Every holiday season, I put a lot of effort into my gift giving. There is something so special about giving a loved one the QUINTESSENTIAL gift that says, “I know you and love you.” As I scribbled a list of potential ideas for friends and family, I realized that a lot of gifts are more self-centered rather than community-centered: gift certificates for ME, new tech equipment for ME, or fashion for ME. I love all these things by the way, but how could my gifts encourage others to build relationships?

This put my creative brain to work and I came up with a few gift ideas that I think would inspire community, rather than distract from it. I hope this gives you a starting place as you begin to purchase or craft intentional gifts this holiday.

  1. Zoo or Museum membership

A membership to a local museum or zoo is a great way to encourage your loved one to get out into the community…and bring a friend to join. Plus, this is a gift that lasts for an entire year! Personally, I love taking my son to the zoo and having a membership allows me to go for hours or a quick picnic with a friend (and the zebras).

  1. Cookbook or Event Planning book

Food brings people to your table, either to enjoy your food or assist in the kitchen. I would start with: How to Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach. She writes about the rhythms and rituals of food and how it has changes the relationships in her life. The Life Giving Home Experience by Sally Clarkson is another resource for planning unforgettable community moments.

  1. Party Box

The monthly box subscriptions are so fun and there are some that are specific to hosting or partying. Whether you give a one-time box or a three-month subscription, it’s a gift that invites people together to celebrate life’s great milestones. I love that you can gift whatever the person may love most: a wine subscription, a foodie box, a paper goods box, but here are some party box ideas to get you started: Eselle’s Hostess Box, Mostess Box, and Gala Tuesday.

  1. Stationery set

Community with long-distance friends is hard but you can help make it easier by giving unique and gold-foiled greeting cards (it’s all about the shimmer). Maybe even add some stamps in the package so there aren’t excuses to not send some fun snail mail to their friends.

What are some other community-centered gift ideas that you can think of? Get creative, think outside the box, and take joy in the season of giving.