As a self proclaimed minimalist of almost three years now, it took some time to get into the groove of how I wanted to treat events like the festive season and birthdays when it came to giving and receiving gifts.
To me, those special times are less about the things and so much more about the energy, the love, the food, the magic and the spirit of community. I adore Christmas and usually start playing my festive playlist in mid October.
But when it comes to receiving gifts, those closest to me now know that I prefer not to receive things for the sake of things. And I also do not give things for the sake of things. I prefer experiences over the material and value quality and sustainability.
Every minimalist will have their own preferences when it comes to gift receiving and how they work around gift giving, so this is just my experience but hopefully you’ll get a helpful insight on how to approach the issue if you have a minimalist in your life too.
Gift Giving As A Minimalist
I no longer believe in buying things for people if I have no idea whether it’s what they want or would even like. So, whether the person is also a minimalist or not, I just ask them what they would like.
It’s so easy to just ask someone what it is they would like and sure, maybe it removes the element of surprise but part of the gift is relieving them of the need (financial or otherwise) to get it themselves.
Or if you’re more astute and observant, you can still keep the element of surprise by being a good listener.
What have they been saying they’re dying to get? What is on their to do list but they just haven’t had the time? Surprise them by showing them you listen to them and care enough to provide something they will value.
If you’re still not wanting to ask, consider getting them something other than a gimmick. How about a voucher for an online experience or a course in something they enjoy?
Or maybe a 6 month subscription box to a brand they like. Offer to take something off their hands so they have time to chill, eg walk the dog, watch the kids, bake some goodies.
And if you’re getting gifts for children of course that’s different because they don’t understand anything other than Christmas is for gifts! Which is all the fun! But consider toys that won’t break in a week, that are made of quality material, or maybe some that are educational and personalised.
Check out my Minimalist’s Guide to Gift Giving from last year for some other ideas.
Receiving Gifts As A Minimalist
If you have a minimalist in your life and you aren’t sure how they do things, again, just ask them and then respect their wishes.
Some minimalists don’t want to receive gifts from others but they may still give gifts. Some may neither give nor want to receive. It’s up to the person. You ultimately have to respect their decision and at the end of the day, it’s just things and the spirit of these events is about so much more than the things.
As a minimalist myself, I appreciate when people ask me what I would like, because it shows they heard me when I shared my lifestyle preference and then I can reply accordingly.
But if a minimalist tells you they don’t want a gift, just accept that and keep moving on. It doesn’t mean they won’t bring dessert and help with the decorating at Christmas. It doesn’t mean they don’t value your presence in their life. It’s got nothing to do with you, so don’t take it personally.
The best gift is the joy of lessJoshua Fields Milburn
Let me know in the comments: How do you tackle the gift giving seasons of the year?
Sit back, grab some Oreos and let’s see what life has to offer us next!
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