I've been reading a lot of minimalism and decluttering blog posts about "just saying no" to Christmas gifts. Give other people donations of time. Have other people give you donations of experiences. Great idea, right? Not in my family.
Most of us who dare trying to downsize and declutter had lives with too much stuff, or still do.
Where exactly did we pick up this bad habit? You guessed it -- our families. The very people who will ignore you when you say, "oh, I don't need anything!" and may think you're being cheap when you give them an IOU for trip to the local park.
It's time for a compromise. The best way to end up with crap you don't want is to tell people that you don't want anything.The alternative is to find items and experiences that you want and KNOW you will use.
I call it the Lite Christmas List. (This also works for weddings, BTW. We tried it and I think we got half the gifts we would've gotten otherwise.) Here's how you do it:
1. You are going to go to Amazon.com and make a wish list.
2. You are going to get the Amazon Universal Registry Button and add it to your browser. This button allows you to add items to your amazon wish list or registry from ANY page on the web.
3. Now go hunt the web for experiences, gift cards, and digital items. Here's what I asked for:
- Concert tickets. I love Lady Antebellum!
- A gift card to the restaurant that my coworkers and I go to each month.
- A few e-books.
- Charitable donations to Polar Bears International.
- A gift membership to our CSA.
4. Then, you can go back and add stuff. Consumables and needed items only! Here were my choices:
- Nut-free chocolates. A rare treat with my peanut allergy.
- Canning jars. We use loads of these in the summer and fall.
- A new cell phone wallet. My current one has been so loved that it's tearing and no repair I make seems to fix it.
- A keyboard attachment my doctor wants me to get to help my tendonitis.Ah, the joys of being a web developer.
Check out my Amazon Lite Christmas List. Are you making one? Post it below and pass on the ideas!
For the other folks in your life -- ASK them what kinds of experiences or consumables they want! Asking people what they want really is the best way to avoid giving stuff they won't use (even if you're only giving consumables).
And it is possible to still keep your gifts a surprise! You don't have to be specific. Causally ask someone what their favorite candy is and make a big gift basket of it. Or find out what sports game they'd love to go to but have never been able to. Gift massages, spa trips, romantic dinners and weekend getaways. You can think of plenty more and I'd love to hear your suggestions for a "lite Christmas!"