Giving the minimalist movement right now, you hear a lot about how gift giving is a chief culprit of our cluttered lives. This isn’t exactly earth shattering news. The holidays or a birthday come around and suddenly your house is engulfed by gifts that you not only didn’t need but certainly didn’t want. It’s no big surprise that I get a lot of calls for organizing after the holidays. We have that one well-meaning relative or friend that makes us scratch our heads and think “why?” when we open their gift. Why oh why indeed?
When my best friend had her first daughter, I went a little nuts. There was finally a little one in the world who I could buy all the pink, sparkly stuff for! The clothes! The shoes! The toys! (Did I mention the sparkle?) When her first Christmas arrived, I cleaned Amazon out. Little H needed not only the Clip Clop Princess Stable but every princess that Disney has ever put on the big screen. EVER. What I didn’t realize immediately was that H is lucky enough to have LOTS of family and friends who also wanted to buy all the pink, sparkly stuff for her. And it was unfortunately her parents who were charged with handling this massive influx of gifts.
It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of gift giving. I can attest to that. But we can all do our family and friends a favor by keeping a few simple things in mind the time we hit the “checkout” button.
ASK: The first time I mentioned this to an older relative, the look on their face was priceless. “But that’s so rude!”, they responded. Or is it? Let’s be practical for a moment. Wouldn’t you rather gift someone with something they truly want? Or would you rather they be faced with the awkward task of having to house something they don’t really care for? In turn, the gift recipient needs to be honest and forthcoming with giving useful ideas.
EXPERIENCES: You keep hearing about this idea of gifting experiences because it’s an EXCELLENT IDEA. I have much fonder memories of the adventures my sister took me on to celebrate my birthday then I do of things she bought me. I really love this concept when it comes to little ones. Plan a special date or an outing. Pay for the ballet classes she’s been wanting to take. Buy the bat he needs for practice. Take a lot of pictures and frame the best ones so that you will both be able to reflect on your cherished day.
BE PREPARED: If you don’t want to ask what to give, at least make sure the recipient can return whatever you’ve given them. That means including a gift receipt and not buying items that are difficult to return (Etsy, handmade items, etc.) This also means not being hurt or upset when your gift is exchanged.
WALK A MILE: In their shoes, of course! Give some thought to their lifestyle. Do they live in a small studio apartment without storage space? Are they in the middle of a weight loss journey? Are they planning on a move across country? Ask yourself how your gift will fit into their lives.