For some, Christmas, or any celebration at this time of year, for example the Winter Solstice and celebrating the return of the sun – is a time for sharing love and positivity with the people in your life. As well as often; good food (lots), and gifts!
But how do you apply a minimalistic approach to gift giving, rather than a crazed shopping spree in the lead up to this celebration?
Of course, you could not buy any gifts, and just share time and love with the people in your life. I think it’s important to remember that gift giving is not mandatory, even though it can seem like it in today’s society, in which we all take on the role of consumer. There are so many other ways to enjoy the winter/holiday season with your family and friends other than buying gifts. Gifts are just things, and things don’t bring happiness, and as I have learnt the hard way, things can clutter up your home and life, and sometimes they can really weigh you down. However, in the spirit of this time of year, the gift of giving, and caving to societal pressures – Here are some ideas from me to you.
I think an important perspective for minimalistic gift giving, is quality not quantity – give with intention – buy or create something which you think the person would really love rather than just buying lots of things because you are expected to. There isn’t really much point in just buying a lot of things which have no meaning to you or the person receiving them, apart from the fact you spent money on them. This may seem obvious, but I think it takes time to really fix this in your mind and apply it to your shopping habits.
Along side the idea of not buying gifts, could be to make the decision with your loved ones to give the money you all would have spent on gifts for each other, to charity. So the gift would be for yourselves but also for others at the same time. People are often incredibly generous this time of year, so why not give to a cause you really care about and the people (or animals) who really need it.
If you wish to give someone something for them, a great idea for a minimalistic gift is to buy or give someone an experience. What are they seeking? Are they open to new experiences? For example, something adventurous or adrenaline filled; a day out at an event; a class or workshop in something creative; or if you are close, a trip you could take together. There are so many possibilities with this kind of gift and ways to tailor it to a specific person. I think it can be a really personal, special and generous gift; to give someone an experience.
However, if you want to physically give something to your loved one, here are some things I like to think about when buying or creating a gift for someone:
Where are they in their life, or what phase of their life are they in? What is something they are in need of, physically or mentally? What will benefit their mind, body, spirit? What will be good for their wellbeing? What will positively benefit their life; something they can actively use in their life at this time? Think about the present moment. Maybe there is something they have already expressed desire for, or that embraces something that they love and makes it special – for example, if someone loves to draw, or has expressed an interest in wanting to start; some really nice drawing pencils and a sketchbook would be a personal and attentive gift. Again, taking on the idea of quality over quantity. I really like the idea of facilitating something for someone, which they have wanted to start doing, with the gift you give to them.
A good idea for minimalist gift giving is to give something disposable; items that can be used up. For example, food and drink, incense, candles, beauty or body products (perhaps homemade). I like to create hampers of special foods and items, while considering the questions and ideas above. Sometimes I will create gifts inspired by the idea of mind, body and spirit, or wellbeing of the receiver.
I also look for things that feel nice in your hands; pleasing objects; things that you think it would be nice to own yourself. I really like the feeling of buying something that I would be happy owning myself, for someone else.
So, that’s all I’ve got – good luck finding the perfect gift, navigating the maze that is end of year consumerism, and enjoy your winter celebration and the end of another cycle around the sun.