It’s that time again! Once we have cleared the Thanksgiving table my festive side shifts into high gear to welcome the holiday season. We all have our favorite time of the year and for me, that is the winter holiday season mainly Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It is the season of giving and is truly a wonderful time to reflect on the things that you are grateful for whilst trying to select meaningful gifts for your loved ones.
Even if you do not want any additional materialism in your home it does not mean your family is ready to replace their trinkets with a minimalist ideal. I would not suggest the holiday season as the best time to make its argument. Instead of completely forgoing the act of gift-giving for minimalist principals, use this as an opportunity to practice intentional spending and share an exciting memory.
Now, I will admit that I can be a little neurotic when it comes to gift-giving, I view it as a bit of a sport. I spend an immense amount of time ruminating on what the recipient would value most and what would bring them happiness. The ultimate gifting failure for me is knowing that a gift was never used, detracted from their holiday experience, ended up in a landfill or a sad dusty corner in a basement. I never want to add to someone’s clutter and I know how painful it can be when you are on the receiving end of a gift with good intentions that missed the mark. The last thing I want is for my family to receive guilt with the knowledge that someone who spent good money on a gift won’t be used.
Here are my top tips for intentional giving to navigate the a spendy season, spare your wallet and nail the gift.
Stop buying for yourself
When holiday shopping we tend to buy gifts that subliminally we would like to receive even if they are intended for another. As well-intentioned as this is, not the most effective strategy for finding gifts that people will truly enjoy. Even if you don’t know the person well enough to know what gift would make their day, understanding this tendency is the perfect first step to transition from impulse shopping to intentional giving and exercise your empathy muscle.
It can be tempting to gift on surprise but it can be dangerous to make assumptions about the needs and desires of others as we tend to project our own onto the situation. I acknowledge the immense sense of accomplishment associated with the element of surprise, but I think that emotion mainly suits the gift-giver. There should be no shame on your part for getting your family something from their Christmas list, if we are honestly gifting for others this would be our course of action.
No-one expects their relatives that they see bi-annually to know precisely their needs. Even our partners should not be expected to precisely predict our inner desires. I suggest simplifying the gift experience for both you and your family, simply ask.
The material route does not have to be the answer for everyone on your shopping list. Gifting experiences allows you to create a wonderful memory twice. Once when you give the gift and once when they have the experience. Some of my favorite gifts have been experiences and these can be tailored to create an amazing memory that gives back again and again as it’s remembered.