As Thanksgiving draws near, many of us are starting to plan our Christmas shopping to maximize the deals that start popping up this time of year. The stress of finding the best gifts for your loved ones within your budget, not knowing what to get some people, worrying that they already have whatever you picked out, and hoping you chose well can drain the joy our of what should be a happy task.
At the end of the season, comes more stress. Not knowing where to place things in a home that’s probably already overstuffed, returning duplicate items, watching your child grow bored with that toy they just had to have within days of receiving it.
Let’s face it, gifts are kind of a pain in the ass!
(Especially when children are the recipients.
The problem with presents, it seems, is that they often ignore the importance of presence. We focus so much on the gifts, that we forget that the act of giving should be a gift in and of itself.
There’s also the issue of contributing to the matter of too much stuff.
I’ve recently completed a massive round of decluttering, and I find myself unable to answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?”
As usual, I fill up my list with things that I know I need, things I’d love to have but can’t justify buying for myself, and then…I wonder if I really need any of it at all. Entrenched in my own brand of half-assed minimalism, I’m not sure that I do. After all, things are humming along quite nicely with what I currently own!
Still, who doesn’t love getting gifts?
Taking a cue from my own journey with the concept of stuff, I am giving gifts on a much smaller scale this year. That is, smaller in size and monetary value, but bigger in meaning. I usually make the majority of the the gifts I give, but this time I’m thinking a little harder about what I chose for each person on my list. Taking the time to create or find useful items that are personal to the recipient is proving very fulfilling, and a fun challenge at that!
As far as the children are concerned, I am focusing on things that will either be used on a daily basis or will serve to grow their minds, rather than a bunch of piddly plastic items that will inevitably lose their luster and join the ever-growing mountain of forgotten toys.
Today, I wanted to share some great minimalist gift ideas that break the cycle of excess stuff.
Gifts that put experience over possessions:
- Gift certificates for a trip to the spa, a massage, a new tattoo, a salon or any other “frivolous” treat of that nature. We all need to take the time for a little self-care, but many of us are reluctant to get something like that for ourselves.
- Tickets for the movies, concerts, or other events. Experiences and memories are much more valuable than a trinket that will collect dust on a shelf!
- For children and families, passes to the zoo, science centers, museums, amusement parks, and other recreational activities are amazing gifts! Again, experiences and memories are priceless!
- Another great idea for children: a month’s fees of an activity they are enrolled in or have expressed an interest in. In a similar vein, are they in need of supplies for an activity they take part in? Things that will be used often make wonderful gifts!
- Pay a bill! Seriously, who wouldn’t want to worry about one less bill for a month? Gift cards to the grocery store are amazing too!
Looking for something that’s a physical item? How about something like this?
Physical gifts that emphasize emotional value:
- A book with a personalized note written inside. Perhaps a favorite of yours that you think they will love, or a book you know they adore. Maybe it’s a new one that just screamed their name. The choice is yours!
- Supplies for their favorite hobby. Hobbies can get expensive and it’s frustrating to put a project on hold because you’re in need of something. A painter can never have too much paint, a knitter can never have too much yarn, and a guitar player can never have too many sets of strings. You get the idea!
- Are you creative? Paint or draw a piece of wall art that you know they love, write them a song or short story, put together a scrapbook, make a quilt, or a purse, or a personalized coffee mug. Whatever your talent is, there’s a way to use it to create a wonderful gift with sentimental value that will outlast any store-bought item you can dream of.
- Is there an every day item that they’ve repeatedly mentioned they need? See if you can find a company that offers a customizable version of it. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box! You don’t have to settle with a name or monogram or their favorite color. Is there a quote they love? Is there a book, movie, or band they’re obsessed with? Slap a logo, quote, or other reference on there! Tailor it to your loved one and they will love it. Not only is it more personal, they will think of you every time they use it!
Whatever you choose, I find it’s best to answer these questions when deciding on a gift.
Gift buying doesn’t have to be stressful, boring, or expensive. With a little thought and creativity, it can be an expression of how grateful you are to have someone in your life. And isn’t that the point?
Now, for the fun part! Tell me about your favorite gifts! What were you most happy to receive? What were you most excited to give? Drop a comment below!
The post The Problem With Presents (A Minimalist Gift Guide) appeared first on Brandyn Blaze.