With the holiday season upon us, people get very wrapped up in the need to buy presents. Even though I don’t need things and for the most part I don’t want for much, it’s hardwired into people’s brains that they have to give me something. So today I wanted to share some of the things you can do when it comes to the gift giving season.
I think the first thing to do is long before the holiday season, share with those who might give you gifts that your lifestyle and priorities have shifted to have fewer items. You can frame this in the context of environmentalism, reduced-consumerism, simple living, minimalism; however you do this, people are going to be curious why, so be prepared to have a conversation. It’s important for them to understand that there is a greater purpose and/or goal behind your request. Now we tiny house folks often can’t shut up about our dream tiny house, so this isn’t usually an issue.
Next thing to do is consider the things that you really do need throughout the year, then consider if you could hold off getting it now and instead suggest it as a gift for the holidays. A great example in my own life is work shirts. I wear polos to work, but I only have 4 (I only go into an office 3 days a week), so they wear out with more frequent washings. I was about to retire my polos when I realized it was getting close to the holidays and I decided to wait and ask for new shirts.
So where possible, try to time things so people can give you things that you truly do need, but what about beyond that? Being that I don’t need a whole lot, I find that there are more people to exchange gifts with than I have needs. This is where I ask for experiences or consumables.
The great thing about these two things is that they don’t take up space (or not for long). Experiences can be having them take you out to dinner, going to see a movie, taking a weekend vacation, going on some adventure with them, having them cook you a meal and enjoying it together. The experience will be something that you both will value so much more than anything you can buy at the store.
The second thing is consumables. There are items like foods, drinks, candy, etc. that you can use, but they aren’t going to have to be stored forever. If you want to take it a step further, ask them to take into consideration the packaging of the item.
Great examples of consumables are baked goods. If they are a wine or beer drinker, consider wine/beer of the month clubs. If they are meat eaters, try some mail order steaks; for the vegetarians/vegans/raw folks consider local vendors that prepare meals to go that align with their food preferences. Buying someone a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture) is a fantastic option. A great place to start is with your local farmers market.
So those are just a few tips on how you might bring in the New Year and handle the gift giving season while still balancing it with living The Tiny Life.
How to do you talk with other about reducing your possessions during the holiday season?