Nothing lasts forever. I’m certainly guilty of buying and gifting the new plastic hotness. These things are fun for the moment, but wind up being a waste of space and money. Ideally, if you are giving someone something you want them to love and use it. Jewelry, cars, and furniture are generally the big ticket, go-to items for heirloom-grade gifts. But, you don’t have to break the bank if you want a gift with impact. Thoughtfulness is priceless. If you’re looking for a gift that retains its usefulness, never goes out of fashion, and lasts longer than a news cycle, then this is a list for you.
Notice I said, “plants,” and not flowers. Everyone loves receiving flowers, but (even if you diligently keep the water changed) cut flowers can only last for a few weeks, max. If you know your giftee has a green thumb, or is an aspiring plant head, then plants make a great gift. And even for those who have black thumbs, there are plants out there that are almost impossible to kill and require almost no maintenance. I’m not advocating passive aggressively giving a plant-hater a plant, but you do you. In this category, also find trees and bushes. Giving someone a lemon tree starter is literally a gift that bears fruit. Included in this heading of evergreen gifts are plant pots (planters) and plates. Ask any of your plant heads (if I keep using it, will it stick?) and they will tell you that nice pots can get expensive. A cool plant in a beautiful pot is a tableau that will keep you in your giftee’s thoughts. Bonus points if the pot is handmade! Thrift stores and estate sales are also a great source for pots. And you know how much we love a good DIY, one-of-a-kind, pot makeover moment.
Holiday Decorations and Ornaments:
No matter what holiday your giftee celebrates, thoughtful holiday decorations/ornaments are great gifts. Holiday stuff tends to get packed away, yes, but it also gets brought out year after year. Like with all of these gifts, the more personalized, the better. Holiday ornaments/decor are an especially great gift if the intended recipient has had a year of note: first home, wedding, etc.
I love giving and receiving hand towels (or tea towels). I’m not talking about fussy, non-useable, decorative towels. I’m talking ultra-absorbent, flour-sack cloth, hand towels. Great for drying hands and dishes, these aren’t your terry cloth, push water around, hand towels. These guys are the VIPs. I have hand towels that were given to me decades ago that are still in the regular rotation. Since you are just drying hands and clean things, hand towels are a long-lasting, practical/useful gift. There’s a reason why they keep showing up on our lists of good gifts.
I’ve been slowly replacing all my kitchen stuff (as needed) with more sustainable options. One of my favorite swaps are wooden utensils. Wooden utensils are heat-resistant, non-scratch, sustainably sourced, and free from turning into a melty, toxic goo. With less maintenance than a cast iron skillet, wooden utensils can be more than just functional, they can be works of art. Works of art that you can give as gifts. Much like dish/hand/tea towels, these are also gifts that are very on-hand and your giftee will be reminded of you regularly.
Between phones and Facebook, you are a walking perpetual calendar. But, I’m still a dinosaur that loves paper and writing by hand. Also called, “Celebration” or, “Birthday” calendars, perpetual calendars only track the day number, not the days of the week. Birthdays, special dates, anniversaries, all these can be tracked on a Celebration Calendar. I’ve also read of people using perpetual calendars as a wedding book idea.
Donations in Their Honor:
The answer to the question, what do you get someone who has everything? Shelves, yes. But, also donations in their honor. Whether this is a memorial brick in their town square, a bench in a public garden, or a check to Doctors Without Borders, the only people who don’t appreciate gifts in their honor (at the time) are children under five. Make sure to vet your charities; avoid donating to The Human Fund, for example.
As always, try and do all your gift shopping locally; support small businesses and artisans. Etsy.com and craft fairs are great places to find evergreen gifts. Where you spend your money matters. The money you spend and the people you can help with it make the gift all the more special. There is no substitute for thoughtfulness. Did I miss any? Have you received an evergreen gift? As always, let us know!