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karen allen

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Mindful Gift Giving

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

When you think back on all of the holidays and birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and other celebrations, what’s that gift that stands out in your memory?

Was it the most expensive gift you’ve ever received? I’m going to guess probably not.

In fact, I’m willing to bet the best gift you’ve ever received really stayed with you, not because of the cost, but because it made you feel really valued and loved.

When you received it, you just knew that the person who gave it to you took the time to think about what you would really want, what you needed, what would make your life easier or more peaceful, what would make you feel loved.

And I am absolutely sure that whatever gift they bought or made for you was incredible. But when you dig into it, what was really special about that gift was that the person took a mindful moment to think about you.

They made the time to stop, hold you in their heart, and figure out a gift that would be really meaningful to you.

That’s when a gift, no matter how big or small, brings real joy for another person. And that’s when gift giving stops feeling like a stressful chore. That’s when buying or making a gift feels so good, you almost can’t wait for the day you get to give it to them.

Because in that moment, they won’t just be unwrapping an object; they’ll be able to feel the time you took to focus on them and the love that you poured into that gift.

So here’s what I’m advocating this year…

Make mindfulness the theme for your gift giving this year.

Give gifts that help those around you be more present. Take time to reflect on what gifts would be truly meaningful for the people on your list. And think about what gifts would bring you joy to give—because chances are good, those are the special gifts that are truly from the heart.

If this shift in the way you think about gift-giving is causing you to pause and wonder, “where do I even start?”

Don’t worry! I would never leave you hanging, my friend. Never! I’ve got some suggestions to make your life easier!

Give the gift of peace.

Remember when I said to make mindfulness your theme this year? Find ways to give the gift of mindfulness to others. We ALL need a little bit of help when it comes to bringing ourselves into the present moment.

So think about the toolkit you draw from to practice mindfulness in your own life. How could you share those tools with the people on your list this year? Here are just a few ideas:

  • If you practice deep breathing, think about something like a mindful breathing necklace or buy some beautiful beads and make them a set of breathing beads. (I just love a handmade gift!)

  • If you journal, give a friend a beautiful notebook and a set of your favorite pens. I’ve actually got this beauty up in my new shop!

  • If you use guided meditation, think about buying them a subscription to something like Calm, Insight Timer Premium, or whatever service you like best!

  • If you use aromatherapy, buy some candles or soaps in a scent that you find really soothing or energizing. (By the way, both of those companies are doing beautiful things in the world—you can make mindfulness a part of your shopping habits too!)

Give the gift of quality time.

One of the biggest challenges in the past 18 months was missing all of the adventures and time we’d usually enjoy with people we loved. I think we learned so many important lessons when we had to slow down and just be still, but I also feel like we learned to really appreciate the activities we did that brought us together.

Gifts that encourage us to come back together will mean even more this year. Here are just a few ways you can give the gift of quality time:

  • Buy tickets (or even a family membership) to a local museum or zoo. They can use it over the holiday break or save it for a time when they want an adventure to reconnect.

  • Plan a date with a friend, something the two of you can enjoy together—that could be anything from pedicures and coffee to tickets to the local botanical gardens to an afternoon of pottery painting. (There’s even this cool concept I saw online where someone can set up a picnic for you!)

  • Find a class you can take together—find a local art studio, a cooking class, or even look into online options!

  • Give them all the fixings for a game night. Put together a package with your favorite board game, a Grubhub gift card, and some yummy snacks, and let them decide who they want to invite!

Give the gift of loving words.

Never underestimate the power of telling people how much you admire, respect, and love them. We sometimes move through life so quickly that we forget to just pause and express our appreciation for those connections.

Taking the time to put pen to paper and put words to our gratitude for the people in our lives might be one of the most beautiful gifts we can offer them. Here are some ways to share the love:

  • Write a letter to a family member that shares your happiest memory with them. (And include a photo if you can find one—those blasts from the past are always so special!)

  • Write a note to a coworker thanking them for the contributions they made to your team in 2021.

  • Buy them a copy of a book you found inspiring, enlightening, or just plain funny, and write a note on the inside cover telling them why you think they’ll love it too.

  • Use one of these Letters to my… kits, which are so wonderful and would make for such a meaningful gift.

  • Find a gift that will give them a daily reminder of how incredible they are—a sign to hang over their workspace (I’m kind of partial to this cute clock I have in the shop—every time they check the time, they’ll get a little boost of positive self-talk), a personal affirmation card deck, or even a homemade inspiration jar full of quotes, affirmations, and reminders of things you love about them.

I’m wishing you a season full of gift giving that fills your heart with joy and helps you feel close to the people who make your life magical.

P.S. If you’re looking for more ideas, my new shop is full of inspiring gifts that encourage self-care and mindfulness.


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If you still love a good read, welcome to my blog. My hope is that every article will give you at least one tid-bit to help you shape your life in the most beautiful way possible. 😊 WELCOME!

Hi, I'm Karen! 

Hi, I'm Karen.

I've made it my life's work to teach as many people as possible about synergistic trifecta of human potential and transformation: mindfulness, positive psychology, and neuroplasticity.


This fusion creates a holistic approach to personal growth, well-being, and resilience, empowering you to thrive, navigate life's complexities with grace, and tap into your fullest potential.

​​I've worked with companies such as Nissan, Golf Channel, Google, Universal Orlando Parks & Resorts, LG and many more. 

Whether I'm teaching from stage, in a conference room, or via Zoom, my #1 mission is to help as many people as possible tap into the power of their mindset and start living more fully. Because when you become better, you make the people around you better, and that's how you make the world a little better, too. 🌱 #BetterTogether

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