I’m really not a fan of gifts.
I didn’t have a baby shower, I don’t celebrate my birthday with gifts from others, and while I do like giving gifts, it is only if I see something that really suits someone that I buy it, regardless of the occasion.
I’m only a huge fan of the “Just Because” gifts, and only if they’re practical and going to actually be used & cherished by that person; otherwise I tend not to buy anything that is NOT a consumable unless I know they’re going to actually appreciate it and enjoy using it on a regular basis.
Every holiday specifically however, I don’t exchange gifts nor give them.
We have a great Christmas dinner and as Baby Bun grows older, we will buy him a special gift if he could use it, but we don’t want to make it the primary focus of the holiday season.
I want him to focus and come to the same conclusion as we have, that the end of the year is to celebrate what has happened that year and to welcome the new one; and it’s really just a date to remind all of us to think about what has happened in the past year.
With that said, I KNOW it is hard for all of you to avoid all of this gift giving frenzy that will be upon us soon in December whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe (like me) just reveling in the good cheer & holiday spirit of closing out a beautiful year.
Not all of you will be able to get everyone on the No-Gift Minimalist Bandwagon if you so wish to do so.
So, here are some of my tried & true minimalist gifts and they all fall under 2 major categories:
Experiences and Funds.
I classify anything under here as an “experience” as long as it doesn’t involve a physical product that you will hold and keep.
I’m talking about vacations (or paying part of one), or maybe setting up a scavenger hunt that ends at a concert they have been DYING to go to.
Speaking of eating, how about a great night out with a meal at a coveted 3-star Michelin (or otherwise all-around awesome place) with someone?
…or buying classes for someone who is an avid cook or baker but wants to improve.
This is a gift I’ve done — I bought baking classes for my mom one year at a local college & she went every Tuesday and Thursday to learn how to make pies, cakes, etc. She LOVED it.
You could also set up something where you match up a great amateur chef in your life with someone who would love to learn, and find a way to compensate the amateur chef in taking the time to teach and pass on specialized skills.
They may even do it for free, like my great-aunt who is an excellent cook & spent the day teaching my mother how to make special dishes as a gift she could cherish for life.
Or how about subscriptions, or app purchases to help people better their life?
I can recommend the ToDo App by Appigo (I have switched from AwesomeNotes to ToDo), or maybe a gift certificate for iTunes for the video / music lover.
You can also create little coupons that say: Good for One Round At The Mini Golf Course, and they can redeem it whenever they want (within reason).
Lastly you can also offer your own skills as a gift if you are good at something. Why not?
Setting aside money for others or donating in the name of others is always another nice gesture.
I’m totally all for cash in all forms and I know some people find it impersonal but I beg to differ.
I think it is a great way to give something without cluttering up their life, and unless you KNOW that they REALLY want THAT specific pair of grey suede loafer pointy shoes in a size 37 (*cough*M.Gemi Tuta shoes*cough*) don’t buy them anything they won’t want / love / covet & use.
You are basically wasting your money and you aren’t meeting what they need / want in their current life.
I’m ALL for giving money to a child to set aside in their RESP.
They may not appreciate it now and want that doll or truck instead, but their education is important and they may very well appreciate you funding it in some small way.
I recently gave this cash gift to one of my good friends who just gave birth and while I specified I would like it to fund their RESP, I also left it open to interpretation for her to take the cash and buy whatever the child needed at the moment.
Or how about donating to charities on their behalf?
I recently donated to the World Wildlife Fund on behalf of my nephew who turned 6 this year and absolutely ADORES animals (he is even thinking of going vegetarian and working towards it).
To recap here are all the ideas in bullet form:
- Museum visit
- Concerts / Movies
- Season Tickets (Sports / Theatre / Music)
- Classes (Cooking, Yoga, Sports)
- Subscriptions (Gym memberships)
- Apps online
- E-Books / E-Music / E-Videos gift certificates
- Restaurant Meal
- Offer your own time / skills to help them – Construction, Gardening, Chauffeur
- Coupons for a day out at the bowling alley, mini golf course, etc
- Gifting to their registered education funds – RESP, 529 Plan (U.S.)
- Donating to a charity on their behalf
- Straight-up cash to buy what they want