Holiday Gift Giving


In this week’s episode, unwrap the art of gift-giving with timeless and thoughtful gifts.

On each episode, we ask our guests about their favorite item and it’s always something we don’t expect: something useful, that has heritage and history or tells a story.

Something that goes beyond its monetary value. 

In the episode, we share our tips for how to approach the season with intention and joy, and create lasting memories through gifts that are both timeless and thoughtful.


Thank you for being a member of our podcast community.

Your support inspires our passion for timeless design and craftsmanship, and the stories behind it.






Machine-generated Audio Transcript


Logan Rackliff (00:00):

Welcome to the Slow Goods Podcast, where we love to talk all about Maine quality, craftsmanship and timeless design and how these three things often intersect. Along the way, we'll hear some inspiring and authentic stories and if we have ears to hear, gain some wisdom as well. The topic today is approaching the holidays with mindful spending habits, and we like timeless things here, but we do live in a seasonal life, seasonal culture, so we thought it'd be neat just to talk about that, how to approach things with mindful spending habits for the holidays. To be clear, first of all, I'm not Hannah. My wife does a lot of our holiday shopping and she does a great job because she really care. She listens to people. If she spent one or two days or one or two conversations with somebody, she just picks up on all these things and can just get them great gifts immediately. So she's always done a great job. So it's mostly she does a lot of that, but of course I've done some and I need to get her gifts. But this is a very spirited in what I would say, an idyllic world or an idyllic sense of, well, everything we talk about here on slow goods, quality, timeless design, things like that.

So the first thing I wanted to talk about, thinking about starting out would be to have a budget. Have a budget. Mine, it's like, well, Logan, I don't budget anything or maybe a budget something. I don't like budgets. Hannah and I never did budgets for a long time, and we're getting more and more into it, and I can tell you right now that it brings order out of chaos and much more peace to your life. If it's just setting a number for everybody you're going to spend for. Maybe you want to get deeper into the budget and say, well, I want this much for this person, this much for this person, but you got to start with somewhere. What you don't want to do is be running around feeling just crazy and you want to get everybody the perfect gift and they're all, well, what I tend to do, I don't want everybody else, I just lean spending more.

If I want to get something nice, it's always like half again as much as I thought I was going to spend. Then all of a sudden it's like, wow, I spent a lot, I was not prepared for that and now I don't feel good. And the truth is, if you made a budget and a plan, you'd probably get better items and you were very intentional and would feel much better about the whole thing. And I bet the people would even be, you'd get better gifts that they would enjoy more. That's what I've seen a few gifts when I get things or I've seen people do that.

So that is kind of tip or rule number one, I would say just go into it with a budget. It doesn't have to be super planned, but here's the number and like I said, if you want to go person to person, person, then that's up to you or however you want to attack that. But don't just go in open pocket book. That's a recipe for disaster on so many levels. Could be, I mean financial things, I think they say I'm not an expert, but that's the number one thing. Even in marriages that there's the most conflict, any kind of relationship, and we all know how it feels when we overspent. It doesn't feel good. It isn't good, it's not peaceful. So go with the budget.

So budget not only your money, but budget your time. Think about your time. It's so neat that we have the internet and there's so many things out there that we feel like we can get. Possibility is endless and I'm thankful for it in many ways, but another ways every time so many times now when I go to look for something, I just feel like I'm lost. There's just so much out there, so many reviews and you think there's something better. Then you spend all this time and you get it and it's not what you think it is. You didn't see it in person, pick it up and feel it and touch it.

So maybe don't do hardcore time budget, but just think, I'm going to spend two days shopping in person, try to get all my gifts, let's say something like that. And then for the things people, I can't find anything. Then I'll go online and I won't stay up past whatever, 11 o'clock looking online for stuff. I won't just binge and just obsess and look at every item on the planet on the internet, trying to find something for somebody. I mean you're less sleep screen time. They know on every level is not healthy for you basically at this point. And the more, the worse it is, the later at night, the worse it is. And I dunno about everybody else, but man, when I just do a lot of that, I just feel like I've just wasted a lot of time and I feel chaotic. So just think about your time. I mean that's just set some parameters, some borders. I'm not going to spend more than a half hour three times a week looking at stuff online for Christmas presents or something like that. And I'm not going to spend more than two weeks doing it. I'm going to do this three times and then I'm going to make a decision or something like that.

Yeah, just don't let your time with your family. All these things can affect your family, your health, everything else. We want to bring order and peace and fulfillment. We don't want chaos and feeling strung out. So those are the ways to do it. So then how do we find by doing these things, how do we find great gifts, great items for people that make them feel like we really care? Not that we love them, but that they feel appreciated and listened to, that we really care. So I mean I think I'm just stating all the obvious things here, but just really pay attention to listen to them throughout the year. A lot of us, I can just think of my, there's a lot of family that I might get gifts where I don't talk with them a lot throughout the year. Maybe if my mom or dad, I grew up with 'em, I know them pretty well.

