What to “buy” a Minimalist for Christmas

Welcome to the Christmas season! A beautiful time of summer warmth, community, love and connection. Although most of the time, it doesn’t feel like it!

Christmas television ads have been nosily blaring, Facebook ads will not stop bugging us and every shopping centre has been playing the same five Christmas carols on repeat since October.

The retail and media industries will have us all buy into the belief that the love in our hearts is measured buy the Australian Dollar value and a purchased physical possession. “Gift giving” is now obscenely defined as a “love language”.  I don’t know about you, but the times I have truly felt loved – real love and connection – no physical good was traded for it.

But after a few decades of cleverly targeted marketing and instant global media coverage Christmas now equals give-me-present time. So for those who have a Minimalist to buy for (or a friend who “doesn’t need anything”!) presenting…

The Get Started Guide to Minimalism Gift Giving

(spoiler alert: they are not what most people would call gifts!)


1. An Experience with You

The best “gift” you can purchase for a Minimalist is no physical item. Honestly, any physical possessions we don’t need stress us out! It takes up a mental pocket in our mind and we can’t stop thinking about it.

How we aren’t using it.

How we wished we liked it.

How we might offend or upset you when we inevitably donate it to the local Op Shop.

But, we do love you for you! We show our love by spending our most precious commodity on you. Our time. We’d love the gift of your time and undivided attention! A dinner date, movie night, balloon ride – the sky’s the limit! (Couldn’t help it – I’m a sucker for a bad pun!)


2. Make a donation & Share the love

Yes, I know initially when you first read the word “donation” it will trigger many eye rolls and disapproving grunts. Who wants a donation for Christmas?

Well, some of us Minimalists live a minimalist lifestyle because of the negative ecological effects over-consumerism has on our natural landscape, animal life, economy, mental health, financial wealth… (This list could continue for far too long so I’ll just stop now.)

When you really know your Minimalist recipient, you’ll know their purpose of why they live the lifestyle.

So say you remember your Minimalist saying they only own clothing owned by Fair-Trade companies. A donation to anti-fast fashion movements would be well valued and most importantly appreciated by your Minimalist. You listened and took the time to find a cause that truly matters to them. Your attention is all we want.


3. Just ask us what we would like!

I know as Minimalists we can come of as a bit intimidating in regards to physical goods. “They’re a Minimalist – they don’t want anything!” Just because we are Minimalists doesn’t mean we don’t want or need physical things. We are just very particular (and yes, picky) of what we let in.

Last Christmas I asked my Fiance to buy me a game I wanted to pre-order. Then I had my brother chip in so I could get the deluxe edition! Something I was going to buy for myself but now, is a gift my Fiance and Brother know I will truly love, enjoy and cherish.


4. Yummy things to eat & Chocolates

Now I know from first hand experience that some loved ones (my mother!) just love giving gifts at Christmas time. Seeing us unwrap the paper, shaking the box trying to discover it’s contents and our expression when we see the gift for the first time.

That is completely fine, but let’s limit it to some yummies that we can enjoy or share around. We can simply eat and enjoy without adding another un-used physical good to the pile.


3. Groceries!

Yes. Groceries. We are going to buy them anyway so why not take us on a food shopping date where we can buy all our expensive Chia Seeds, Protein powers and fancy snacks that we don’t have the budget for.

Something quirky and fun plus we get to spend the day with you too. So bonus!


But what we really want at Christmas…

Is you. Yes, just you.
Our most important Christmas memories are created from the people we are with. Decorating the tree with those kinder-garden handmade paper ornaments, eating Christmas dinner (even when mum over-cooked the chicken!), watching our favourite Christmas movie on the couch with the people we love.
It’s well and the truly time to connect with people, reflect and be thankful for all the achievements and the failures of the year. It’s time to distance ourselves from the gift giving tradition we have bought into. Make a new tradition of caring, love and community this Christmas.
Simply love, cherish and be kind. 

“Required” Gift Giving

“Required” Gift Giving

I’ve recently become engaged to my long term, 5-year relationship boyfriend and beginning the task of the infamous Engagement Party.

So let’s invite friends and family over to soon-to-be in law’s backyard deck, people will drop in and out (open house style!). We’ll prepare some finger food, I’ll rock a casual summer dress…

Wait, the gifts. Oh no, all of those engagement gifts! The cheap, cheesy and sweat-shop made nick-knacks that every guest feels obligated to give you. What are we going to do with all this junk!

I’m designing the invitations for our casual backyard barbeque celebrations and wracking my brain to come up with a phrase that, in a loving way, says “Please don’t buy us any junk. Because we will never use it and I will donate it, or worse, give it back to you at Christmas.” I’m still thinking if there is a way I can add to that: “Please don’t support a human-rights exploiting industry, we are better than that.” (Hard to make it sound like I’m not a total egotistical jerk though…)

Not that the act of gift giving at Engagements and Weddings are inherently bad, it does come from a loving and generous place and, in the past, it was a necessity for young newlyweds. Historically when couples did not move out of the family home until they were married. Then they truly did need plates, linens and appliances. In the twenty-first century however, most couples are living together and have all the necessities. So what else is there to support a couple?

Money. Money is great, please give us money. I need to save for a Thermomix. (The food processor of the Gods!) My Fiance and I also need to save for our wedding day. Luckily, most people are open to the idea. Money is easy. East to withdraw last minute and no stress of “What do I get them, what do they need?” Unfortunatley the older generation is harder to break-in. It was just “what you did” in those days.

I’ve had “The Minimalist Talk” with a few close friends and family. The “I’m trying to declutter my life of material things to live a simple and satisfying life. I know you like to buy me things to show you love me. Because you love me, and I know you respect me, please don’t buy me any material goods. I’m happy with everything I have. If you feel you must buy me something, buy me something consumable. I like chocolates or take me out for dinner one night.” (At least I can share the chocolates!)

Not that “The Talk” goes smoothly all the time. It can get awkward because you are letting them off the hook for a commercially driven social standard of gift giving (but really, “Gift-giving” a form of love language? No, just no. That’s ridiculous). It does confuse most people, and honestly, they won’t really understand why you are doing it. Some people I’ve talked to get quite sensitive because the obligation of gift giving is a source of anxiety. But those who know you well, truly love you, they will respect your decisions.

The insecurity of distant engagment-related family members is much harder. This kind of “Minimalist talk” is not going to work with them. It is exhausting expanding my energies to placate the insecurities of other people who, are trying to do a lovely selfless act, give us a gift we will enjoy but, in reality, gives me stress.

Oh well, I’ll have to suffice with the written word and come up with something truly brilliant so my Fiance and I will have no presents (Challenge accepted!)