Written by Brianna Wiest
Whether you’re a practicing minimalist, enjoyed Marie Kondo’s books but love your record collection, or simply want to avoid giving 10 people sweaters that you know they won’t wear, figuring out how to incorporate some minimalist principles into your holiday season is something to consider.
I personally don’t like to keep a lot of stuff in my house. I’m of the belief that a cluttered space = a cluttered mind, and I feel better when my things are easy to keep organized and clean. The main challenge this poses, of course, is all of the occasions in which people purchase things for one another (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and so on) and the fact that it’s in bad taste to get rid of things that other people have given you. So you wind up in a dilemma: live forever in a sea of other people’s offerings, or agree that there are other ways to give one another things that you’ll actually want or use.
First of all, you have to come to a mutual agreement with friends or family that you’re going to invest wisely in one another over the holidays. It doesn’t work if one person shows up with gifts and the other is like: I’m giving you the experience of my company this year! Happy holidays! You all have to get on the same page about what the expectations are. As in everything else with life, communication is key.
Second, abide by the golden rule of gift giving: don’t give as you would want, give as they would want. I am a novice history nerd and could spend hours roaming museums and would absolutely love to spend a birthday heading out to a city to do just that and then wind down for a late lunch. However, I realize that for a lot of people, that would be mind-numbingly boring. That’s okay! What’s important is that you give someone something that enhances their quality of life in whatever way interests them most.
If you’re looking for some “experience” items to give, try anything from airline vouchers to yoga passes to a wine delivery service. You can also get something that the person actually needs and will use, like a bike. In that, you’re giving them multiple experiences over the course of many years. There are also the options of tickets to concerts and shows, donations to meaningful charities made in their name, a trip to a spa for a massage or facial, seasonal sporting passes, a weekend trip, or for the more adventurous, an afternoon of skydiving or ziplining (both are on my bucket list!).
Not only does this give you an opportunity to potentially invest in an experience that you can have together, it also gives you a chance to communicate that you really understand who that person is. Anybody can pick up another trendy item from the mall; not everyone is going to “get” you well enough to know that an annual pass to an art museum would totally make your year (hint, hint).