This article is part of Mochi’s Holiday 2022 issue, celebrating Asian representation in the immigrant family holiday experience, fantasy shows to binge-watch through the new year, and our traditional and unconventional gift guides. Check out the rest of our issue here! And if you like what you are reading, please support us by buying us a boba through Ko-fi.

Looking for the perfect gift for that picky friend or your anti-capitalist family member? Look no further. Instead of purchasing an item that risks a fate sitting unused in the corner of a room, check out our recommendations for non-materialistic gifts to offset some of the inevitable commercialism during the gift-giving season. Let’s decenter consumerism to focus on intentional gifts with meaning beyond material possession. 

There’s something for everyone, even for those whose love language isn’t gift-giving. By prioritizing homemade gifts, experiences, and deeper bonds, we’re honoring those who receive love through quality time, acts of service, and words of affirmation. Here is a gift guide to avoid completely succumbing to capitalism.

Reiki Therapy

In case you can’t afford long-term therapy as a gift, purchasing a Reiki healing session could be a more viable option. Reiki is a Japanese technique that directs universal energy into recipients to receive physical, mental, and emotional healing. Reiki can promote relaxation, ease stress and anxiety, help inner child healing, chakra balancing, cord cutting, and even manifestations. Reiki services range in duration and frequency, but you can purchase a one-time session so your gift recipient can check it out.

Day at the Arcade

Embrace your inner child! Treat you and your giftee to a day at the arcade. You may leave with a few prizes and definitely a new shared memory of a fun day.

Second-hand Book

Is your favorite book just sitting on your bookshelf collecting dust? You can give it a new life by giving it another read, annotating it along the way, and passing it to a beloved friend. Write a note detailing how you intentionally chose that as their gift or explain why you particularly enjoyed it. Insight into your inner world is the implicit gift, really. If you’re part of a friend group, everyone could contribute to this intimate book club. 

Plants or a Garden Starter Kit

Taking care of another living thing can be such a rewarding experience that goes beyond owning an inanimate object. With plants, unlike animals, the stakes are lowered since most plants can regrow even if they are neglected. Being a plant parent teaches you discipline and consistency while revealing the literal fruits of your labor if you’re patient. Plants provide a new hobby and companionship for your giftee while cleaning the surrounding air. Some easy plants to start out with are succulents, like aloe vera and tiny cacti, or herbs, such as basil and mint, which can be added fresh to kitchen concoctions.

Tarot or Palm Reading

Although tarot reading has become a popular hobby for many, this doesn’t make it any less laborious. Treat your person to a reading facilitated by yourself or a professional — or even both experiences. New combinations and interpretations are bound to come up!

Birth Chart Analysis Session

You can go the professional route by booking a session with your local astrologer or take the opportunity to study each other’s chart. Evaluate any stagnant perceptions you had of each other and address character evolutions you had in the other’s absence. 

Credit: cottonbro studio/Pexels

Set Up an Art Swap

Try to paint one of your favorite images or browse Pinterest for ideas. Set aside time to create art together, then gift each other the art you made! Hang it up in your home to have a constant reminder of the love you share.

Pay The Bill(s)

Money talks! Take a worry off your giftee’s plate by buying their groceries or contributing toward their tuition (if you can afford it). For someone who likes to watch media, buying a streaming subscription (e.g., Netflix, HBO Max) or contributing toward one could help them financially while still giving them a gift they already enjoy.

Contribute Toward a Passion

What’s a better way to demonstrate your investment in a relationship than by investing in someone as a person? Purchase a low-stakes digital course in something your friend, family member, or significant other has expressed interest in, or buy a class you can take together! 

Gift an Experience

Credit: Anthony Delanoix/Unsplash

Does your friend love live music? Art? Sports? Consider gifting a ticket or annual pass to an upcoming concert for an artist they love or their favorite museum so that they can have an experience they’ll never forget. A Groupon activity can work too. If you want to create or customize your own, plan an activity such as a road trip, hike, or picnic you can do together.

DIY Recipe Kit

Share a piece of your culture and heritage by putting together a do-it-yourself starter kit for a meal or dessert you enjoy. Provide the recipe and some or all of the ingredients they will need to get started making a tasty and educational memory. Feel free to even make it together so that you share the experience!

Donate in Honor or Remembrance of a Loved One

Consider making a lasting gift and impact toward a cause that’s near and dear to a friend or family member by donating to an organization in their honor. For example, if animal welfare is important to them, consider a donation to an animal shelter so that their gift can help animals in need. Donating to research related to advancing cures for cancer or other diseases can also be a way to remember a loved one who may have lost a fight, while sharing their memory in a positive light with others who may be fighting.

We hope you enjoy these recommendations and continue to build an anti-capitalist sensibility, even if it is just one small choice at a time. Did you have an amazing experience with gifting an experience-based gift? Share with us at

Cover credit: Anna Tarazevich/Pexels


  • Kelsey Tanouye is the Social Media Manager for Mochi Magazine and, in a nutshell, is bad with plants, semi-okay with people and best when in her element at a concert. Born and raised on Oahu (Hawaii), she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Linfield College, where she majored in mass communication and minored in business management, and now works full-time as a communications and marketing professional. As a Japanese-American, her work is driven by two main factors -- passion and heritage. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram to talk serious or send memes. Both are cool.

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  • Dorilyn Toledo, writer and copy editor for Mochi Mag, is a Guatemalan Filipina editor and educator from California. During their undergrad at UCI, they studied Political Science and Social Ecology, focusing on law/race and social behavior. They believe that you are what you love. In their case, it's riot grrrl music, healing reads, and bell hooks quotes.

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