It's the week before Christmas and Twitter feeds everywhere are packed full of gift guides. Luxury gift guides, budget gift guides, last minute gift guides: there's no shortage of suggestions on what we should be buying for our friends and loved ones. But what if you're a minimalist, or you're buying for a minimalist? How can you give well without burdening your recipients with stuff? Worry not! My minimalist gift guide gives you the lowdown.
Give a gift that disappears
If you're going to be sitting around the Christmas tree to open presents, it's nice to be able to give a physical gift. Rather than offering something that could hang around for ever, a gift that can be fairly quickly consumed could be the perfect thing. Lush bath bombs, chocolates, a favourite bottle of wine, or a hamper of delicious treats and goodies will always be well received, and has the benefit of disappearing as soon as your recipient puts it to use.
Give a voucher or an experience
If you know your minimalist doesn't want a physical gift, what about spending some money to allow them to experience something that they love? If they like to read, how about a voucher for Audible or Amazon? If you know they love nothing more than dining out, grab a gift card for a local restaurant. Perhaps they enjoy spa treatments but don't often treat themselves, making a voucher for a massage or a facial an extra special treat. Vouchers are often thought of as the easy option for non-minimalist friends, but for those amongst us who want to limit our possessions, it can be the perfect chance to buy just what we need.
What to buy for the person who has everything they need? How about making a donation in their name? Many charities offer the opportunity to cover the costs of a gift, a treatment or an intervention, which can make an incredible difference to somebody. There are more worthy causes than I can list here, but you're bound to find something that really resonates with your loved one, making this an extra special gift.
Buy a little luxury
Just because you're buying for a minimalist doesn't mean that your gift needs to be frugal or spartan. If you want to splash out, why not buy a luxurious item that replaces something you know that they use often, or an indulgence you know they'd love? It could be a simple gadget, some beautiful glassware, or a design piece that would fit perfectly in their home. If they often wear a black sweater, why not treat them to a beautiful cashmere replacement? Stick to simple things that you know they'll love, and you won't go far wrong.
If your budget is tight, why not do something for your loved ones? From cooking dinner, offering your skills, to planning a day out to a museum or gallery, think of the things that matter and craft an experience around that.
If in doubt, ask!
I think this one is a great idea whoever you're buying for, but asking a minimalist what they want is the perfect solution. It gives them the opportunity to tell you exactly what it is they want, meaning that you'll limit the chance of missing the mark. Whilst part of the joy of Christmas is in sourcing and giving a surprise gift, we hopefully want to get something that the recipient will truly enjoy. Asking might not be the most exciting option, but it's a sure fire way of nailing your gift giving. It also means you have a great idea of what they might like next year!
And if you're a minimalist who's buying for friends and family?
Don't be afraid to share your philosophy when buying for your loved ones. Of course, if you know they want something that you'd never buy for yourself, don't buy something 'minimal' for the sake of it: try and accept that you might be getting them something they really want, even if they have multiple versions! That said, all of the above gifts work well whoever you're buying for - minimalist or maximalist - so you're sure to find something that will bring joy without creating clutter!
What are your tips for a minimal Christmas, and what are your favourite minimalist gifts?