Ah Christmas shopping… we have a love hate relationship!!

I love being able to buy gifts for those I love. But I also hate it when I can’t find something that I know they’ll love and I spend hours browsing just wishing the perfect gift would show itself to me. I don’t find my own kids that hard because I know them so well I know their hearts desire. But if you don’t live under the same roof as me you can almost guarantee I’ve struggled with what to buy you for Christmas.

As a bit of a minimalist I really don’t want to contribute to unnecessary consumerism and purchase something I either know you won’t use or something that you won’t find beauty in. My preference is to give gifts that are practical, can be used up or are experiences. Which is harder to find that just the newest toy, craze or the newest homeware.

I wish I could tell  you what the perfect gifts are for your loved ones (of course you could buy them all a copy of my book… {subtle plug there…} but since I can’t prescribe presents, I’ll share with you some guidelines I use when purchasing gifts.

Experiences

Everyone loves a good experience, but sometimes the mundane of life takes over and we forget to get out into our cities to enjoy something different. Buying an experience is a great way to create memories and help our friends and family have fun doing something new.

My kids LOVE experiences – concerts, shows, circuses, swimming with dolphins, water parks, theme parks, movies, rock climbing… you name it they love it. And they prefer it so much over physical gifts. Last year my sisters and I decided not to buy gifts for eachother or any of the kids and instead we’d go on a big family day out to a water theme park not far from where we live. Everyone had such a great time, kids didn’t miss having extra gifts to open on Christmas Day and it was such a great success we’re going it again this year – we all can’t wait!

Another way to give an experience if your budget doesn’t allow for something like a concert is to give a personal experience voucher. You may offer a night of babysitting so a couple can go out. You could write an invitation for a niece or nephew to come to your house for popcorn and a movie for their birthday. Take a girlfriend out for a pedicure or coffee instead of buying her something she may not use. Your time is such a precious gift to give those you love.

Practical

If you’re someone who has a trade and you know your friend could use your skills, let them know their present is they get you for a couple of hours to help them around the house. Offer to do an afternoon of gardening with a friend, or if you love to declutter you could offer to help them sort through the shed or spare room.

If you’re time poor and would prefer to buy a gift, a voucher for Bunnings is always well appreciate by home owners. One of my favourite gifts was for a couple of years my mum would pay for her cleaner to come to my place on my birthday. It was awesome having someone else clean the house and I would sit with a cuppa and book while she was here, feeling completely guilt free!

Disposable

You may think this is in contrast to trying to reduce my contribution to consumerism, but giving gifts that are disposable can sometimes be the perfect gift.

Think things like craft projects for kids (you know they’ll use them and although they’ll eventually be thrown out, they have given them an activity for a few hours). Or ingredients for playdough for a young child is a great idea. I’ve also enjoyed over the years receiving a recipe with all the ingredients… or a simple box of chocolates and wine always make for a nice Saturday night in our house.

So whoever you’re buying for this year, give thought to how you can give a gift that will give them a great experience, be a practical gift or something that is disposable – the options are endless!!

Enjoy the Freedom,

Amy x