Ah, gifts! I love giving them and getting them. Birthdays, Christmases, housewarmings, baby showers, anniversaries and many more celebrations have gift giving as an integral part. A thoughtful gift can make someone's day or their year or even their whole life! It's a wonderful way to show people how much you appreciate them and make them happy. Though it's not always joyful and sometimes a big source of stress. I often felt that all gifts had to top the last, be super special and had to be bought. The stress definitely was not conducive to the festive spirits. The feeling of stress associated with the pressure of gift giving during Christmas has become something of a phenomenon too.
As a pleasant side effect of minimalism, I stress less about presents. Now, I think the present is simply just the cherry on the cake, rather than the whole cake itself. The cake in this allegory is spending quality time with the recipient of the gift. When I think this way there's much less pressure on getting the perfect present and so the present comes from a happy place as opposed to a stressful place. I have accepted the fact that not every present you give someone is going to represent how much they mean to you.
Nowadays I try not to clutter the gift recipient's life with stuff just for the sake of giving. I am more thoughtful about the whole experience than I ever was, which has resulted in better presents. I am trying to give presents that are experiences rather than physical objects. Think movie passes, special event tickets, dinners and picnics. Gifts that allow us to make memories and enjoy the company of the people we care for. And when I can't think of an earth shatteringly amazing present that's going to make the other person's life amazing, I am okay with it because I know what I give as a present doesn't define me or our relationship. In these situations, flowers and homemade consumables are my stress-free go-to presents. Flowers are a perennial* favourite with almost everyone and won't clutter up because they eventually wilt and die**. Homemade consumables like jams and preserves are thoughtful and sweet, and they can be used up. No clutter, yay!
Last Christmas, I made everyone the same thing, an edible coconutty chocolate body scrub (they are the ones in the photo). It was a resounding success because I wasn't stressed and people seemed to genuinely like it. I think I am going to continue this tradition, it's more fun.
With Love and Simplicity,
*bad pun intended
** bit too morbid for a gift? I think I am overthinking this!