If you are new to this blog, you may not know that we do not give, nor receive physical gifts for the holidays. As minimalists, we stopped this ritual a few years ago when we no longer wanted to receive gifts. Rather, we politely declined gifts, asking our friends and family to please “gift” us their company, making plans to get together for camaraderie, or an experience, rather than adding something materialistic, or tangible to our household.
Each year around this time, we like to make suggestions for giving gifts as many people struggle with ideas, since many feel pressure to still give gifts in their circle of friends and families. We hope that our suggestions help you get creative, and take some of the duress from the season of what should be a time of joy and gaiety.
Here are some gifting ideas:
These are always a great idea, but please be mindful during this time of Covid that some people may be a bit put off, so know your recipient. Also, be mindful of allergens. If you aren’t sure, maybe don’t do this. Shannon has an anaphylactic tree nut allergy, so when we receive baked goods that have tree nuts, or if we don’t know, we have to either hand them off to someone else, or trash them.
You can also get super creative with the way you present these. Use brown paper and twine to wrap them, and a sprig of rosemary. This is a great way to make it rustic-festive, and your recipient will feel really special with receiving something you put more time and effort into.
Recipe Jar with Ingredients
Speaking of edible gifts, consider putting together dry ingredients into a jar, from the recipe of your famous Christmas cookies with the recipe card attached. Not only is this something that is consumed, but it is personal. You can do this with smoothies, pasta dishes, chili mixes, etc.
Again, presentation is everything! Twine, rosemary sprig, and your handwriting on the card is something that will present well, and is very meaningful.
Give the reader in your life a subscription to Audible, or Amazon Kindle credits. Another idea, we’re all about not having cable, so if your recipient doesn’t have a streaming service and are into watching movies or tv series, give them a year’s worth of one, and encourage them to cut the cable cord.
Create an Experience
Maybe your parents have a difficult time of getting an experience going themselves. Create it for them! Write up instructions for a picnic at the park. For example, “Mom & Dad- first, make sandwiches and cut up some fruit and veggies, pack it in a basket or cooler with some flasks of water, and take it to the museum lawn or park”. You can include two stainless steel water bottles they can use for water, and a picnic basket with a handmade blanket, if you are a knitter or quilter (if not, pack one they have already). You get the idea!
Another part of this gift area could be tickets to an event- one of the best gifts we have ever received were movie tickets. It was years ago, and at the time we hadn’t been to see movies outside of Netflix in a while, but receiving movie tickets made a wonderful nostalgic date night. The gifter didn’t know, but our first date was going to see a movie, so it was a special experience, and very simple.
As plant lovers, one of the things we love to do is propagate our plants to make more of them as gifts. We also love receiving baby plants from others, especially when we know that it came a plant that he/she nurtured. We have plants we can tell stories about where they came from, where they originated from, and they even have names deriving from the person who game them to us. If you have plants, consider propagating plants to give them away as gifts. It’s a great, natural way to spread love to others.
One of the best gifts you can give is your time. Whether you offer a family member time to watch their children, their pet, picking up their mail while they are away on vacation, or perhaps visiting an elderly neighbor over the holidays. Your time is a gift. Don’t underestimate the value that your time is to someone who would love to see you, even if it is for half an hour. As we mentioned earlier, having the company of our family and friends over the holidays means more to us than a physical gift that will take up space and may or may not be forgotten. It is the memories we create that mean more.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss:
‘Maybe Christmas’, the Grinch thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more’.-Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas