Gift Giving Tips for the Minimalist

Gift giving.

It’s one of the 5 love languages.

It’s a part of all of our lives, but, too often than not, culture tells us giving and receiving gifts is filled with stress and high expectations. 

But what if it doesn’t have to be like that? 

Over the past few years of living within our means and moving into a tiny house (with physically less space), I’ve learned some things about how to give meaningful gifts without the stress and expectation to spend a ton of money to show you care. In order to loosen stress and be more of a mindful spender, I’ve listed 5 tips to consider when you are giving a gift to someone else: 

  1. Follow the registry. If there is one, follow it. You already know that they’ll like it and they made a registry because they wanted those items. You don’t have to feel the need to go “out of the box,” and I know how frustrating it is when you made a registry and most people get other things you didn’t pick out . . .
  2. Make it yourself. I do this for most of my gifts, and you don’t have to be super artsy to do it, either. The internet is full of great step-by-step ideas. The best part is it doesn’t cost as much, and the person feels much more loved that you spent time on them, rather than a lot of money that you thought about last minute. For example: knitted scarf, canvas art, picture frame diy, embroidered tote bag, flower or plant arrangement, jewelry, baked goods, candles, soap, t-shirts, calendars ,etc.
  3. Buy local. There are so many great handmade markets and local artisan stores you can get quality, handmade gifts. You’re not only supporting local artists (here’s my plug, follow me @createdforeden), but also getting a more meaningful gift that a mass manufactured item.
  4. Give perishables. Who doesn’t love food? Sure, it might not be the most creative gift, but you know they’ll like it. Get them their favorite snack or sweet or drink. Or something they don’t often get but really like. This can also be gift cards. Gift cards and perishables are always a win, and people don’t feel bogged down to store or get rid of an item that they don’t even like.
  5. Give an experience. My best friend for my birthday gave me a “Girl’s day” coupon, where I was able to circle between different choices I wanted to do in a day with her: local, brunch, mani/pedi, book store, coffee and tea. Then, she took me to all my favorite spots and made a day out of it. I will more likely remember the quality time I had with her in the years to come, than any monetary item she purchased for me. We as humans are relationally driven. There is nothing more meaningful than giving your time.
  6. Pay attention throughout the year. I have a notes tab in my phone titled “Gift Ideas,” where I keep a list of things to get people if they comment about it throughout the year. This could be for their birthday or Christmas or Mothers/ Fathers day. For example, my mom’s birthday is coming up in February and a few weeks ago she told me about these specific earrings I have from Etsy that she wants, too. So I wrote it down in my phone and intend to purchase them for her birthday. Also, I jotted down that my Uncle wears a size XL in shirts, and that my friend wants a white hydroflask. These are just things that come up in casual conversation, but I’m taking notes so I can get them more meaningful gifts in the future.

There’s more tips, but there’s a few I’ve laid out. I personally love giving gifts and am always finding new ways to be more intentional in loving others. Do you do any of these currently? How do you feel challenged to be more mindful with giving gifts?

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