It’s still a while until Christmas, but I’ve already received questions about ‘minimalist gifts’. How do you handle gift-giving when you’re striving for a more simple and minimalist home? The stores are already decorated, the shopping has begun, and the candy-cane flavoured lattes are available…
The time leading up to Christmas can become stressful and hurried. As the shopping season approaches everyone rushes to buy more. We know that stuff won’t make us happy, but how do we go about changing gift-giving while still expressing love to the people around us?
Maybe you want to reduce the clutter and move away from physical gifts this year. Or perhaps you’re looking for what to buy the minimalist in your life. Use these points as suggestions for gift ideas, and move towards spending more time with the people you love and less time worrying about what to buy.
1. Be gracious and say thank you.
If practicing minimalism is new to you, then accept gifts graciously and thank the person. Getting other people to understand your desire for less ‘stuff’ is something that could take a long time. Or maybe some people will never understand, and you have to accept it and know that’s okay. Try to find suggestions or creative alternatives for the future. You can control your own actions or reactions. If you try to control others, then it will only cause frustration.
2. Speak up ahead of time.
When a birthday or Christmas is coming up, then you could try broaching the subject of gift giving ahead of time. Make your priorities clear and gently explain that you are trying to reduce the amount of stuff in your life. Sometimes it helps to have some options or alternatives for the people who really want to get you something. Let them know about something that you actually do need, or the things you really appreciate.
3. Gift exchanges.
There have been a few years where my extended family decided to do a gift exchange (or Secret Santa) instead of buying gifts for everyone. We put everyone’s name in a hat and pulled names, and then bought one gift for the person whose name we picked. This way everyone only bought one thing, and only received one gift. We still got to exchange gifts on Christmas day without having too much.
4. Giving experiences.
My husband and I rarely give gifts to each other for Christmas or our anniversary. Instead we find experiences to give each other. This has been everything from a simple date-night in, a date out to see a movie or go to a museum, a weekend away together, or even a bigger trip to somewhere warm and sunny! In the past we’ve offered to take our family out to dinner instead of buying gifts for everyone.
5. Spending time together.
I’m a quality time person. Not just spending time- but QUALITY time. I love going out for coffee with a friend, going for a walk with someone, having heart to hearts. (While always remembering the value of wholesome conversation and these 3 guidelines to stick by: is the conversation true, necessary, and edifying? Have meaningful conversations.) Sometimes you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have an experience as a gift; go for a walk somewhere new, or find a new cafe to buy a coffee and chat.
6. Giving consumables.
This could be food, wine, a favourite treat, or something you can share. You can still be thoughtful by getting a treat they love, or by making something homemade to share.
7. Give your talents.
Do you have a special talent? Do you like gardening, cooking, or fixing things? Can you play an instrument or offer to play someone’s favourite game? Find a way to give of your time and talents to make other people happy. Make sure that it’s not a vague promise, but schedule a specific time to give this ‘gift’ from you.
If you have more ideas or comments, please send me a message or join our facebook group. Use some of these suggestions for minimalist gifts and move towards having less stuff and more life. Slow down, live intentionally, enjoy the season, and focus on the people you love rather than the stuff you buy.
Read this next post for tips on how to strive for a more minimalist Christmas, and some gift ideas for kids.