Esquire's Guide to The Finer Points of Giving

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They say that a gift is as much a reflection of the giver as the receiver, and no other time puts your brand of generosity to the test than Christmas.

'Tis the season when all lines lead to the malls, and idle moments turn into instant causes for reunions. Time, it seems, is never enough to score that perfectly selected present, particularly for your better half.

And so we risk coming up with a gift of thoughtless extravagance, a cheap Christmas cliché, or worse, turn up as the empty-handed Scrooge. To avert these incoming yuletide disasters, Esquire comes up with a holiday gift-giving guide for your significant other that not only clears your Christmas shopping list, but your gift-giving conscience as well.



"A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer."

-Lucius Anneus Seneca

While the phrase, 'it's the thought that counts' still is the oldest rule in the gifting book, perhaps it's time to do an update that matches the shifting manners in consumerism.

By enabling fair-trade practices, being more conscious of finite resources, and empowering social enterprises, your presents can help ease the reputation of the most capitalist holiday, and earn you a merit as a more mindful giver. 



"Society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future."

-Albert Camus

However, should you have plenty of time in your hands this season (indeed, a phenomenon) one can easily be tempted in heeding the hipster call of the D.I.Y. An idle mind is the devil's playground after all, and it is an easy downhill to turn your individualist flourish into one creative mess.


Yet there are plenty of ways to wear your unique, anti-establishment heart in your holiday sleeve, by turning into handmade, small-batch presents that equally evoke your artful touch as well as your grandiose benevolence. Simply opt to handpick and hand-wrap them to add that personal touch.



"Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection."


When it comes to gifting ease that everyone would appreciate, nothing beats food stuff as the ultimate stocking stuffer. But just like booking the best restaurant for your dinner dates, this too comes with plenty of adulting decisions.

Dining convictions and dietary restrictions could be in the way of the once-favored Christmas delicacies, so don't be surprised if that box of fruitcake, twice-smoked holiday ham, or gourmet baskets come under-appreciated this year. To be in the safe side, choose the more wholesome vegan or superfood versions of your beloved's favorite munchies. Who knows, they could even spark a healthier, more worthwhile New Year's resolution?



"The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value."

-Charles Dudley Warner

Nothing beats a Christmas gift that one can utilize way after the holiday frenzy is over. But this practical approach to generosity can also encourage mundane—even mediocre—gifting strategies. 

Fortunately, this slippery slope can easily be avoided. By taking one's personal passions, lifestyles, or predilections into thoughtful consideration, you can turn everyday items into essentials, earning you extra 'pogi' points whenever they take to using them.

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"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well."


Time is gold, and no amount of gold can buy us time, such is life's paradox. But it is obviously unwise (though possible) to scrimp on both when picking presents, unless the Grinch is your gift-giving motivation.

So in the natural scale of things, those who lack time should take on the more opulent route this season. Luxury may not come wrapped in a shiny gilt label, but in things lovingly created, specially curated, and elegantly understated. It should cost more, sure, but atoning for your guilt as a Christmas cheapskate should prove more costly.

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John Magsaysay
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