The Gift List

You have joined us on the simple living journey! That is amazing! Congratulations!

Now what?

There are some things that you should think about besides decluttering that will give you peace of mind later. I am talking about gift giving.

I know you are probably going to say, "I don't want anything! I don't want to undo all of my hard work". I completely understand but not everyone will accept that so you will have to have a Plan B if you cannot convince people that you actually mean it when you say that you don't want anything. 

Have any of you ever felt the stress of trying to buy someone a gift? I know I sure have. Now add the fact that they are into minimalism and simple living so if they don't like it they won't keep it. Thats a lot of pressure!

We may be on a simple living journey but it is unfair to expect everyone to know how to respond especially if they have never heard of simple living or minimalism before.

We may be on a simple living journey but it is unfair to expect everyone to know how to respond. Some people that we have in our lives show their love by giving gifts. Other times it is a big family affair such as Christmas and it would look bad to leave someone out. To be fair to others in our lives and safe guarding your progress, you might need to come up with a middle ground if once you've had the conversation and they reject the idea of no gifts.

See I understand this struggle and have planned for it. My husband's love language is gift giving. Can you imagine how well that goes? Well, it goes really well actually. You see he is very thoughtful and spends a lot of time (often months) studying what I need. (See our Christmas story as an example). However, not everyone in your life lives with you to get as many clues as a spouse does.

So what do you do? How can we find the happy middle ground? The answer: a gift list!

I have two kinds of lists going at all times on my phone of things that I would love. The first list is my generic list. Here is what it looks like.

  1. Lush bath bomb
  2. Eucalyptus for drying to be used around house
  3. Gift cards (Sephora, credit card gift card, movie theater, Groupon, favorite restaurants..) 
  4. Subscription to a meal service (ex. Gobble, Blue Apron, Fresh)
  5. One hour house cleaning service (or something that makes my life easier)
  6. Luxury/pamper gift certificate: nails, hair cut, massage

My parents got Patrick and I a month subscription to Blue Apron and it was super great, helpful, and delicious. It made me excited to cook and I always thought of them. It was an amazing gift.

The other list I have ongoing is a combination of things I want/need but it is generally less fun than most gift givers are looking for. Here is a little example.

  1. Skinny black jeans
  2. Tennis shoes
  3. Wreck it Ralph DVD
  4. Austen Land DVD
  5. Gold cross earings
  6. Book: The Curated Closet
  7. New lenses for my camera
  8. A down comforter
  9. A photography class
  10. A cooking class

Now all of these things are very specific and the person buying it would really have to know me for 1, 2, 7, and 10. This list is still a bit stressful because they must know my size for the clothing or my tastes and goals for the class. Sometimes on this list I include pictures and examples not only for others benefit but my own as well.

This may take the fun out of it for some (although no one in my circle really likes shopping so they are grateful for my list) but it does safeguard the fact that they are not wasting their money. The gift giver knows I truly want the gift, will use it, and love it!

Sometimes it is a little awkward asking someone for their gift list so I give my husband, Patrick, access to this list by sharing it on our iPhones. I keep it updated and it automatically updates on his phone as well. If someone needs an idea for my birthday or Christmas, they know to reach out to him. I try not too buy to many things especially leading up to the big gift giving times like my birthday or Christmas so I can make this list a little longer with things that I need. 

You will appreciate having a back up plan, and those around you will appreciate the list. However, the people closest to you may surprise you. They might give you something that you never even thought of. This is definitely a learning curve for those that have never thought about living simply. Just remember to have humility and gratitude no matter what happens.

I say have humility because we don't always know best. I have had friends truly surprise me. For example, I absolutely love candles but I am not allowed to burn them at work. One day, my friend surprised me with a wall plug in that melts wax and fills the room with a beautiful scent. I would have never thought of something like this! I now always have an amazing smelling office. Everytime I smell it when I walk in, it brings me joy and I think of my friend!

The LAST and BEST TIP I have about gift giving and probably the most successful option if you truly can't convince the gift giver that you don't want anything is asking for an activity that you could do with the gift giver. This is usually the best option because not only does it safeguard your simple-living progress but it is a way of spending time together and creating more memories with those you love.

Its a triple win! 1) Nothing comes into your house 2) You get to spend time and create memories with someone you love 3) You get to do something fun and BONUS) You might get to learn something new!