It’s here. The last shopping spree before the holiday.

Along with that familiar mix of panic, dread and annoyance.

You hate that this is hanging over you, that you didn’t sort it sooner. You’re irritated with gift-giving expectations in general. You may even be annoyed with the people still on your list – just for being hard to find gifts for.

And the last thing you want is to spend your beautiful weekend pushing your way through stores, eyes darting around, impatient, in a hurry, irritated that this is what gift giving has become.

Not to mention that 99% of the time those last-minute gifts end up feeling like, well – last-minute gifts. You sink in way too much cash, and somehow it’s always kind of clear that they were just an afterthought.

So what if you could pull off the right gift – without doing any online or offline shopping?

And what if this gift had the power to surprise them, touch them, inspire them, and even shift the course of their lives?

You can indeed do this – and it will also benefit you. So much better than the frazzle of a dive in the last-minute gift shopping mosh pit.

But first, suspend all eyeball rolling or thinking, “This is just a lame letter. They’ll think I’m cheap or lazy or unimaginative.”

This is not just a letter. If you do it right – and put the heart and mind muscle into it – then what you give them will blow them out of the water.

It’s an easy 3-part process.

First: the list.
Take out an ordinary pen and ordinary paper. No, you don’t need gold leaf or glitter. That will likely just distract you from what this is really about. Keep it simple.

Write down everyone you still need gifts for. Maybe there are 5, maybe 10, maybe just one. This will take you no longer than it would have taken you to cruise around online or plough through the stores to find a mediocre this-will-have-to-do gift.

Then: the mindset.
Go person by person. Bring each one to mind, slowly. Really take the time. That’s part of the gift.

Think of them, their whole life, what they want, their beautiful qualities, their hopes for the new year, their personal struggles, the things they wish were different, the things that have gone well for them.

Imagine them thriving in 2019 – joyful, calm, successful, confident.

This is absolutely therapeutic for you, too, since filling our minds with love – rejoicing for others, wishing them well, hoping they flourish – has a powerful impact.

It strengthens and expands our hearts and clears away years of resentment, disappointment and a lot of other things that drain our energy and cramp our style.

Finally: the words.
While you still have this person in mind and heart, write them a note that resembles what you’ve just brought to mind. If that’s hard, here’s a start – you can inject your own special sauce:

Dear [   ❤︎   ]  

I’ve just had a good long think about your life, about who you are, all you do for others, your wonderful qualities.

I decided to spend time in your honor in this way, instead of running around and trying to come up with a gift that you don’t already have, one that will bring you real joy.

So this is something that I hope will fill you not only right now, but also in the months to come.

First, I just want to say how much I appreciate having you in my life. You are [ ] and [ ] and [             ].

I know it’s been a challenging year, with [health issue? loss? frustrating situation?] I also know it has strengthened you in ways you don’t even know.

I want so much for this new year to bring you [ ] and [ ] and [ ]. Please know that it really can. That anything is possible. Things can shift quickly. Doors open. Lights go on.

So what I want to give you this year is my presence, my love, my belief in your ability to thrive, to express all your beautiful qualities, to feel great about 2019.

To cash in on it, all you need to do is know that I am here on the other end of the conversation. I am available. I would be delighted to listen when things get tricky and to celebrate when things are great.

And even if you don’t cash in, I’ll still be here, thinking of you, rooting for you, believing in you, high-fiving you, admiring you.

Forever a huge fan.

[ ❤︎ ]

A final note to perfectionists.
Don’t doubt the power of this. Don’t start and then think, “Oh, this is stupid.” Just believe in the power of this exercise.

And you can keep it no frills. Put it in any old envelope and write their name on it. With love. The gold is in the words, not the pen.

Not only will they treasure this – it will also be a balsam for your relationship. It will stay with both of you for years to come.

And don’t forget: people never remember what you gave them; they remember how it made them feel.


  • Sonja Shahan

    Healthy Mindset Coach

    Sonja Shahan helps women shake free from stress, worry, lifetimes of unhealthy habits and the junk in the mental trunk that keeps them from being their natural calm, wise, loving selves. //  She has an East-meets-West approach that pools techniques from years of studying and practicing western psychotherapy, NLP, neuroplasticity, Buddhist psychology and addiction recovery. //  Her online hub is You can sign up there for soul-soothing, mind-shifting, heart-opening words, videos, audios and practical pointers.