Holiday Gift Planning with Verhanika of Whole Soul Lab


Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by the amount of Christmas stuff that seems

to sneak up the minute Labor Day happens. Seriously?, I think as I look up at the

inflatable Peanuts characters, bedecked with red hats, This is a bit overkill. But for

the most part I am beyond thrilled about the upcoming season.

Christmas is my favorite holiday by a landslide. I love all the decorations, the food,

the forced family time, and, most importantly, the presents.

I love giving and receiving presents, but often find the hardest part is dealing with

how much to spend and on whom. See, I often equate the amount of money I

spend on a person to the amount that I value someone. My husband and family

receive bigger, more expensive gifts; everyone else gets cute smaller things. My

mom is the one I usually spend the most on. I’ll find myself surrounded by gifts all

for her and start to mentally add up how much I spent. Yikes.

And the funny thing is that none of these people care at all about how much I spent

on them.

I could’ve sent them a card with a rock I found on a hike and they would be thrilled.

You know why? The gift was thoughtful.

The key to spending within your limits this holiday season is not about setting

a budget (although that helps), but making sure you are creating a gift that is

thoughtful and well intentioned.

Your sister, who loves One Direction (who doesn’t?) could be happy with tickets to a

concert or a binder with a collage of pictures of the band. Both are thoughtful, one is

significantly cheaper.

Or for your foodie best friend, you could get him a fancy copper cooking set or a

few small bottles of fancy oil and vinegar. Both are thoughtful, one is significantly


So, to fully engage with the thoughtfulness of your gift, you’ll actually have to put

some thought into it.

Try this process:

Sit down with a piece of paper and write down the names of everyone you need to

or want to buy gifts for.

Next to their name write a few words to describe that person and their interests. For

example, Julie I would describe as warm, sassy, loves good food, fashion, and kitties.

Then, brainstorm ideas for them. You can start big and get small or start small and

get big or start in the middle and go wherever. Just get a few ideas down. I like 7-10,

but there are no rules here so however many you feel like.

Then take a look at what you came up with, check out your budget and circle the gift

that seems most in line with what you want to give them and how much you have to


Ta-da! Thoughtful gift discovered.

Julie has a huge range of things that can easily become thoughtful and less expensive

gifts because they involve a degree of hand-crafting. Dig through her archives to find

some good ideas. My favorite this year will be making a chai tea blend that loved

ones can just throw into a pot with hot water and milk and have instant chai tea.

Hope this helps, and if you have any questions feel free to contact me through my

coaching business Whole Soul Lab at

About Julie

My name is Julieanna Bucior, but I go by Julie (unless I'm in trouble). I'm thirty one. I am a bookkeeper by day, rogue fashion designer/crafter/amateur baker by night. I spend most of my time feeling like a kindergartner trapped inside an adult's body. I love reading, hanging out with my crazy cats and being silly. I'm pretty much the girl next door, with a twist.