How to Give Better Gifts

Now that Halloween is out of the way, Christmas is right around the corner and you're only 55 days away from sipping coffee on Christmas morning, looking at all your perfectly wrapped gifts under your tree! This unfortunately also means you're only 54 days away from running out last minute on Christmas Eve and scrambling to find some ill-fitting crew neck tee-shirt for your third cousin that you had totally forgot about. It's even more bleak for those who open gifts on Christmas Eve, and for more reasons than because you celebrate Christmas wrong. Kidding. Partially.

I truly think it's happened to all of us although none of us want to admit it. We've all found ourselves scouring the mall department stores a few days before the holidays, desperately searching for the perfect thing for the unlucky souls left on your list. We already put all our effort into the people we love the most (ahem, I mean the ones we already bought for...) and we're about an ugly pair of socks away from resigning ourselves to the gift cards on the counter so we can go home and drink eggnog already.

Even those who are complete professionals during Christmas, you know, the ones who have their whole family bought for by the time you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner even though they haven't seen half of these people since Easter (I mean, how do you guys do it?!) have scrambled once or twice in their life. And this is definitely not the norm for me. If I'm being honest, I've been a pretty terrible gift giver. I spent most of my adult years giving half-thought out gifts, common gifts, and the worst - gifts that were asked for. I mean as much as you want those house slippers, it's not as exciting to unwrap something you know is coming. But as I started living into minimalism and changing my thoughts on what types of gifts I expect from people, I've really lived into better principles about selecting gifts as well. So while I'm no expert and these tips aren't exactly groundbreaking, I do think they're a great start to help even the worst gift givers deliver a meaningful and useful gift!

PS: These tips are also great for those that are tough to buy for. You know, the one who buys everything on their own, the one who has everything, and even the minimalist who doesn't want anything ;)

Minimal Gifting Tip #1: Find something that brings value

The first question you need to ask yourself is what does your recipient value? Whether you're buying for a minimalist or a max-imilist, it's important that the gift you give provides value in some way. This could be taken literally and be an item that provides a use: artisanal soap, local beer/wine, a book to read or write in. However, value can also come from services like: personal shopping trials or a monthly subscription box. Extra points if your service provides a value and doesn't sign the recipient up for extra "stuff", think: massages or experiences like paint-classes or learning to brew beer at a brewery. Select your gift based on the recipient - do they value experiences over objects or objects over experiences?

Minimal Gifting Tip #2: Explore local goods

Local options are overlooked when it comes to holiday gift giving, but there's so much to explore! Take a drive around town (or hit the world wide web) for some local inspiration. Maybe there's an upcoming museum exhibit that you can pre-order tickets for, or other type of community event. Local businesses and markets are also great places to explore for gift ideas. Gift cards are so much more fun when they're to someone's favorite local coffee shop or bakery. Does your recipient live far from anything or miss the flavors of home? See if you can score something from one of their favorite places back home and ship it out.

Minimal Gifting Tip #3: Give up your gifting stereotypes

I hear from people all the time: "Well I don't want to just give a gift card." But honestly, gift cards are perfectly great gifts! If you're truly stumped, there's nothing wrong with giving a gift card or even nothing at all. That's right, when someone says they truly don't want any gifts, it's totally okay to not gift them anything. If you can't quite give up the idea, then ask if you can donate to a charity on their behalf instead. Trust me, it's much more difficult to accept a gift you don't need than it is to get nothing at all. The holiday spirit is about kindness and family, not gift giving, so while it might be taboo, give it a try next time someone asks for you to keep them off your list.

Get to shopping & get to giving better gifts! It might not be any less stressful, especially if you wait until the last minute, but one thing I can promise you about following these tips is that it WILL be more fun for both you & your recipient! Do you have any great gift giving tips? Leave them in the comments to share with the rest of us!