Minimalist Gift Giving

The world is in a temporary Japanese tizzy over Marie Kondo, and 79.9%* of Americans spent their 3-day MLK weekends cleaning out their stuff. The process of going through your items, thanking each of them and purging them is both batshit crazy and cathartic. Taking bins of stuff to Goodwill and giving away all of your worldly possessions feels so good in the moment, and it is, but sticking with the KonMari style of living requires a constant vigilance about what you bring back into your house, and it pretty much means never going to HomeGoods or Target again, am I right?

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True story: After being a slave to it for years, I gave up my Amazon Prime membership a year ago. I took away my easy access to the goods. Despite the fact that I live in America where anything can be purchased at every moment, because I have two kids, I never get to stores to buy anything. The last time I took my kids they used their tiny devil fingers to drag every single SKU price tag in the grocery store to the end of the aisle so it looked like the stuff at the end cost $1.99.99.1.69.4.29.2.49×1000. And I had to run out and change my name and stop shopping there. But, I digress.

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Attempting to live a more minimal existence is about a thousand tiny little decisions you make every day, and with kids it is way more complex because you only get caught throwing away your kids’ crap oncetwice, ok three times before you realize you are guaranteeing they will be in therapy one day. I used to think it was crazy when I bought something used and the mom asked me to come under the cover of darkness to pick it up. Like, lady, just tell your kids you’re selling it, why don’t you? Now, I get it. I’m that lady who sells things under the cover of darkness and then collects my mat money the next day.

One of the areas that has had an extra challenge in my life is gifts. Since I Marie Kondo’d over a year ago, a process that took over 6 months, I have become more conscious of the gifts we give and receive. So, when my wise friend Fontaine made a post this week about gift ideas she loves for people, it inspired me to post this list, many borrowed from her and crowd sourced, in an attempt to give you all some new ideas for gift giving all of the KonMariers in your lives. Really, these are just thoughtful ideas for people you love, who have everything, or who are hard to buy for or who you just plain want to make happy.

Your Partner

  1. Take the kids away for a weekend or longer and let them have the house to themselves for a bit. Moms- we never get to be in a quiet house- we always have to leave to get peace- amiright?
  2. Pre-arranged and paid for girls or guys night out or trip with friends. This is particularly good for husbands who have great friends but never make plans with them, but always want to. 
  3. Fly in a good friend for the weekend, or vice versa. This is the best. Import a bestie.
  4. A surprise golf/spa/shooting/wine tasting/pick your poison relaxation day.
  5. Pre-arranged date night – surprise them, book the sitter and get a reservation and an uber. I love to tell my husband at 5 pm when we’re both losing our minds to go get dressed, because we’re getting out of jail.
  6. Get their car detailed or install an autostarter for the winter (my #1 gift this year)
  7. A date jar – filled with ideas that they get to choose from for the year. Get creative.

For Friends/Family

  1. Subscriptions: there are so many now. A subscription to a great magazine (I’m looking at you Magnolia Home). A subscription to a clothing service for a friend who has lost weight or has a new job. A subscription to the meat of the month club (it exists!)
  2. A jar of soup! Double your recipes – give a jar away every week – I do this every single week, and I love to surprise people with a jar of homemade soup.
  3. A copy of a favorite book with a handwritten note as to why you thought they would enjoy it, why it made you think of them, etc. I am buying this book for everyone this year. I will routinely buy 4-5 copies of a book I love just to have something to give a friend when I need something. Girl, Wash Your Face is another great gift book, as is Michelle Obama’s book.
  4. A contribution to a charity that you know is meaningful to them. Write them a card telling them you donated on their behalf.
  5. Print out a photo from memorable time together and frame it. HomeGoods FTW. Most gorgeous frames.
  6. For a milestone – a Boombox is a curated box of memories and cards. Long gone are the days of scrapbooking- this makes collaboration so much easier.
  7. A class together: from cooking, to watercolor – classes are much more fun together, and you get to spend time together, too. I got my mom a gift certificate for her and 3 of her tennis friends to go drink wine and paint a canvas this year.
  8. A gift certificate for a few hair cuts- most men have to get their hair cut every 2-3 weeks, and if you know where a woman gets her haircut, you can treat her there

For kids:

  1. Consumables – art supplies, playdough, watercolors, stickers, and crayons or markers. Drawing pads, washi tape.
  2. Homemade playdough- you can make this with your kids with three ingredients and give it in ziplocks with a note added – the making can be a great activity for a rainy day.
  3. Experiential gifts- a day together, a museum or indoor play space membership, classes.

Friends In Need

  1. A cleaning service – this is a huge blessing for those who are struggling and may not need meals
  2. Offer to set up a MealTrain for them – it is free, takes five minutes and can be adjusted/set to their preferences.
  3. Offer to make a grocery run for them, get their list, do the leg work and treat them
  4. Deliver a freezer meal- sometimes when people are in need food pours in, and then it goes dry- a freezer meal with clear instructions can be really nice for people to have on hand for when they need a meal.
  5. A regular “walking” date  (love this one, Fontaine!) is the gift of your time with no obligation for either of you to spend money.
  6. A regular night of support – when a friend’s husband was away recently for a month around the holidays, I put myself on her calendar every Wednesday. It took away the need for communication, and made it easy for me to support her. I brought dinner, and fed our kids.

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For New Moms

  1. Offer to come and help with housework. Hold the baby while she showers, and do a few loads of laundry, unload the dishwasher. Don’t stay too long.
  2. Offer to watch the baby while the new parents take a walk or go to lunch for an hour. Often, it’s hard to find someone willing. Or, offer to take the baby on a walk while the parents take a nap.
  3. Offer to pick up groceries
  4. Frozen lactation cookie dough balls that can be baked anytime
  5. An appointment for a blow out at a blow dry bar while you walk the baby around in the stroller

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For a Hostess

  1. Everyone offers to bring something for the meal, but how many people think about the next morning? My friend Emily pioneered the idea of bringing delectable homemade or bakery muffins or croissants and fresh juice or coffee with a little note for “after the guests are gone!”. Your hosts will be thinking of you the next morning
  2. A mason jar of flowers; include the tops to the jars so they are functional once they are done as vessels; you can use old jars from spaghetti sauce and clean them up. One friend likes to give a set of 4 mason jars so they can put little pops of color around the house.
  3. A potted succulent that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and can be displayed inside or outside.
  4. I love to bring a basket of fresh farmers berries (see above) and a vintage berry basket.

I’d love to keep adding to this list as you think of more ideas – so post in the comments or in the comments on the Facebook page and I’ll add!

*completely made up statistic

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