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

blogmas

The Ultimate Minimalist Holiday Gift Guide

One of the biggest misconceptions to a minimalist is they are the Grinch’s of the world & HATE giving & receiving gifts. This isn’t the case at all, well at least for me it isn’t, but lately I’m not considering myself a minimalist anymore. The act of gift giving is a way to show appreciation & this time of year is one of the hallmark times to express this love language. The big question is, what do you buy someone who is living a “less is more” mentality? Today, I wanted to share with you the ultimate “minimalist” holiday gift guide to give you that sure fire inspiration. Of course, this list isn’t limited to just your Marie Kondo enthusiasts. This gift guide is meant for anyone on your holiday gift giving list this season who is interesting in choosing items with more intention.

Plane Tickets To a Dream Destination

Lately, I’ve been wanting to experience more places, travel to new destinations & just live life as Kourtney Kardashian would say. I think surprising a friend or family member with plane tickets to an adventurous location is the perfect gift. You can make it an early holiday present or you can make it for a date in the near future. It’s always fun to have something to look forward to in the future. Some places I’d love to travel to this holiday season include NYC, Disney World or even New England areas on the East Coast.

Tickets To a Show, Concert or Local Event

To continue the experience trend, why not gift someone tickets to an event or concert. I personally love these types of gifts because it’s something they can look forward to later on in the year. One year my fiance & all his siblings gifted each couple a “date night.” It was either a gift card to a favorite restaurant, sport game tickets or a local event in the city. And if you want to be really gracious, you can even babysit their kids that night for a proper parents night out alone. Ha!

Monthly Meal Subscription or Grocery Store Gift Cards

Who doesn’t love food right? Figuring out meals & budging groceries on a weekly basis can become a hassle. And it’s something we all need. So, why not give the gift of tasty meals this holiday season? Subscriptions like Hello Fresh are perfect options for couples & families to branch out & learn a few new healthy but tasty recipes. And if you know which local grocery store they shop at regularly, you can always put a few gift cards in a cute basic alongside a few seasonings & other kitchen essentials.

Gym Equipment, Memberships or Classes

This is a great option for your fitness enthusiasts in your life. Now, as of recently, I gave up my membership & prefer working out at home, but I think a gift such as paying for a yoga class or even a monthly membership can be worth using. To make it more social, you can always sign up together as an excuse to spend more time together. For those who workout at home, maybe they are in need of a new yoga mat or weight equipment. You can even give them a gift card to their favorite athletic clothing store. Giving the gift of a healthy lifestyle is a great intentional option.

Coffee or Tea

Whenever I receive Starbucks or Dunkin stocking stuffers, I’m always a happy girl. These are the types of things I try not to overly purchase, but if I have a gift card or K cups to use at home, I don’t feel as guilty. I think coffee, tea or another favorite beverage is a great gift because it’s something they would get use out of eventually. And if you want to go all out & give them something more substantial you can always gift them a Keurig or coffee maker if they don’t already have one.

Reusable Makeup Clothes, Sponges or Q-tips

For those who are wanting to find more sustainably friendly alternatives, these types of gifts are perfect. Whether you are a makeup lover or simply needing alternative bathroom essentials, these types of products are great options as gifts or stocking stuffers.

Reusable Grocery / Produce Bags

Other sustainable option is to gift reusable grocery/ produce bags. These are items I always consider but glance over when I’m buying things for myself. But as a gift, this would be a wonderful way to try these plastic free alternatives.

TV Subscriptions

I love a good streaming service. There are so many varieties out there too. It’s a great way to catch up on the newest binge worthy series or re-watch some old favorites – like F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Office Supplies

Whether you are an avid list maker or planner, gifting a set of crisp pens or other stationary is an easy & reasonable gift. I’m always in the need of new stationary & my pens / highlighters as they always seem to dry out.

