With Christmas coming up, gifting and receiving presents is on everyone's lips. I have read a lot of articles about Christmas presents and consumerism, especially around the US Black Friday (which is a quite bizarre phenomenon viewed from across the Atlantic).
Some minimalists have very extreme views about presents, deciding to tell their friends they don't need any and to not gift any either - see this article for example. Others emphasize how spending your money on gifts can make you happier than spending it on yourself.
I thought I might share my train of thoughts on the subject.
Presents and Materialism
The Art of Giving
Receiving Gifts and Minimalism
The course of action I have chosen is to let them know, along the year, about my views on objects, materialism and simplicity. Many of my relatives and friends read my blog and know all the questions I am asking myself on the subject, so they tend to avoid the "trinkets". Some decide to go for an experience such as tickets for a show or exhibit, or digital content. Others ask me for a list and I'll suggest either consumables like tea, incense, candles, chocolate or wine, or a specifc item from one of my wishlists, that I know I will use.
And sometimes, I do receive "unwanted gifts". But they are not "unwanted", because I am grateful for receiving this mark of affection from the person. And if, after a while, I can't find a use for it, then I think about giving it to someone who needs it more than I do. I don't think it is a cruel thing to do, because the important is to acknowledge the gesture, not the object itself...
What are your views on presents? Are there any specific traditions in your country?
PS: Happy Holidays, I hope you enjoy this season whatever your traditions are!