Holiday and birthday seasons can be tough for minimalists. Spending goes up with the increase in gift-giving and receiving. However, it can be a ton of fun, but it’s also hard to know how to handle all of the gifts coming into your house.
Minimalists aren’t necessarily snobs or neat-freaks. Minimalists want to keep clutter to a minimum so that they can better enjoy their lives. They know that if their home and schedule are cluttered with things they don’t love and need, they are sacrificing space and time for the things they do love and need.
For minimalists, it’s about priorities. You just need to know your minimalist loved one enough to know what their priorities are. Start there, and you should be able to come up with some appropriate, and very much appreciated, gifts for minimalists.
Holiday Shopping For Minimalists
So how do we handle the holiday season as minimalists? First of all, if you are a minimalist, it’s important to make your wishes known to those who will buy you gifts. Let them know that you prefer gifts that are consumable or activity-based instead of toys and items that will clutter your house. If they insist on buying you tangible gifts, offer to give them a list of items you actually need or are saving up for.
Second, get rid of things after the holidays to make space for your new gifts. Getting some gifts that take up space in your home is probably inevitable, so just make sure to remove an item for every new item you get. Otherwise, all of these little things you get can add up quickly and cause clutter again!
If you aren’t a minimalist, but you want to buy something for a friend or family member who is, you must consider their lifestyle. You could buy them something that makes their life easier. Or maybe something that makes their life more enjoyable. Want to know more about what it means to be a minimalist? Check out this post on minimalism and simple living.
Whatever you buy, keep it simple. The obvious simple gift for minimalists is gift cards and experiences, but make it meaningful. Choose a gift card for something they really enjoy. If you are looking for other specific gift ideas, read on! I have a list of perfect gifts for minimalists for you to consider.
Keep Spending Under Control
But first, a word on keeping spending under control: Stick to your budget for holiday spending! Make a list of people you need to buy for, and choose the dollar amount you will spend ahead of time for each person. If your budget is small, consider making homemade gifts. Also, write down what you bought so you don’t overbuy or accidentally buy duplicates!
Something that might help keep spending on your kids and spouse under control is buying things from pre-determined categories. I know many people who use some (or all) of these categories and buy one thing from each one:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
- Something to make
- Something to eat
- Something to do
If you are tight on money right now and haven’t already started saving for holiday gifts, consider going on a spending freeze. For the next week or two, don’t buy anything unnecessary. Don’t eat out. Try to use up the food in your house. Watch a movie you already own instead of buying or renting a new one. If you run out of paper towels, use real towels to clean up messes. If you run out of body wash, use your husband’s or kid’s body wash.
Gifts for Minimalists
Remember, gifts for minimalists shouldn’t cause clutter in their life. That means the gift needs to be meaningful, line up with their priorities, and not cause added stress. Here are some gift ideas for minimalists that fit these criteria for most people. Again, make sure you consider the person’s priorities and lifestyle.
Consumable gifts could be food items they love or other items that disappear. Think beauty products, candles, office supplies, etc. There are so many options! If you know your friend is trying to relax more, you could get her some bath bombs, candles, a face mask, and her favorite bottle of wine for a relaxing hour in the tub.
Think experiences. What do they like to do? Where do they like to go? You could give them a membership to a museum, zoo, amusement park, or gym. You could buy them art, dance, or technology-related classes. Or you could get them music lessons, or pay for a course in an area they want to improve.
Maybe you could get concert tickets to see their favorite band or tickets to a sporting event. Look for conferences in the area…it could be for couples, specific to men or women, and/or designed for people with certain hobbies and interests.
Another great gift for minimalists is giving them a night or weekend away. You could pay for the hotel, and the babysitter, and include a gift card for a nearby restaurant!
Make your minimalist friend’s life easier so they can focus on what’s most important to them! Pay for a cleaning service, car detailing, or babysitting.
Money tight? Offer a service to them and do it yourself!
A Donation in Their Name
What causes or charities do they support? If you know they love animals, you could make a donation to an animal shelter in their name. If you know they are passionate about putting a stop to sex-trafficking or helping starving children, donate to a reputable organization that is working towards those things.
Try to stay away from magazine subscriptions or other subscriptions that cause clutter. Sign them up for a beer club, or pay for a subscription for their favorite gaming console. You could even buy them a subscription to their favorite website or app. And don’t forget upgrades for websites and apps they are already using. Say, Pandora Premium if they love music but are still using the free version with commercials.
Also, consider buying programs like Photoshop and the Microsoft Office suite that might make their life easier depending on their hobbies or career. You would also relieve them of some of the financial burdens that come with staying up-to-date on programs like these!
A Coupon Book
This is a great one for kids. Give them a book of coupons that they will appreciate, but be prepared to follow through! Some coupon ideas: get out of a chore, date with mom or dad, choose a movie, stay up 30 min late. You get the idea.
This is another one that works great for kids. Especially if your kid is starting to outgrow their decor! Face it, your teenager probably doesn’t want a Power Puff Girls room forever. Surprise them with a complete room makeover! Get them new bedding, curtains, and decor. Maybe paint their room a new color. (You probably want to get their input on this one.)
Gift of Time
Take a family member you only see during the holidays out for coffee. Plan monthly dates with your spouse. You could even do something as a family instead of giving each other gifts. Maybe go on a trip or visit a new amusement park in lieu of gifts.
After all, we all desire connection with people more than material things.
What kinds of gifts do you buy for the minimalists in your life? If you are a minimalist, what kinds of gifts do you most appreciate? Share with us in the comments!
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.