A Gratitude Journal

A few years ago, I wrote in a gratitude journal every day for a year & it seriously changed my life forever. Why not give the gift of gratitude to a friend or loved one. The start of a new year is always filled with fresh goals & new intentions – so this is a creative way to manifest that dream life.

A Kindle

I’m sure you have at least one book lover in your life. And as much as I love a good paperback , I’m trying to get away from a cluttered bookshelf & have all my novels digitally. But of course if you have people in your life that prefer a paperback, you can always go old school & give them a real page turner. (Another cheap option is to simply regift a book you’ve read & loved). As someone who never reads a book twice, I love rehoming novels.

Roomba or Robot Mop

Last Christmas we were gifted a Roomba & it changed the game when it comes to keeping our house clean. You no longer have to spend hours vacuuming & even leave the house for a while. They’ve even created a mop version that is all over Tiktok. What has happened to me? I guess adulting means being excited over cleaning gadgets.

Digital Camera

Although most smart phones have amazing camera quality, there are some times where I still love the idea of a DSLR or even a polaroid camera to capture memories. My fiance gifted me a polaroid printer & I’ve been loving the easiness of displaying our adventures around my office & the rest of the house.

A Photo Book

Do you want to showcase a few of your favorite memories with someone? Why not create a photo album for them. You can even be more creative & turn it into a scrapbook of sorts with a decorated cover & captions. It’s a very thoughtful homemade present that properly showcases your relationship,friendship or a milestone.

A Recipe Book

I love the idea of curating all your family traditional meals into one book or box. To make it even more personable, you can handwrite the instructions. As a soon to be wife, I would love to have a collection of both families’ recipes to continue the traditions with our future family.

A Spa Day

This is perfect for a girls day or even a gift for a sister or mother. Surprise them with a gift certificate to a local spa where they can get a mani, pedi, massage or even a blow out. This is a perfect self care gift for anyone who has done so much for you or just needs some extra “me time”.

Movie Gift Card

I for one love getting gift cards to the movies. It’s another great option for a future experience. Another option is to host a movie night at home with popcorn, snacks & even build a blanket fort to bring back the childhood nostalgia. This is a great option for couples or even a group of friends during winter break.

A Ring Light or Selfie Stick

This one is for my fellow content creators. I don’t know about you, but having a selfie stick & attached ring light makes photography so much easier. Especially when there’s no one around to take your photo.

Good Quality Jewelry

I keep a very small jewelry collection & I’ve learned it’s better to own a few quality pieces that won’t turn my skin green. This is a classic for anyone special in your life.

Plastic Free Products

Many companies are transitioning to plastic free packaging. For the sustainable people in your life, why not purchase them a few of these alternatives such as hair care, hygiene care & cleaning products.

Flowers or Other Plants

plants & flowers are such beautiful gift ideas. I love hanging greenery in our home as well as a few plants in our backyard as well. I forgot how easy & thoughtful a bouquet of flowers can be. Add a sweet note & even make a personal visit.

Hand Written Note

I personally love the old school way of writing a handwritten note & sending a bit of snail mail to a friend or family member. It’s a cute & easy way to express you are thinking of someone & there are a lot of ways to make it festive.

Coloring Books

This is a perfect gift for any children as well as the children at heart. As an adult, I still find it so relaxing to sit on the couch & color a picture.

Paint or Draw A Picture

If you are more on the creative side, why not paint or draw a picture for someone as a gift. You can even place it in a personalized frame so they have the option to display it.

Pet Supplies & Accessories

To those pet owners, why not create a stocking filled with necessities their fur baby will love. Add a gift card to a local pet store or a few of their favorite treats. I’m sure the pet & their parents will surly appreciate the gesture.

Cleaning Service

Who wants to be stuck inside cleaning all day when they could be out living life? For your home owner friends, why not gift them a one time or multiple time cleaning service. It’s a great gesture especially those who have such busy schedules.

Lawn Care Service

Treat someone to a spruced up yard or landscaping. Gift them a monthly lawn cutting or surprise them with some plants for their gardens. What better way than to give the gift of the outdoors.

