No More Presents, Please + Thank You

What to do if the gift of nothing doesn’t work

Photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash

For the kids

In all this hemming and hawing, I remembered a woman I worked with over 10 years ago who had a brilliant gift policy for her kids: no physical gifts allowed.

For adults

Even without the holidays and other obvious reasons, some people simply love to give gifts — it’s their Love Language®, or basically how they give and receive love. Although I wouldn’t open a bank account for an adult, here are a few other ideas of what to give that would respect a minimalist lifestyle and still satisfy a gift-giver.

  1. Experiences*: Movie tickets, spa treatments, theme park tickets, virtual reality games, wine tasting, the possibilities are endless. Groupon is great for these, and if your recipient has a favorite spa, hotel, or activity, keep that in mind if you’re looking to gift an experience. If your recipient is more of a homebody but loves watching movies, a gift card for movie rentals or a subscription to HBO might be a good option for them.
  2. General gift cards: A gift card to essential stores like Target, Costco, Amazon, grocery stores, or even DoorDash would be useful. These are more practical, but if your recipient wants less stuff, they will appreciate the ability to choose what they bring home.
  3. Specific gift cards: If you know your recipient has a favorite restaurant, brand, or pastime, a gift card to the restaurant or a store where they can buy hobby supplies is great. For example, I have a favorite brand of skincare, and a gift card to that store would make me so happy.
  4. Consumables: Something that the recipient can eat or drink is probably a good bet, but keep dietary needs in mind. Of course, it’s the thought that counts, but if you’re given a food item that you can’t eat, it’s a real bummer — trust me, I know: a boss once bought an ice cream cake for my birthday celebration at the office, but I’m lactose intolerant and couldn’t eat it! If you’re not sure about food allergies, ask the recipient directly or a friend or family member who would know that information.
  5. Donate to a cause: Some people don’t appreciate a donation to charity in their name, so this won’t work for everyone, but to me, this is a lovely gesture. I have a list of many local nonprofit organizations that I support when I can; if someone gave to one of these organizations to honor me, that would truly warm my heart.

Closing thoughts

This holiday season will be a new and interesting experience for many of us as we try to figure out safe ways to celebrate. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to buy for your minimalist friend or you’re trying to figure out how to politely tell your gift-giving family that you have all you need, this can be tricky territory to navigate.

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