I have always struggled with this time of the year. I never know what to get people! I do not consider myself a minimalist, being a minimalist is more of a long-term goal of mine that I have been working towards for the last month or so. The issue with Christmas is that I do not want to buy people things they do not need or do not use. I do not want to spend my money on something that will end up on a shelf collecting dust or in a landfill taking up usable space.
I decided to go to where ,most people go when they have an issue, I Googled it. After spending an hour or so reading through multiple blog posts, advice columns and forms I realized that this was not going to be much help. A lot of people said they refrain from that part of the evening. They said they would offer to cook dinner or something similar instead. In my family, sitting in a big circle and watching everyone open their presents is the centerpiece of the evening. So that solution would not work for me. I did not want to sit in the corner and be excluded from one of the few times my family gets to spend together. So I snapped on my thinking cap, there had to be another solution.
After thinking and meditation on it for a few days, something my Mother always did came to mind. For Christmas, my Mother always gave us one thing we needed and one thing we wanted. So this meant that sometimes I got underwear and socks for Christmas sometimes this meant I got a laptop. It really depended on what I needed. A few years ago, my Mother decided to give everyone experiences for Christmas presents. An experience could be a class, tickets to a show or to a park. The point was it was something you could go to not a materialistic item. I decided that this was genius. So I would get everyone on my Christmas list something they needed or an experience.
Another thing I also had to change was my personal wish list. It is just about a requirement in my family to have an Amazon Wishlist. I changed my wish list to fit my new rules. I went through every item on my list and thought about if I truly needed it. There are three things that I consider requirements for an item I want or purchase. Those three items are:
- Is it a need?
- Will it bring joy to my life?
- Will use it at least once in a 30 day period?
Every item on my wish list needs to meet at least two of these requirements if not all three. My list contains things like castile soap, natural toothpaste, mason jars, canning equipment and essential oils. These are things that I use at least once a week, some of these items I use many times a day.
If you are struggling with how to participate in the traditional Christmas gift giving traditions, I hope my perspective helps.
What kind of gifts do you like to give during the holidays? Any tricks you can share with me or others? Leave it in the comments, I will reply to as many as I can!