Around the holidays, it’s only natural for people to think about shopping for gifts. As The Deletist, I’m always mindful of giving people stuff. I work hard to make sure I’m not cluttering up my home with useless stuff. I can appreciate that my friends and family may feel the same way. So usually in the holiday season I aim to give gifts that will be used up or cherished instead of collecting dust and guilt in someone’s closet.
Here are some tips to keep holiday junk from creeping into your possessions.
- Focus on an experience instead of “stuff”. Treat your loved one to a nice dinner, a show, a class, a movie night instead of buying something.
- Buy your loved ones things that they will use or need. Wool socks can make a great gift! They’re not so fun and sexy, but super practical and useful. Every year I typically give my neighbors a 12-pack of their favorite beer and cider. It’s not so original, but I know they’ll drink and enjoy them. This year I strayed slightly and invited them to dinner at a restaurant we all like instead (see #1).
- Regift and/or barter/trade your existing items for something new. Last week I heard an interview on CBC’s Metro Morning program with a mom who did her holiday shopping by trading on a site called Bunz. It didn’t cost her money, but likely took up her time (read here). According to the website, “Bunz is a trade-based community for exchanging goods and services.” Basically people create posts for things they want to give away and other people make offers for it. No money exchanges hands.
- Ask people what they want and always include a gift receipt, no questions asked!
Another peeve of mine during the holiday is the waste generated from gifts and packages. Here are some tips for keeping the holidays greener.
- Reuse gift wrapping, gift bags, boxes, etc. Or use materials already in the house (e.g. paper grocery bags can be used to wrap gifts and then decorated).
- Leave the packaging in the store. Now when I buy shoes I leave the boxes behind.
- Send e-cards and e-invitations instead of all that paper.
Hopefully these tips will help you focus on the things that make the holidays special, like spending time with your loved ones, instead of racing around in a frenzy to purchase useless baubles.