Thoughtful Christmas Gifts

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We’re coming up on Christmas quickly, and life is pretty busy as I imagine it is for most of you, so let’s cut to the chase.

I never realized how thoughtless I’ve been in past years, shopping for people on my list.  I’d go to the mall, Target, wherever, typically thinking of one of these thoughts:

“Ooh!  That’s cool.  Who could I get that for?”  

OR:
“Oh, that reminds me so much of so-and-so! I have to get it.”

OR the worst of them all:
“Oh my gosh, I still don’t have anything for so-and-so… I need to find something – ANYTHING! I’m running out of tiiiiime! AHHH!!”

Sure, maybe the person will appreciate the notion.  Maybe they’ll even LOVE the gift!  BUT in the end, physical gifts are still just STUFF.  I think a lot of stress can be avoided by simplifying, and a lot of joy can be experienced by thinking things through a little more.

Here’s what I propose:  LET’S BE MORE THOUGHTFUL WITH OUR GIFTS.

  • Think about what your loved ones are passionate about.
  • Think beyond the tangible.
  • Think about memories.
  • Think about WHAT TRULY MATTERS.
  • Think about other people’s lives… the less fortunate.
  • Think about the earth.

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and think about these things BEFORE you head out to the store… And definitely BEFORE you start mindlessly piling stuff into your Target carts (novelty gifts and needless stocking stuffers – they’ll getcha!) As you stroll the mall, or surf the internet, resist impulsiveness and buying just to buy.

I’m not saying you always have to give something practical.  I’m just saying we should put a little more heart into the process.  This is the only way we will be able to give each other gifts that truly mean something.

Here are some practical ways you can be more thoughtful this Christmas:

Give gifts that support good causes:

Give a handmade gift  (Even if you don’t consider yourself ‘crafty’, just look and see if there’s something you might be able to do! You might be surprised!)

Give an experience (tickets to a show, museum membership, hot air balloon ride, massage, cooking class, etc.)

Give something consumable (beer, wine, chocolate, coffee!)

There are tons of options out there.  NEED MORE IDEAS???

–> Click HERE for the Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide!  <–

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace a Minimalist Christmas Spirit

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and researching what other minimalists do about Christmas, and I stumbled across several great articles and blogs.  (Thank you, Internet!!)

Laura of SimplyClearly.com posted an article that I found really helpful, which I want to share with you below…

I hope this inspires you!  

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While I truly enjoy giving people gifts and I appreciate the idea behind gift giving, our culture has certainly gotten out of hand with the excessiveness at Christmas, not to mention just in general.

In 2013, over the four-day span of Thanksgiving Day through Black Friday weekend, consumers in the U.S. spent 57.4 billion dollars. That averaged out to $407 per person according to Bloomberg. Compare that with the fact that the average household credit card debt in America is already at$7,274, and we can see why Christmas can be a stressful time, leading to even more debt for many already financially stressed households. One of the many things I love about minimalism is the focus on people, not things, and this mindset is especially wonderful around the holidays when most people feel pressured to buy more ‘stuff’ as an indicator of their love for their family and friends. If you are feeling this pressure, perhaps you can relieve yourself of it by embracing the idea of less is more this holiday season, and the idea that the holidays are about people, not things.

Enter…the Minimalist Christmas Spirit…

-Enjoying time with family and friends

-Helping those in need through coat and food drives

-Singing Christmas carols

-Baking sugar cookies and orange cranberry loaves and taking them to neighbors and friends

-Driving around looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights

-Homemade gifts and well thought out experiences to share

-Simpler holiday meals that won’t leave you feeling over stuffed

-Putting up a Christmas tree and stockings

-Watching the Santa tracker on Christmas Eve with the children

-Enjoying a warm fire and hot cocoa

-Watching Polar Express ,Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

-A few carefully selected gifts that will bring great benefit and use

If you are here reading this, you probably already agree with the minimalist lifestyle and mindset, at least a little. If this is new to you, welcome, and I truly hope you get into the Minimalist Christmas Spirit. For me, it is focusing on my loved ones and those in need, filling the time we spend together with wonderful memories.

With all that being said, there is still the gift-giving side of Christmas to consider. I LOVE giving gifts to people. Especially gifts that I know they will appreciate, use and will make life a richer experience for them. Below is a list I have compiled that I hope will help you have a more minimalistic, less cluttered, and less financially stressful Christmas, but still fulfill your desires to give gifts to those you love.

Click HERE to read Laura’s list… Great gift ideas for kids and adults!

ReThink: Holiday Shopping // PART II

Another Black Friday has come and passed.  I don’t know about you, but I refuse to shop on that day.   I hate going to the mall on a regular ol’ Saturday, so you will most definitely not catch me out and about on the wildest day of the retail year.

I stood in my mother-in-law’s kitchen that morning, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the news channel cover the annual in-store fighting.  I felt sick to my stomach, and so disappointed in these supposedly domesticated adults behaving like feral animals, clawing at each other over TVs and Jedi Master Lightsabers. It’s beyond disheartening that these people had just spent the day before being thankful for everything they have in life, just to turn around and trample that gratitude, determined to buy all this stuff that no one really needs.

I refuse.

I refuse to be a part of a movement that is poisoning our society.  Consumerism consumes us.  When will we realize we are slaves to a monster?

I refuse to allow my mind to place so many items in the NEED category. This is definitely challenging for me.  Mitch and I were at Target the other day, and I found myself explaining to him that I really NEEDED that black felt hat. (What a boldface lie!)  I’m striving to really differentiate my wants and needs so that I don’t fall into the trap of mindless purchasing that I was once in.  An honest evaluation of our Wants vs. Needs can and should be done, not only during holiday season, but throughout the year.

I refuse to accept that Christmas is a time that Mitch and I will be broke because of all the shopping we have to do.  I’ve seen people post memes online about this sort of thing and it makes me so sad.  It really doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t.

I refuse to let materialism trump love, family, and all the other things that really matter more.  I love giving gifts, and there are so many cool gift options out there, but I think we need to be more thoughtful about our purchases, and realize that there are other ways to spread love and holiday cheer.  (This might be a good topic for another blog.)

I said it in my last post, but I want to encourage you to join me: Let’s reclaim what it means to celebrate the holidays.   Let’s resist stuffism and instead embrace simplicity.  Let’s make this world a better place, you and me – all of us together.  We can do it.

I believe.

BOb hope