Also, a lot of mom and dads or just adults in general, they can be tricky for here in America, if they make pretty decent money and if they generally have most everything they need and that they want to have if they want it, they have kind of gotten it by now. So they're very hard to buy for. So how do you get 'em something special? And we all have already, certainly all that we need to survive, but we already have so much stuff. How can we get one item that is actually going to maybe bring more joy into somebody's life or be practical that they can use and give them more, not just good feelings, but make their life less, let's just say chaos. Something that just maybe saves them time or makes things a little slicker or is dependable, but really, I mean especially with some people just really listen to people. And my wife is so good at that. I'm not as good working on getting better. But just picking up little things like you're a detective.

I mean crew number one. If anybody ever says, I like this, pay attention and take that in, you'll find their likes pretty quickly. And there's a lot of other phrases there. I love this. I like that mean this is all 1 0 1 stuff. But so when you have somewhat of a feel of what somebody might like or want, now we want to get something that is really meaningful. And I guess I've touched on that a little bit already, but something that is just like isn't just, oh yeah, this is great, thank you so much. And they pretend to love it and then never use it or yeah, they never use it. It goes downstairs or wherever it goes for three or four years until it goes out to a lawn sale or it gets thrown away or something.

The classic, I was listening to the show one time and somebody was, when people give art or something like that, the classic is that they don't put it up, they don't like the art, they hate it when they come over for dinner and they put it up type of thing. I always thought that was great and let people do that. It could be any item you never use, but somebody got it for you and they thought it was the best thing ever that you're really going to love and you don't love it all. You don't want anybody to see it. But anyway, try to get something meaningful, not just get stuff for stuff's sake, something that can help their lives. That means something that's intentional. Okay, now we've got some ideas, we've got a budget, so now we're going to go shopping hopefully in a store so we can see it, feel it, touch it.

And I mean there's some great, I'm not saying I don't do online shopping, especially some places that I love to shop because they curate and they get good stuff for the most part that I can trust. But online is definitely better. I mean, I'm sorry, in-store is definitely better. In-person is always better. You can just feel when something is, it might be the kind of category you like, oh, this is the item that's to fill this need or whatever it is. But you can feel, you should be able to feel when something's cheap. When I say cheap, put price aside, not they're going to feel lighter, they're going to feel looser.

I mean sometimes there's certain items you want as light as possible, but they're still strong and durable. But in general, quality is going to feel heavier. It will look nicer. It probably won't be quite as flashy depending on what you're getting, more timeless. You can just tell it's very intentional. Should have some warranty with it or just some kind of reputation or something along those lines. So now we're going to go shopping. So here's the big advice. I think almost like a light bulb moment for me just thinking about this podcast and what Hannah's always done. What we like to do is get somebody something. This is how I feel like this is the phrase you should have in your mind. Get somebody something that they otherwise would not spend themselves to get. If they usually buy $50 jeans or something, jeans is probably a poor example.

We're probably not going to buy people jeans, but if it was $50 jeans, if you could buy them a hundred dollars pair of jeans that they would just from a brand that they absolutely love, but they would never spend that with their budget and how they work, that would be really neat. Or if they're going to go buy a blanket and there's somebody that would buy a hundred dollars blanket with their budget and what they usually do. And if you could go buy them a $200 blanket or even whatever it is, it could be if you have a secret Santa thing that's for $50 and you could get somebody a really nice pen or some kind of notebook or if you're going to do any kind of notebook thing, I think that you got to lean a little more blank unless you just know the person how they would want to organize their life. But anyway, I mean just as if you kind of know the people you really want to just go up spend. When we buy gifts for people, for our team or in general, we want to get something for them that we pretty much know they will love will, most likely they would never buy the item themselves.

But yeah, and that's really cool to see when somebody gets that. I mean this is material things, this is stuff, this isn't what everybody, this isn't the be all end all of happiness, but you can say a lot to make people feel appreciated with a gift. And everybody has, I'm sure everybody knows about the love languages, they're all different ones and some of it there's five of them and one of them is gifts. Some people gifts are a bigger deal and maybe that's something to know too. Maybe you can work if you do know somebody's a love language, you could try to work that in there a little bit. But if somebody's just quality time, I don't know if writing them, Hey, we'll have a date on this time to go hike this mountain or something and really hiking, maybe that could be really great. I don't know, maybe that's something that otherwise you would've never done. That would mean a lot to that person. Maybe that is a good idea, but be careful on that if you think they're expecting a gift I guess.

