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Intentional Gift Giving in 2021

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year really doesn’t have anything to do with me–well, directly at least. I decided that in 2021 I want to give gifts intentionally. This doesn’t mean that I am resolving to give gifts less frequently, because I actually want to increase my gift giving overall, but I want make my gifts more meaningful and less stress-inducing. Giving gifts to friends and family brings me immense joy, and just because I’ve recently become a minimalist, I still want to communicate my love and appreciation for those people I truly value.

I’ve come up with 3 rules for myself to help enrich my gift giving this year.

First — Focus on giving experiences and shared time instead of material possessions. As a minimalist, I don’t want to accumulate more items that I don’t need in my home, and I wouldn’t want to put this burden of more and more stuff on anyone else either. There are still great gifts that you can give someone that won’t take up valuable space in their home, and it might even make your relationship stronger as you have the opportunity to spend more time together. Because I’m writing this article in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some might not be applicable right at this moment, but they will one day. Here are 10 ideas of experiences that you can gift and do together:

  1. Vacations
  2. Tickets to a show, concert, movie, or sports game
  3. Gift card for mini golfing
  4. Gift card for dinner or dessert together
  5. Massage certificate
  6. Paint and sip class
  7. Cooking class
  8. Wine tasting event
  9. Escape room experience
  10. Axe throwing experience

Second — Keep a running list of things that your friends and family might need and appreciate. Generally, gift giving is focused around the winter holidays and sporadic birthdays, and it can be difficult to come up with a perfect gift idea in the week leading up to the special occasion as that is probably when it creeps up in your to-do list. Keeping a list of the names of friends and family members that you would generally give to throughout the year and things they might love can be a great stress reliever when it comes time to give them a gift. This is not to say that you can’t have a great idea for a gift and simply buy and give it to them for no special reason, because that it an awesome way of showing love as well. But as we spend time with these people throughout the year, we learn more and more about them, their needs, and what items or experiences they might enjoy. It’s hard to remember these little moments even when you know them very well, so writing it down it always helpful. Just create a simple note tab in wherever you normally keep your notes, I have mine in Apple notes.

Third — While giving your time for shared experiences is preferred, giving them something that would make their life easier or more joyful works too. These could be things that they either would normally buy or consume or something that would be a treat and they wouldn’t buy themselves, but would greatly appreciate. I’m not against all material gifts–I only oppose the ones that might create clutter and stress. Here are 5 ideas that won’t necessarily create memories between you, but still show thoughtfulness.

  1. Chocolates or candy
  2. Assortment of wine
  3. Groceries giftcard
  4. Meal delivery service subscription
  5. Subscription to a streaming service

Becoming a minimalist doesn’t mean that you have to give up gifting or even receiving gifts–it just means that the way we express our gratitude might trend away from physical objects and towards real value of creating more memories with those we treasure.

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