Minimalist Gifts For Maximum Impact (Episode 177)
Are you dreaming of only the most minimalist gifts...but have a clutter-loving family you know goes overboard for the holidays? Or you're just flat stumped on something creative and different for gift-giving? Look no further. Below are some highlights of types of gifts we've done over the years that are beyond another random knick-knack.
Minimalist Gifts are ones that add minimal stress and clutter and a whole lot of joy to your life!
Christmas is around the corner...
And for so many, the holidays are even more extreme this year as we mount the stressors of navigating COVID and politics in a heated year, potential toxic relationships and extended family members, and the ongoing obligation of reciprocity and over-consumerism of the holiday season.
So what do you do? How do you create a spirit of giving without heaping on the stuff?
First and foremost, you take a long hard look at WHO you're giving to, WHY you're wanting to give, and HOW they will benefit from it.
Logsdon Love Day
First off, way back in 2015, we started playing with the idea of "Logsdon Love Day":
And we ended up really moving this beyond the holiday to creating our own "holiday" or celebration whenever we wanted it. We shifted the focus to less about the gift and more about celebrating the person...and then...we took off the "holiday" requirement.
We simply decided we can have "Logsdon Love Day" at any point. Want to celebrate someone and how you're grateful you are for them in your life? Go for it, and you don't have to wait until their birthday or Christmas.
We found that, instead of not getting into the holiday spirit of giving, we just kept it all the time. While there are a multitude of reasons people celebrate holidays, there is no holiday where the only point is a gift - that has been created by our culture of consumerism. So gift-giving became something we could do in a variety of ways, and people loved the unexpected-ness of getting something at an off time vs. being inundated on a holiday.
So Gifts Still happen...what are they?
So yes, we still give gifts, but when you open up the box of what that can look like, and you do it when you want to vs. a holiday decreeing you have to buy now, the gifts are not as intense, and so many have nothing to do with a tangible paperweight in your home.
Here are some ideas for managing the gift-giving craziness:
- Gift a fun event or camp- like gymnastics for a week, a painting class, a fun AirBnB Experience, etc. That can be enough. Or, you can give them a clue with something small, like a food item, a leotard (maybe a hand-me-down), some paints, goggles, etc as a tangible mini-gift if you need it.
- Memberships - memberships are awesome - and for traveling families, the ones with great reciprocal programs are excellent. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is $145 and gives you the science museums (ASTC), children's museums (ACM) and zoos/aquariums (AZA). Western North Carolina Nature Center is $89 for ASTC and AZA, and the Kern County Museum gets you not only ASTC and ACM, but also the art museums (NARMS) and history museums (Time Travelers) for $125
- Fun money for splurges. Maybe they got a gift to go to an event, and someone else gives $10 for the concessions stand, or to order dessert as a bonus treat out. It doesn't have to be a ton. $25 gift card to Amazon. $5 for a kid to get that treat at a gas station stop. Or ones that you can attribute to something special, like a whale-watching tour or a train ride. We've gotten glass bottom boat tours or concert tickets as gifts - either to do with family, or in honor of someone who couldn't be with us. Think Escape Rooms, Bounce houses, etc for fun things - and Groupon is a great place to look for some deals.
- Consumables! We love being able to have big, tangible gifts that will be completely consumed - our gifts for several years were Nathan's apple pie moonshine (given in super practical and cute mason jars with cinnamon sticks), and my fudge creations. Even think beyond food to craft and science projects that are one and done with kids...that may end up being a gift then for someone else, like a jewelry-making kit (make it and give it!) or a card-making kit to then create and mail cards to loved ones.
- Some foods we love to share are: Toffee Cellar, Askinosie Chocolates, and Universal Yums boxes!
- Practical themes - have someone who has wanted to make Kombucha? Or sourdough bread? Along with a bread pan, or a Kombucha kit...what can you give that people will really use?
- Add to a set vs. lots of random toys. Magnatiles, Legos, Playmobile, a book series...what is something you can get that adds to a set you get over time. Come up with a "theme" - maybe it's "around the campfire", and the kids get their own camp chairs, s'more's fixins and a blanket to cuddle up with. Or "pool days" and it's goggles, swimsuits, towels and more. If you can concentrate to a theme, it can help to narrow down the randomness.
- Have a purely recycled celebration - let kids go "shopping" in their own bedroom and share their beloved toys and clothes with friends and family. Even adults - pass off some items you loved to share with others.
- Give donations instead - support a charity in the name of another, like the Elephant Sanctuary, Heifer.org or Kiva.org.
- Or, if you do want a tangible gift, attach it to a worthy cause like Uncommon Goods, or The Greater Good Network.
- Give the gift of your expertise - what are you skilled at, or is a service you can do? Is it a massage, cleaning their house, house repairs, yard work...or maybe your graphic design, technical know-how, or insight into the family genealogy?
- Or support independent artists, like my daughter Clara on RedBubble, Society 6!
- Monthly box subscriptions - we love Universal Yums and Love with Food (we share more about these on the podcast episode)
- Grocery/Cooking Relief - give the gift of Shipt, Fresh20, or even have the gift be a home-cooked gourmet meal!
The Toy Overload
And how do you navigate all the toys you know the grandparents and well-meaning friends will heap on you anyway?
Some quick tips:
- Rotate through your gifts - let kids play with only a few of the Christmas/birthday toys, and switch them out so the "new" and fun lasts longer, and it's not as overwhelming with all the stuff
- Have relatives create their own "toy box" at their home where your children have those things to enjoy at Grandma's instead
- Get specific ahead of time with exactly what types of toys, so you can do things like adding to an existing set, getting the accessory pieces, etc so they can go crazy while still staying focused on something that adds to what you might already have.
Some additional resources for you
- Clara's RedBubble Store
- Clara's Society6 Store
- Here Come the Holidays...And Relationship Drama (Episode 27)
- Toxic Relationships...And What To Do About Them (Episode 57)
- It’s the end of the world…as we know it (Episode 138)
- Navigating toxic behavior (Episode 176)
- Letting Go Of The Agenda…and Managing Expectations (Episode 148)
- The Burden of Overwhelm – Moving Forward While Always Feeling Behind
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
Your Weekly Challenge:
Our challenge this week is the who, the why, and the how.
Who are you giving to this year, and WHY? Is it out of obligation, or celebration and gratitude? How can you celebrate them well?
It's not always in a tangible gift, and remembering the different love languages can help you identify the potential for gifts that include touch quality time, acts of service and more.
Your time, service, expertise, love and attention are powerful. Find ways to give beyond the traditional model you may have been following. And recognize that a holiday date is simply a day, and the significance of it can be carried to any day you want. Give yourself some grace that every day is an opportunity to celebrate people. Every day is an opportunity to show love and gratitude and gift someone with it. And every day we can celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.