advice, Minimalism, Minimalism

How to Gift More Practically

Call me a Grinch, but I find gifts to be quite self serving & a form of clutter that really can get out of hand. Safe to say, I don’t fall under that type of love language. You’re probably reading this & thinking, “that ungrateful bitch.” But even the Grinch said it right – all those gifts you receive or desire ends up where? In your garbage! And it’s not only the winter season that causes so much gifting stress. It’s an all year round toxic cycle that needs to be reevaluated. This is why instead of saving this PSA for the holiday season, I’m stressing this change in habits now because thanks to Hallmark cards & commercialism, there’s always an excuse to gift someone.

And no, I’m not saying you should NEVER buy someone anything or boycott gift giving all together. We can’t let our hearts shrink to a thimble. But I think we need to consider a few things before we make a purchase. In the past, I’ve discussed the issues of impulse purchasing, shopping addictions & being more intentional with our spending habits. Be sure to check out my intentional spending blog post after you read this one. These reminders hold true when it comes to gifting others.

I’m guilty to say, over the years one of my biggest culprits to clutter & maintaining a minimalistic home, are the items that come in from other people. And although I stay appreciative & understand not everyone lives a less is more lifestyle, it can become frustrating when you are constantly making donation runs trying to combat the chaos. Over time, I’ve had to be rather forceful & state we don’t need xyz, we prefer gift cards if anything & honestly – we just want their time.

This year, I want to make the conscious effort to gift more practically. And I’ve come up with a list of a few gift ideas I plan to consider when the situation arises.

Food

I think food whether it’s bake goods, a meal or even a gift card to someone’s favorite restaurant are great sustainable gift options. Now, I will admit we had someone return a restaurant gift card back to us, so maybe tread lightly with that suggestion. It did allow us to have a lovely date night at the Cheese Cake Factory – so win win for us. In general, I think food is a lovely option because there’s a stronger chance it will get eaten instead of being wasted. During the holiday season, we enjoy making cookies, so if you have leftovers – feel free to send those off to loved ones or for a dinner party dessert. If you want to be even more creative & add a hint of experience to the gift – you can always surprise someone with cooking lessons [ but always consider who you are gifting when making these decisions ].

Gift Cards

I’m personally a fan of gifting gift cards. I feel like it allows the person to have an experience or treat themselves when they see fit. Be aware of the potential “returning situation” like I mentioned above. I feel like that’s a rare occurrence & most people are appreciative. I personally love gift cards to Barnes & Noble [ follow book worm over here] or certain department stores. Instead of giving something someone may or may not use, you allow them to choose something they may truly want or need when they wish to buy something.

Photo Album

Personal gifts are one of my favorites & showcasing photographs with a specific friend or memory is a nice way to let someone know how much they mean to you & cherish their time with said person. For instance, my now husband gifted me a jar of rolled up photographs of our memories together that year. He knows how much I enjoy our adventures & capturing said moments, so this with an added note reading, “the best gifts are the memories we make together” really made my day. And I display the jar of photos in our living room to this day for the daily reminder.

Books

As minimalistic as I try to be, I will always find books to be worth buying. I do have a rule of selling / donating the books that are 3 stars or one’s I plan to never re-read. But I’m always looking for recommendations. If someone comes up to me & says, “I love this book & you need to check it out – 95% of the time I will read it. Will I always keep said book in my collection? No, but I’m always itching to read & add to my TBR.

Experiences

This can be as broad or simple as you wish it to be. It can be checking out a local coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Or it can be an extravagant 10 day vacation. I always believe traveling is worth the money. Those travels gain you memories, culture & help you grow as individuals. For instance, my husband & I plan to hopefully go to a lantern festival this summer. It acts as a creative date night & a new experience we can cross off our bucket list. Other experience related activities could include: going on a hike, visiting a new state, play top golf, spend the day at a theme park or even check out a new restaurant.

Help Complete a Task

I’m not the biggest fan of favors. I think people can take advantage of a person’s good nature. I definitely want to go more in depth on that topic in terms of boundary setting in a later post. But I think if done right & for the right person, helping them with a task or completing something is an appreciative gesture. Whether it’s helping someone move to a new house, gardening or painting, to name a few things – not only are you helping them but you are also spending time with that person as well.

What are some other practical gifts you can think of?

-B