When gifting time, you can create beautiful memories with your loved ones, or free up their time from tasks that usually keep them busy. Here are some ‘gift of time’ ideas for that person who has it all. Many of us are lucky enough to have more stuff than we need — and for many, time is the most precious commodity. We can’t simply go out and buy more of it. This is why a gift of time is a great way to show someone you care.
Over the years, we collect massive amounts of things that we would have never purchased. In contrast, a gift of time — spending time with or for people — is much more valuable.
You are not only saving money and resources; you are giving your loved one something unique. How you want to gift your time is up to you, but the following ideas will help you get inspired.
How Do You Give the Gift of Time?
There are two main ways you can give a gift of time:
- Either, you gift quality time that your loved ones get to spend together with you. Whenever you make time for them to do something they enjoy, that is a gift of time.
- You can also decide to do something for them that is usually one of their tasks. This way, you free up some time in their lives that they can spend in any way they choose.
Cooking for someone that you don’t live with (so someone you don’t typically cook for, or that cooks for you), and at the same time having a quality conversation over a drink, for example, is a combination of both of these possibilities.
At Home: Ideas for Quality Time Gifts
- Babysitting: Friends who are parents will likely be extremely grateful for a little time together. You can make it happen by making it your gift of time to take care of their kids for an evening.
- Doing Chores: We all know how hard it is to fit housework into our busy schedules. Not everyone can afford hired help. So if you help out with someone’s housework, they will appreciate it.
- Giving Lessons: Has a friend ever said “you have got to show me how to do that!”? Then finally make time for that lesson! As a gift of time, teach your friends something that they always wanted to learn from you — like knitting, sewing, mending, crocheting, fixing a bicycle, building furniture, etc.
- Game Night: Does your family love board games? Give them a night of gaming!
- Movie Night: Any film lover will be happy if you allow them to show you all their favorites. Or maybe get inspired together by watching a new environmental documentary or any other kind of enjoyable film or series.
- Jam Sessions: If you and your partner or friend have a hobby in common, like playing music, learn a duet or try out piano pieces for four hands!
Ideas for Gifts of Time: Nature Lovers
- Picnic: A picnic in the park or at your family’s favorite spot in the woods could be a lovely gift of time for a nature lover.
- Bicycle Tour/ Hiking: Does your friend or partner love hiking or cycling? Then give them a voucher for a hike or a bicycle tour. The memories you’ll make together will not be as quickly forgotten as the twentieth scarf or thirtieth pair of socks.
- Dog-Sitting: Taking care of your friend’s dog for a day is a great way to give them time. Or maybe decide to walk the dog together for a week.
- Foraging for Herbs: If you know a lot about herbs or medicinal plants, a foraging trip through the forest is a wonderful way to spend time with someone you care about. Help your friends identify plants and show them how they can be used. End with a tasty liquor or a beautiful dish with edible flowers.
- Garden Work: Do you have a garden that you don’t have nearly enough time for? A thoughtful gift of time is a day of garden work together.
Spending Quality Time With Your Partner
- Cooking or Eating Together: Depending on whether your partner enjoys cooking or baking, why not surprise your partner with a recipe to try out together, or simply a candlelight dinner or breakfast in bed? These gifts of time are classics for a reason!
- Reading Aloud: Even something that seems so simple can be an engaging way to spend time together. Read an old favorite or discover a classic together.
- Photos: You could sort through old boxes of photos and put an album together. Or take a train ride into the countryside to make new memories and take new photos together!
- Renovate/Decorate: Paint the bedroom or declutter and redecorate! It’s more fun together. Photos during the activity or of the final outcome make for fun visual memories, too.
- Sharing Hobbies: Does your partner have a hobby you don’t usually share? A day of sharing their favorite free-time activity can be a nice surprise and a perfect way to spend quality time together.
- Massage: Just about everyone loves a good back massage. Light a few (homemade) candles and play some relaxing music, and you’ve got the perfect romantic gift of time.
Gift of Time Ideas for Children
- Playground Time: Your niece, nephew, godchild, or your own children would love to spend more time with you. Simply spend an afternoon with them at the playground or in the woods.
- Do an Activity: Children love it when you spend quality time with them. You could do arts and crafts, make your own playdough or bake oatmeal cookies.
- Storytime: Did you enjoy bedtime stories in your childhood? Your own children will remember them just as fondly.
- Go Swimming: Going swimming in the summer or building sandcastles on the beach — what could make kids happier than that?
How to Wrap a Gift of Time
You can present your gift simply but elegantly in the form of coupons, which you can make yourself or buy from a sustainable manufacturer. Or you could write your gift down on a piece of paper and put it in a glass jar. Check out our ideas for more sustainable gift-wrapping ideas to find something that suits you.
If you want to give more than one gift of time, you could write your vouchers on little pieces of rolled-up paper and put them in a nicely decorated box, ideally upcycled from something that has already been used or is reusable. Also, write down dates that you have set aside.
A picture frame is also a charming way to pack your gift of time. Decorate the frame yourself with natural materials, if you like. To that end, learn how to press and dry leaves, for example.
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