This time of year you’ll see many minimalist blogs giving you ideas for gift giving that don’t involve a lot of stuff. Things like event tickets or gift cards. Since I value adventure and activities more than I value stuff, I love receiving gifts like this.
Notice, the word “value” in that sentence. Adventure and fun activities are things that I value, but everybody isn’t like me and some don’t value those same things. Look around you and it’s pretty clear that many people value stuff over experiences.
This brings up a question.
Do you give based on your wants and values, or do you give based on the wants and values of the gift recipient?
I remember long ago when I was around 10 years old, I received a pogo stick for Christmas. My dad had always wanted one and he was pretty excited to give us the gift of this spring loaded bouncing stick. My brothers and I were not impressed. There was another time when he bought us a pony, which might have been cool except for the fact that we specifically asked for a go-kart that year. This was another thing my dad had wanted. (Also, that pony was mean, liked to bite, and didn’t seem to care for children whatsoever.)
Most times they did really good with gift giving and gave us what we wanted, but these two things stand out as something my dad had wanted and so he figured we would want them too.
The wants of the receiver are an important part of gift giving.
We have a bit of a dilemma, because our minimalist leanings are more than just wants, they have become part of our core values.
Should one stray from their values when it comes to gift giving?
From a philosophical standpoint, that question could get rather deep rather quickly.
To compound that, what happens when your values conflict with the values of the receiver?
I’m not sure there is one right answer. Over the past couple of years we have given gifts on both sides of the values equation.
The main problem with experience gifts is that, by their nature, they are delayed gratification. Kids don’t typically appreciate these type of gifts at the time of the giving. Heck, some adults don’t either. One year we took the entire extended family to the circus, and another year to the monster truck races. Both of these events are in January, so there were several weeks between the gift of the tickets and the actual event. Everyone had a great time at both events, but the adults were more excited than the kids at the time of giving.
On the other hand, we’ve also given toys as gifts, and I sometimes feel a tinge of guilt when I give stuff that will end up being clutter. In this case, however, there is instant gratification and we can see the joy on the kids’ faces as they tear open the wrapping paper and soon after when they begin playing with their toys.
I don’t think there is any one right answer here. I lean towards experience gifts with extended family, especially when it means we can get the entire family together for a fun event. With our own daughter though, we more often give the gift of toys. Lots and lots of toys.
Sure we’ll have to declutter at some point, and some of them are surely a waste of money, but opening a bunch of gifts on Christmas morning is a lot of fun, and in a way, that is also a gift of experience.
All this has been a rather long winded way to say: There is no right or wrong when it comes to giving physical gifts versus experience gifts.
It’s ok to relax your minimalist ways on occasion. Give whatever you want to give and don’t feel guilty about buying some physical gifts for Christmas.
If you are looking for some minimalist gift ideas, I recommend this post by Brooke at Slow Your Home. http://www.slowyourhome.com/ultimate-clutter-free-gift-guide/
If you’re planning some physical gifts by shopping on Amazon.com this season and would like to help support my blogging endeavors, I’d greatly appreciate it if you used my Amazon Affiliates link. Just click the graphic below when you are ready to shop and I’ll get a small percentage of what you purchase. No extra cost to you and I’ll get a few bucks to keep the blog humming.