But yeah, it doesn't have to be a material thing. You could really know the person and be creative, but be intentional. Yeah, and the idea of getting on that level of spending, of getting something that they would not normally spend that kind of money on. I think if you think of in size and quantity level down. But when it comes to brand reputation, quality, locality, story of products, level up, just go one or two notches more than maybe you would've spent or you think this person would've spent on this type of item. If they just would never buy, if they really like outdoor heritage gear or something like that, if they would normally buy, I don't want to put any brands down or anything, but let's just say Filson's a really nice outdoor heritage brand. It's like, I like Filson stuff.

Get 'em something from Filson if you can afford it, even if it's a smaller item, there's a million brands. That was just one example that's easy for me. So level up on the brand, level up on the quality. If the size is smaller, great, just get something nice. Don't try to get something big, something flashy, something that is just this certain thing that you think they're really going to, maybe you nailed the thing that they really are going to, but you bought a piece of crap. Something that it doesn't mean it was cheap to you. That was a lot of your hard earned money and you did it joyfully, but it just doesn't perform, it doesn't last, it just doesn't work out for that person. It creates more chaos in their lives and another thing in the landfill and it's just too bad. But I've seen too, especially with our team when we love to just get gifts around Christmas for our team, like a true gift and you can just tell they're like, wow, thank you.

This is really neat. And they appreciate it and they use it. So it's great to see. I'm not saying we've nailed all those. Maybe they brought stuff home and put it in their closet and never looked at it again. But hopefully that's how it went, that they took it home and used it and that's a good part of their life. So I hate to say this, but I dunno if I hate to say this, it's practical. I mean if all else fails, get 'em a gift card if you just can't figure it out. I hate the idea of giving money or cash, but if you're going to go somewhere like that, get a gift card because do the same concept like brand up reputation where if you think they like this type of stuff, they can shop at this type of place, get 'em a gift card that, I mean a lot of these places really span Macy's or whatever it is.

They have a lot of stuff and they have high-end brands to lower end brands or however you want to call that. But the best you can, it would be cool to find a more under the radar brand, not a huge brand to get 'em a gift card too that is more curated for what they like, but they carries really nice things. So get 'em a gift card to one of those types of places, maybe someplace maybe they don't even know 'em that they never would've shopped of at before, but at a brand that they really love, maybe don't even know about, but it's a category they love and they would just be really, really excited to be able to get something there.

So we've kind of put your budget in mind for all our spending for the year. We maybe even did that more person base and we kind of set some borders around how much time we're going to spend and we've listened to the people the best we can. Took mental notes, maybe even wrote them down and now we think we kind of know the area that they would like maybe some items we've chosen to go for quality and timeless design rather than size and quantity. And we've probably branded up like we've gone reputation, locality, story, whatever it is we've branded up and we're going to get things that last longer work better have a more timeless aesthetic, things like that.

Or maybe we couldn't quite figure it out, but we know where they would really like to shop and we've got 'em a gift card. The next thing would be presentation. So I'm not sure how everybody else is out there, but for me personally, a really nice box, which a lot of the nice brands have with a story or something like that when you open that, it's just, I don't know, it is part of the experience and it's awesome. It feels great with people that really do it well. It's like, wow, this is something. And it makes it feel much, the moment much more special. Your gift much more special. So hopefully they have a good box. But also how you wrap it.

For my wife Hannah, she loves presentation is almost bigger than the gift and it's, it's a really big deal and she loves presenting things beautifully to people. That's why she's so good at everything she does here and styling photo shoots and our aesthetics and doing things at the office and talking about trade show, all kinds of things. So presentation is big. So I never became a professional gift wrapper and I'm pretty sure if you asked Hannah, she would say she'd rather have it professionally wrapped or wrapped by somebody who really knows what they're doing rather than I do my half fast job. And you might have some people out there that would rather have see that you put the effort in. So I'm not saying I guess do hardcore one or the other, but give a nice presentation. If you did a gift card, then get a really nice card to go with it.

Have a great, and you can even make things more unique there with a really nice paper, really nice note. Maybe another small item that goes with it as they open it. Maybe that's your fancy pen or something. But that would be creative with a presentation. Make that part of the experience and make it beautiful. Make it timeless the best you can. If you're not good at it, use somebody that wherever you got it. That's great about shopping in stores during the holidays, a lot of times they'll wrap them for you and at the nice places they will have nice wrapping and thank you all you that do that. So definitely take them up on that. Pay for it if you need to. A lot of times it's just like a donation to some local charity. So part of that is definitely writing a nice little note would mean a lot.

