Being a parent to a toddler means having to constantly figure out the best way to store and organize the regularly growing amount of toys. While some parents aren’t bothered by the overwhelming amount of bright colored plastic decorating their homes, some parents will do a secret dance when you bring their child a gift that doesn’t add to the clutter.
Everything comes with all these extra parts or accessories and no matter how hard you try to keep it all together, you can’t. We still have unopened toys that Ethan got for his birthday 6 months ago. He has a “random toy” drawer. He has a “random toy” basket.
We are busting at the seams with random things.
Most of them just end up under the couch. In an effort to keep the “stuff” to a minimum we try to switch out old toys with new toys, but that’s hard to do because just as soon as we decide what toy we are going to get rid of, that toy magically becomes his new favorite.
It’s not just my kid’s stuff though. I am tired of stuff in general.
We have the space that we have in our homes. We don’t get more space whenever we buy something. I have a storage unit that has stuff I haven’t even seen in 2 years and I obviously don’t miss most of it because I don’t even know what’s in there.
I know I’m not alone in my quest for less things and more experiences.
There’s a whole movement called minimalism that’s centered around improving your life by reducing the clutter around you. Happiness doesn’t come from owning the most stuff. It comes from living your best life.
Here is my minimalist guide to gift giving that will help you be a more conscious yet thoughtful gift giver:
#1: Digital Movies or Digital Albums or Digital Books
Instead of buying hard copies, buy digital copies. Not only is it less clutter but digital copies are more portable because they can be accessed on multiple devices.
#2: Tickets or Membership to a Museum, Aquarium, or Zoo
This is one of my faves! You could get just a couple of tickets and they could upgrade to a membership if they wanted. But if you already know they would love it then just go ahead and get a membership. Most of the kid focused museums have a membership that includes the parent or guardian at the base price. Bonus: When you get a membership you are supporting the museum which is likely a non-profit organization.
#3: Tickets to an Event, Concert, Show, or Place
This is a great one to think about all year long. It could be a little tricky for concerts or events, but you have to know your audience on this one. Segerstrom Center for the Arts has fantastic children’s theater events throughout the year.
#4: A Class or an Activity
Maybe a month of My Gym or a session of ballroom dancing? A punch card to an indoor bounce place, ceramics class, mommy & me ballet, skateboarding lessons…there are so many fun activities for kids and parents in our area!
#5: A Pampering Experience
A day at a spa, a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, sauna, or maybe all of them! Just because this is a minimalist guide to gift giving doesn’t mean the present can’t be maximally relaxing.
#6: A Brewery or Winery Experience
This one can go beyond a tasting session with a tour. In SoCal, there are no shortages of wineries or breweries. And speaking of tasting sessions, they have tasting sessions for tea, kombucha, chocolate, and even foodie tours.
#7: Gift Cards
I say this one with a disclaimer. I don’t really like to give gift cards because I generally find them impersonal. Also, this is just another way to give someone “stuff.” One exception is you know someone with a need. A need for clothes for their quickly growing child, a need to buy groceries, a need to make purchases for their start-up business, or any actual need not want really. The other exception is gift cards for experiences like I mentioned above. Some people just really prefer gift cards and that’s okay too. Just be mindful of why you are giving a gift card.
#8: Consumable Items or Subscriptions
The first thing I think of is wine/cheese/chocolate/beer/popcorn/bacon/(you get it) of the month. They literally have a subscription box for all consumable items. The second thing I think of is meal delivery subscription. These are usually available in one-time or monthly options. Obviously, you want to make sure that the gift matches the recipient but these are great gifts that won’t be hanging around for long.
#9: Service Subscriptions
Audible, Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, or even Amazon Prime are a few services that people pay for every year or every month. Why not cover their next payment by buying them a subscription?
#10: Family Night or Date Night
Put together a couple of the above options and make a nice family/couple package. For example, tickets and dinner or a digital movie and a “Popcorn Box.” This one provides a lot of possibilities!
Wishing you a holiday season of less plastic and more fantastic!