As the oft-heard holiday saying goes, “Giving is better than receiving.” But, let’s be honest, whoever came up with that probably didn’t have impossible-to-shop-for people on their gift lists. You know those people who say, “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.” Super. So then you spend the next week agonizing over the perfect gift for you.

In the event you’re stumped over what to give those loved ones making your Christmas shopping a guessing-game nightmare, take note of these meaningful ideas (proven so by scientific research) before settling for a generic gift card. Again.

Give a Donation

When someone says they don’t need anything, give to those who truly are in need instead. It’s a feel-good gift all around. According to a study published in the International Journal of Happiness and Development, people feel happier after giving a donation in a personalized manner (rather than anonymously). Make a donation in their name to whatever cause they’re most passionate about, whether it be The Humane Society for animal lovers, Defenders of Wildlife for wilderness seekers or POW (Protect Our Winters) for skiers and snowboarders, just to name a few.

Put Together the Ultimate Customized Gift

According to Live Science, research shows the trick to buying meaningful gifts is to never buy the same gift for two people on your list “even if those friends don’t know each other, would never compare the gifts and would both enjoy the same item.” One idea? Gift a HealthStation™—it’s creative, motivating and super personalized. Plus, you can’t put a price on a gift that helps someone stay around longer. For example, if you have a fitness buff on your list, get them a basket of SUPERFOOD PLUS POWDER and DEEP TISSUE OIL to soothe their sore muscles. Or, for the beauty fanatic, get them a tray with anti-aging vitamin C supplements and facial mists.

Give an Experience

While money may not buy happiness in the form of material possessions, research suggests it can buy happiness when it’s in experiential form. "Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods," Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, told Fast Company. "You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences." Instead of yet another cookbook, give your mom a cooking class; get your dad tickets to his favorite sport and take your sister to a concert instead of resorting to an iTunes gift card.

And when it comes to children, make the experience a shared one and put all distractions aside. Another study reported by The Washington Post found that quality over quantity is key, particularly for adolescents, who displayed less delinquent behavior when their parents were more engaged during their time together. So put down the smartphone, log off Facebook and go have some old-fashioned family fun together. That’s a gift that will have a big payoff down the road.

If you’re still looking for gift ideas, browse through the LivingHealthy gift guide for more unique ideas that are guaranteed to please.



  1. Live Science: 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Make Your Gifts Meaningful
  2. Fast Company: The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things
  3. The Washington Post: Making Time for Kids? Study Says Quality Trumps Quality