5 Gifts for Minimalist

December 9, 2017

5 Gifts for Minimalist

(A minimalist Christmas)


The Question that is always asked is... “What do you get for the person who has everything?” Well what about the person who has very little, but wants nothing? The better question is how you bless a loved one. Don’t get me wrong, there is a certain euphoric chemical response to opening a present, and there is definite joy watching a kid get a new toy. How fast does that joy fade? And how sustainable is that happiness on the child’s face? The irony is when that same child spends the next two hours playing with the box that the new toy came in, and that same joy is duplicated.


This is the time of year that consuming culture goes into overdrive and we, as a country, go collectively out of our minds. You can feel the collective stress and anxiety as people navigate the human traffic jams of large retail outlets. I can see the Pavlov dog-like response to the Christmas music playing from speaker. I also remember the anxiety as I wait for the credit card bill to clear, and the ultimate damage to be shown.  


This year we decided as a family… “Enough is Enough!”



This is our first official Christmas as a (moderate) minimalist family. My older daughters have been warned that this Christmas will be different. We won’t have a big tree, and we won’t have all the decorations that used to take up 6-8 large totes in the garage. There are some items we have kept with Scott’s family that have a lot of value to us, but now it fits in one tote. Everything that we use for all holidays has to fit in a 10x24x36 container. Wait… did you really read what you just read? That tote is for EVERY holiday with decorations. We fit ALL our holiday decorations for EVERY holiday in that small box. We will spend more time together, and we will see more of the Christmas spirit through experiences. That means Phoenix Zoo Lights, Christmas light tours, and as many festive events as we can find! So the question is repeated, “What do you get for the person who has little, and wants nothing?”


We, as humans, are always hunting, searching, and striving for “value.” This has been distorted over time to become something being on sale, or getting a great deal on a physical good. I am speaking of the value that adds to your life in perpetuity. I am talking about an item or act that makes life easier or fundamentally better. The underlying truth is we give physical gifts to make up for the time we don’t spend with the people we love. So let’s look at gift giving as “time giving” instead.


1. “Presence is the best Present” This year, I decided to give my wife a gift she has not had in years. I bought my wife, son, and I tickets to Texas for Christmas. This will allow us to be with our family for the first time on Christmas since we were married. This is a gift that we are more than excited about, and I have not stopped being thankful for it. Another example is of presence being the present can be shown as a meal with someone. We Iove nothing more than having a good meal with someone that really adds to our lives and perspective. Stimulating conversation and great food brings us both a lot of joy. This could be wrapped as a gift card with the attachment of the meal is with me, and we are going on Tuesday or Wednesday. Not setting up an arbitrary “let’s get together,” but a solid date and time.


2. “Make Something” A funny thing happen this year before we announced our minimalism. My sisters decided to make each other gifts instead of buying each other something. This is something our parents have done with their siblings for years. We decided it was time for us to do it as our family has grown! It has been fun to watch as my wife has thoughtfully worked on each gift the last couple weeks. The time and effort she put into these gift better connects her to both It has been so much fun making their gifts. I have enjoyed taking the time to handcraft something for each of them.


3. “Gift an Experience” A couple years ago one of our closest family friends (Teri) gifted me a BBQ cooking class. It took me a while to go, but once I went I had an amazing experience; in fact, some of the tips and tricks I learned in that class I still use today. Some other examples of experience based gifts are movie or concert tickets or you can invite them to the family camping trip etc. This year for our anniversary we are going to go on a hot air balloon ride in the area. We are so excited to share a new experience!


4. “Gift Consumable” This could easily be something that is an experiential gift that you can use at home. This could be anything from a nice bottle of wine or Scotch. Or if you have a favorite bag of coffee from a local roaster that you think they would also enjoy. It is best when you can gift a favorite of your own so that someone you love can experience something you find a lot of value in.


5. “Music or Book” This is best done if it is a book that really spoke to you, or an album that really moves you. This is always a great thoughtful option for a loved one. Last year for Christmas one of our sisters gifted two of our daughters with gift cards. She sent one an Apple gift card with her favorite artists our daughter should check out, and the other daughter was given a gift card to Barnes and Noble with a list of a few books she thought she would enjoy. To take it another way you could gift a book and write in the cover why I thought this book is perfect for them. Make sure you customize your gift, and show the thought you put into their gift.


When it comes to being a (moderate) minimalist it is about being deliberate. I think the same rule applies to gift giving. There should never be a time where you wander the store looking for something that may apply to your loved one. Instead be thoughtful, and take time to really show them the value they have on your life by the gift you gift them.


Merry Christmas

From the FulltimeHumans


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