Minimalists are peculiar people, and I say that in the most welcoming and admiring way. People that live uncommon lives are the ones that have interesting stories to tell. They are the beings who cross borders, both physically and spiritually. They have learned, whether form hardship or self-realization, that there is life beyond consumerism.
If any of the following sentences describe you or someone you know, then let this minimalist gift guide lead the way!
I don’t need television to fill my thoughts, I have plentiful ideas of my own.
I don’t need any more clothes, I already have enough (or recognize that I have more than I need).
I don’t need more tools, gadgets or cheap gifts that are prone to break, I am still getting rid of what I have.
My kids don’t need more toys, they need more of the things that money cannot buy.
Gift giving is not taboo and it isn’t to say that a minimalist doesn’t need anything. We don’t dislike receiving presents, but what we need is limited to a few things, and guesswork simply will not do. To be a great gift giver you must take the time to really get to know a person, her likes and dislikes (understand his needs), and then you will realize that the complex act of gift giving is all in the details.
When people are satisfied with the amount of “stuff” in their lives, they then shift the focus to intangibles – home, family, happiness and a pleasantly full belly.
It is difficult, I know, to get over the fact that your sister-in-law doesn’t want the latest Crate and Barrel designer bowl, even though she loves baking and hosting dinner parties. The coffee aficionado in the family has no need for yet another coffee-themed mug, so what is a gift giver to do?
First of all, ask what they need. Then proceed with good intention from there.
Maybe it is something small, perhaps it is big, or it may be nothing at all – but there is always a remedy for that last bit, if your gift giving-ness cannot surrender to the thought of none.
1 Gift your time and energy to others when and where they need it. Offer to baby-sit for free or take care of a beloved pet while the owner is away. Offer some hours of physical work in a garden or give art/knitting/music/language lessons of any sort. Trade knowledge instead of money and make a gift certificate by hand or print this PDF for free.
2 Cook a meal for someone special. In our busy lives we barely have time to enjoy a sit-down meal on our own, let alone a healthy, multi-course dinner cooked from scratch. So, get in the kitchen and be inspired by some new recipes and share a meal with meaningful conversation and presence. Remember, no phones or technology allowed!
3 Experiences are the thing. Purchase movie tickets, go out for a live music performance, splurge on an opera or theater production. Experiences come in many shapes, sizes and price ranges, that’s what makes them so wonderful! Buyer beware – make sure the person you are gifting the experience to, also has an interest in where they are going.
4 A little gift of luxury. A couple of nights at a romantic bed and breakfast or a day at the spa (massage, facial and all) will be a gift more remembered than a Victoria’s Secret gift certificate. Children can also be excited by a night in a hotel with a pool, games and family time. When you buy a gift of “away from home”, people often feel pampered and loved, plus it takes time away from the everyday stresses of life.
5 Everyone needs a space for creativity and gratitude. Why not buy a blank journal, with a classy, simple pen, for the gifted person to express their thoughts in pictures and writing. A gratitude journal for self-exploration may help a friend to develop their positive mindset and generous thoughts in this journey we call life. Keep the art of handwriting alive by giving it as a gift and kindness will return to you again and again.
6 Give the gift of knowledge. Books are loved by all, minimalists are no exception. As humans we are always ready to grow our minds and enlighten our highest thoughts, whether we are reading other books on simple living and minimalism, or something a bit more Wild, we are moving forward, page by page, with an unending zeal for life.
7 Walking is good for the health of us all… Get outside and invite a minimalist friend for a hike in the forest, on the haunting moors, or by the seaside. Wherever you are, there is a place to go, sometimes you have to be creative. If you must travel further to find a good place to walk, go ahead and make an adventure of it, turn it into a road-trip of sorts. Stories are waiting to be made! Gift someone along for the ride and spend time walking and talking together, the present will be worth much, much more than a silly gift bought from the store.
8 Practical, useful things. We all need to eat, each and every single day to be exact, so food (and drink) is always a well received present. If you aren’t sure what the gifted person’s taste buds like, or you are unsure if they have allergies or food intolerances, then err on the side of caution and opt for a gift card from the grocery store they shop at the most. It may not be the most glamorous of gifts, but practicality reigns in the minimalist mindset.
9 Donate any amount in the giftee’s name. If the minimalist on your list really asks for nothing, be prepared – some of them do, and you truly feel that you must give, then try to help others via the present. It is a feel good kind of thing that benefits people/animals/environment that are in actual need of care, at the same time it usually benefits those who don’t have enough. When we give presents based on need we will be surrounded by humbleness and clarity. Feeling the goodness yet?
10 When all else fails – money. Some of us have enough, most of us don’t. Never look a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to receiving cash. It can be used to pay off debt or the electric bill, saved for a rainy day, or re-gifted to someone who truly needs it when the time is right.
It is, after all, money, which helps the economic world turn round…
But currency comes in more options than cash. It is kindness, gratitude, helping others to smile and being there that make presence into presents.
If we all buy a little less, we can ease our demands on the Earth, at the same time create a whole lot of time for each other.
Perhaps these gifts are for more than just the minimalist on your list.
Perhaps they are for us all.
Any thoughts? We would love to hear your view in the comments below!