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5 Ways To Turn Holiday Gift Giving Into A Gratitude Practice

These smart strategies will leave you, and everyone on your shopping list, feeling extra fulfilled. That’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Turn your shopping list into a gratitude list

Jotting down what you’re thankful for rewires your brain for happiness, experts have found. And so, when it comes to those you have to buy gifts for: “Write down what each person means to you in three words or what makes them unique as a person–or one memory you have of them that always puts a massive smile on your face,” says Nisa Bayindir, a consumer psychologist and behavioral scientist. When you give each person their present, such as a Starbucks Gift Card, which, who doesn’t love (hello, scrumptiousness), personalize it with a handwritten card that includes what you wrote down.

For example, mom and influencer Cristal Valdes knows that sharing gratitude with her personal heroes is something to be celebrated this holiday season. She shows her appreciation to those important to her, like her children’s’ teachers and her long-distance BFF, through Starbucks gift cards–paired with thoughtful notes for extra meaning.

Image by Starbucks

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Focus on the smaller players in your life

Image by Starbucks

Making an effort to show appreciation to those who support you in small but mighty ways is soul-nourishing. Maybe it’s a parent who chaperoned the class field trip and made sure your kiddo ate her lunch, or the kind receptionist at your fitness studio who always reserves your beloved spot in the corner. No need to overthink what to buy, either. A Starbucks Gift Card so they can enjoy all their faves, is more than enough to spread cheer this season.

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Say it out loud

When presenting someone with their present–a co-worker, a friend, a partner–say a few words about why you’re thankful for them. Recently published research1 revealed that not only does the practice of spoken gratitude make you feel good, it has a ripple effect and boosts the mood of everyone around you.

Lean into the spirit of togetherness

“When you shop for gifts, opt for things or experiences that you and your family and friends can use or do together. “That creates more anticipation and gratitude because the end product is endorsing positive emotions of togetherness,” says Bayindir. One idea: Surprise those on your “nice” list with a Starbucks Gift Card and in your card suggest a few dates for getting together over coffee for a feel-good bonus.

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Embrace slow gift giving

Making something for loved ones is a great way to experience gratitude, says Bayindir. It allows you to slow down and think of the person “meditatively,” she says. Going full DIY for everyone you need to buy for can be super time-consuming, though, so here’s your hack: Pair a small stocking stuffer with a homemade accompaniment, like a card. You’ll feel good–and the person on the receiving end will, too.

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