I mean, when we think about we at the Rope company, we love all of our customers. We sell to a lot of brick and mortar stores and we want to let everybody know how much we appreciate them and would love to get everybody really nice gifts. But that can get kind weird and seem like you're bribing somebody. And also it is very expensive when you start talking about a lot of stores. So we want to be fair to everybody too. What we love to do, we don't always get everybody all the time, but we love to do handwritten notes, especially nowadays where everything is very impersonal. It's just emails and texts and zooms and everything else. I guess there's some different levels of personal there, but to take the time to hand write a nice note and all the effort to get the card, put it in there, that all takes a lot of time.

And that's not something we want to give up a lot here. And that's a very thing we want automatic nowadays. But to sit down and write a nice note, it doesn't even have to say a lot, but write a nice note and a nice card that says volumes. So I highly recommend you do that. I mean, whether it's super close family or somebody you hardly know, just something nice, how you appreciate them goes a long, long ways. And yeah, just make sure it's sincere. Yeah, just don't make it some kind of fluffy, whatever. Just make sure it's authentic, sincere, building them up if it's a lie or something like that. Just authentic, sincere.

Everybody has gifts and strengths and things that you can really point out that is good about them. And so find those things and encourage them and let 'em know what they mean to you. So yeah, there we have it. We want to have, I mean the holidays, we all have that cozy family being around the living room, fire, watching football or having nice meals, just a nice joyful time together. And a lot of times you hear that that's not how it is and there's tension. And then also getting all the guests for everybody. Everybody's running around and feeling chaotic and many times overspending. So let's try to make this just a peaceful orderly time for all of us. I mean, doing things ahead of time, obviously. Obviously you all know people that are a lot better at it than others. I've always been very last minute, but I've been getting better, making effort to get better at that all the time. And I have been.

Yeah, and we want to get things for people that if we're going to get something, I don't think it's all about stuff, but if we're going to do it, let's be really intentional about it. Let's get them something they otherwise would not get for themselves and that they can really use and that will work well for them and they'll appreciate something that'll be beautiful and helpful. And another thing I didn't want to talk about, I know during this time that with all these sales going on, a lot of people are just shopping for themselves to get good deals on things. And I want to say a couple things about that. I mean, that's fine. Take advantage to save money, be intentional about that. We need this whatever, washer, dryer, whatever it might be. I'm going to wait till this Black Friday or whatever the sale is going on to get this item.

Or maybe it's a high quality thing, something you've always wanted from this brand and this is their one big sale of the year. Awesome. Do that. But just take a little time just like this is what I'm going to spend. These are the few items. Don't just wait for Black Friday or whatever these are and just see whatever the deals are and just start clicking and buying. If you're going to go into some situation like that where you just want to see what the deals are and get the best deals can, I guess I just would not recommend that in general. But if you're going to do that, just I guess set a budget for it. If you're shopping for others or for yourself, just put limits on it.

I don't know how many deals, great deals I've gotten in my life and then I'm like, well, that was an awesome deal, but I really can't afford this. So it was not a good deal at all. The Black Friday, all these sales for the most part, not everything, but these are pretty much the items that everybody's trying to empty out for their year end just to turn over the new stuff for next year. This is all the stuff that, not everything, but just be aware of this, that the huge price drops, the more desperate they're to get rid of something means it probably means the least people liked it.

It could very easily mean lesser quality. For some reason people did not buy this when they're trying to get rid of it. That's the idea. They're trying to empty this stuff out. Nobody's selling. These are slow movers or we're going to, next year we're going to bring the new stuff in. It's very likely that it could be less quality. So just be very wary of that now, just because something was a 2023 item and there something new is coming in for 2024, but they're trying to empty out the 2023 items, that doesn't mean it's poor quality.

We have to do that. Sometimes we just made too much stock and we can only have so much stock and we're just like, Hey, we want the new stuff to come out and we just put some of our items on sale. It doesn't mean that the item is less quality. It might just mean basically it would just mean we forecasted too many. None of the stuff is going to make your life better. And if you overspend, it's definitely going to make it worse. So just be very careful of that and really try to make the holidays about others, not about yourself. And I need that reminder certainly. And so be thinking of me praying for me. But yeah, just really we want want everybody just to enjoy this holiday and do it with order and as much peace and as they can and enjoy the others around them. Try to make the others

Logan Rackliff (32:40):

Be intentional and just continue to go for quality. And I don't think you can miss. Thank you for listening to this episode. If you like what we are doing here at Slow Goods and want to see us grow, please support us by sharing with someone who may also enjoy it. We would also really appreciate your support by subscribing, following, liking, wherever you can find us on any of the platforms, whether it be anywhere you listen to a podcast or YouTube or Instagram or something like that. We'd love to hear from you what you really liked, how can we improve who you want us to interview? And we would just really appreciate any of that support and advice and encouragement. So thank you very much.




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