Baby Sitting

For those tired parents, why not gift them a date night & watch their kids for the night. I mean, how generous is that?

Pet Sitting

You can’t forget the fur babies either! Plus, pet hotels & kennels can be pretty pricey.

Self Care Basket

I love the idea of putting together a basket filled with themed items. This one in particular can be a gift of self care. You can fill the basket with some nail polish, bubble bath, a hair & face mask & even a good book. Get creative with it & choose personally.

Favorite Candy or Snack

Keep it simple with a few of their favorites. Wrap them up cute & add a tag for a bit of pizazz.

Bake a Traditional Treat

Along with the recipe book idea, why not simply bake one of your traditional treats & make a home delivery. This is a perfect option for any holiday gatherings you may be attending as well.

Planner

A gift for those Type A’s & my fellow bloggers. Although I love using Google calendar, there’s something about handwriting it in a cute monthly calendar. Help someone get organized for the year ahead with this useful present.

Support Their Hobby

Whether it’s supplies, accessories or even a personalized trinket, showing you care by supporting their hobby is super thoughtful. For the blogging community, this can also mean to share a person’s blog post, give it a like or a mention & even subscribing to their newsletter. Every little bit of support means the world to us.

Go Skiing or Tubing

This is the perfect winter experience for those who enjoy the outdoors & the sport. You can even make it into a winter weekended getaway & rent out a cabin in the woods. I’m sure you”ll make lots of wonderful memories.

Support a Small Business

When choosing where to shop this holiday season, why not spend your money on smaller & local businesses. Lots of times you find such unique & thoughtfully made gifts this way instead of getting the generic option at big chain stores.

Car Accessories / Cleaning Service

This is another useful gift option. You can gift someone a detailed cleaning or even accessories like floor mats to keep their car looking pristine.

Face Time / Make a Phone Call

Sometimes the best way to show you care is to talk to them face to face or at least hear their voice. Especially for friends or family that live miles or states away, making that quick call will mean the world to them.

Ipad / Laptop / Desktop

This is quite a pricey option, but one I find to be worth the money if it’s for the right person. I always try to think of things people would truly use & know as a blogger, any of these would be wonderful gifts.

Money

Although it’s not very personal, I still find plain old cash is extremely useful. You can even add a note with an explanation on how you’d like it to be used. I’m sure it will be greatly appreciated.

Pay off a Bill

Like the money option, depending on who it is & whether or not you may offend them, I think paying off a bill for someone is one of the most thoughtful gifts ever. The holiday season can be such a stressful time & sometimes all you really need is a leg up.

Phone Case

I feel like everyone needs a phone case. This is quite self explanatory.

Sustainable Clothing Brands

These brands, although are better for the environment, can be rather expensive. So, why not treat someone to a clothing piece so they can test the waters so to speak.

Quality Bedding & Pillows

What better way then to give the gift of proper sleep

A Charity Donation

It always feels good to give back but the holiday season is the perfect time

Instant Pot / Slow Cooker

This can be any kitchen gadget that makes like easier. But I just personally love our Instant Pot & Air Fryer attachment. It seriously makes food prep quick & efficient.

Mini Fridge

This isn’t very minimalistic, but we were gifted a mini fridge for Christmas last year & we are obsessed with ours. If you are looking for an addition to a bar shelf area & just need more storage space. This would also be perfect for college students.

Coasters

Now, I try not to own too many of these (we’ve managed to end up with over 20!) but this is a perfect option for new home buyers, newly weds & even college students who have apartments.

Boardgames

I love a game night & this is perfect for those who want to get together with friends or family during the holidays. Some of my favorites are Cards Against Humanity, Family Feud & Scrabble.

Just Ask Them What They Want

Lastly, just be up front when holiday shopping. It’s better to ask someone & purchase something you know they’ll use than get them something that will be donated in a few months.

-B