Not wanting her minimalism to dampen the joy of gift-giving, reader Patricia asks for some suggestions for gifts to give and receive that are not objects. Here’s a few of my favorites:
1) My absolute favorite gift to give and receive is time together. Consider tickets to an activity you both enjoy like a sports event, a play or a trans-continental train ride. A trip to Europe would be welcome. Once, I gifted my father tickets to the Glen Miller Orchestra (a favorite of his youth.) Mom, dad and I attended the concert together. I have seen my father cry just twice in his lifetime. On the day his mother died, and when he was thanking me for the gift of the concert.
2) Consumables: Sure, chocolate, wine and cheese are good. But how about postcards and stamps? Crossword puzzle books? Handmade soap? Firewood? Decorations made from nature that will decompose, like flowers, pumpkins, ivy, pinecones, etc. I knew a woman who loved to grow flowers. She collected vases from friends and thrift shops. All summer long she created beautiful floral arrangements and delivered them to the local nursing homes.
3) Purchase digital services like I-tunes or Shutterfly.
4) Photos (print or digital) of your loved one’s family. Preferably ones they could not easily get themselves like antique family photos that you have copied for the whole family or candid snapshots of your nieces and nephews when you have them for a sleepover.
5) A gift to a charity that you both admire. The Red Cross. The Heifer Project. Habitat for Humanity. Physicians Without Borders. You get the idea.
6) A gift of service. Cleaning out the gutters of an elderly homeowner. Babysitting for new parents. Use of your guest bedroom, if you live in a place people like to visit. If you have a talent like photography or baking the most amazing treats, you can offer to do that for a special occasion.
We are limited only by our lack of imagination.