Guides are designed to be the best of the best. It is supposed to be the list to end all lists–everything your reader will ever need to know to absolutely beast gift giving. The never-ending barrage of deals, lists, guides and holiday "must-haves" have been anything but. Honestly, it has all felt a little, meh. Somewhere along the way, we have decided that algorithms and coupon sites know better than we do when it comes to securing thoughtful and well-intentioned gifts for our families and close friends. So I decided to bring my own ideas to the fore.

Aside from a people-pleasing habit that just won't quit, I am undeniably the stereotypical older sister that just knows what best. As promised here, Haus Guerin will be sharing some of our own favorites throughout the months of November and December that truly speak to making an impression for everyone on your list this holiday season. Keep reading to see this week's offering of my own holiday favorites!

The Psychology of the Box |

The American Psychological Association compares the reward activation of gift-giving to being akin to winning the lottery--your brain releases oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, signaling trust and connection. This natural "high" indicates that the act of gifting is just as much for you as it is for the chosen people on your lists. Much like looking good to feel good, knowing that your gift serves a purpose with its intended makes for a much better overall feeling of well-doing and being. Use these three important tips to guide your holiday shopping this season. Armed with these secrets, you are sure to knock it out of the park this year!


The Winning Ticket?

Don’t just take the internet's word for it. Have a finance friend that truly lives to come home and knit scarves over the long weekend? Buy them that merino-blend, indie-dyed wool that they won't buy for themselves. Can't figure out what to gift your allergic, itchy migraine-prone bestie? Might I suggest you skip the expensive new fragrance and delete the heavily scented candle you currently have in your cart that you're secretly dying to try and know that they will just love. Hot take: they won't!

Get the aesthetic-driven coffee drinker in your life this marble mug from Montana Labelle | 123.00

Randomly assigning gifts based solely on lists that find their way into your inbox or your own Instagram feed will likely fall flat. This is especially true considering that your social media feed's algorithm is uniquely suited to your own personal taste and style. Buying someone a gift that is more decidedly you than them is a surefire way to end up on the naughty list.

Additionally, dare not make assumptions about what someone would enjoy simply because it is trending. Although a published list to Santa would make shopping for the adults in your life much easier, there are ways to get to the heart of the gift without too much anguish. So what gives? How does it happen?

Another reminder: With all the deals and discounts, end-of-the-year savings means it's not the worst idea to buy a few things for home. Big savings from niche retailers and smaller owed businesses may translate to a dollar amount in savings that offsets shipping or freight cost on your larger pieces of furniture like dressers or chairs. Finishing a space with a holiday discount code may also mean finding a few more dollars in the budget for higher-end decor items like natural wool rugs or art.

Clockwise from top left| Inspired original works by Queen Amina 500.00 | Organic, live protea wreath available at Flamingo Estates | Curated vintage chairs, sources available via Haus Guerin consultation | Plinth stand tall dresser and natural wool rug available at Lulu and Georgia

The Secret to Nailing It--Every time!

This one sounds simple enough, but it's another important step that may prove more difficult in practice: Listen with both your ears and your eyes. When you gift with intention, you notice what people are saying they may be open to try through their actions. You begin to notice how people interact with the things they do already have and how that contributes to their overall happiness. Conversely, this may reveal a particular pain point they may be too busy to adequately address.

Here are a few important questions you could be asking yourself before adding any items to your cart for others:

  • How do they spend their free time? What do they prioritize as fun? This is particularly telling if they have very little overall time to themselves (think stay-at-home-moms or c-suite level executives). Are they more likely to pour themselves a drink and slip into a fluffy robe or head to the gym for a couple miles on a treadmill?

Need a boxed hostess gift that is elegantly packaged and delivers? Grab this Tablemates giftset | 83.00

  • What do they enjoy doing? Easy gift opportunities present themselves when the recipient has a clear hobby that they enjoy that requires materials or specialized tools.

  • Where do they travel for fun or what work item could they have that would facilitate them working less? What would they like to do more, given the opportunity? Does the person you are buying for often lament how much they need a new headset for travelling or how their last set of luggage fell apart on the carousel of their last flight? Listen for the clues!

Know someone that loves fresh flowers but never seems to have enough time or foresight to grab them? Gift the overworked flower-lower a flower subscription. With Urban Stems, you can choose the type, duration and frequency of the subscription to better suit the recipient and your wallet | deliveries as low as 55.00

By viewing gift-giving through the lens of the recipient, you are much more likely to purchase a gift that they will actually put to use. Here, your personal psychologies also influence how you gift. If you are the type to prioritize experiences but your recipient has a demanding home or work culture, a gift card for a massage may go unused for months.

While my thoughts on the matter ring hard and true, there will be outliers. My entire existence I have been known to fill a planner from day 1 to day 365 (or 366). While I don't tend to think of myself of one that is busy for the sake of being busy, I tend to have a fairly demanding schedule.

My gradual transition to becoming a hard nosed homebody means gifts that take me outside of my home hardly ever translate well. That said, I am a clear communicator about never leaving the house outside of requisite travel. Gift the planner and busy body of your life this Papier journal instead.

Bring it all Together

At the end of the long holiday, it truly is the thought that counts. Put a little extra effort into how you think about holiday gifting to ensure a premium gifting experience for everyone. Next week's gift guide will start with gifts for the home, so that you can build your Black Friday wish-lists well in advance of the holiday logistics of backlogged shipping!

See you there!


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