A Minimalist Guide to Giving and Receiving Gifts

With the holidays fast approaching it feels like the pressure to buy the perfect gift can sometimes overshadow the joy of the season. For those of us that prefer a more minimalist approach to life, and the holidays, I have put together a minimalist guide to giving and receiving. I hope you find some of these ideas helpful and take and share some of them with your family or friends this holiday season. 

The older I get, the more I realize I cherish memories over objects or items. I also appreciate the thought that goes into a well-planned gift, or beautifully wrapped package just as much as the item itself. To me, it shows that the gift-giver put extra effort into creating a special experience – right down to the wrapping. This is why I try to add special touches to all the packages I give out around the holidays. 

Elegant Wrapping for the Environmentalist 

I always try to remember my reusable bags when I go grocery shopping, however, there are times when I forget or am caught without them and end up having to get the brown paper bags instead. When that happens, I save them up throughout the year to repurpose during the holiday season for gift wrap. If the outside is printed with a store label, I simply cut the bag open and turn it inside out. Brown paper grocery bags are sturdy, look beautiful once you add your personal touches, and the best part is that they can be recycled, unlike most traditional wrapping paper that has foil or sparkles added to the pattern. 

I like to collect sprigs of greenery, fallen leaves, pine cones, twigs or other natural elements to add to packages. 

Embellish with twine, string, washi tape, and try your hand at calligraphy. Have fun with it and customize the packages to the recipient. These are always so fun to create and are such a hit!  

That’s the Ticket! 

There are some people on my list that have everything, and don’t want anything. For these people, I love gifting them experiences and shared time together. 

Making memories with loved ones is the most important gift of all, so if I have the opportunity to gift a memory-making experience, I will. Whether or not you gift tickets to the ballet, a movie, baseball game, cooking class, dinner out, tickets to your local museum, or even “tickets” to a homemade spa day, the recipient is sure to love it. I know I love giving and receiving these types of gifts because it means quality time spent with the people I love and care about. 

Something Sweet for Someone Sweet 

It is no surprise that holiday baking would be on this list! I believe that baking up your favourite sweet treat for your friends, family, or coworkers can be one of the sweetest minimalist gestures. Taking the time to cook or bake for someone is such a loving, nourishing act. Plus, who doesn’t like a delicious treat during the holiday season? 

Add Something Extra 

Sometimes you found the perfect gift, but you feel like you need just a little something extra. Or maybe you need a small hostess gift or something to add to the cooking class tickets you found. 

One thing I am trying out this year is drying out orange slices in the oven and making them into ornaments that I will attach to gifts. 

I am also looking forward to giving out bags of fresh cranberries, oranges (that friends and family can slice up), cinnamon sticks, clove, allspice, and star anise. These little bundles can be poured into a pot of water and simmered on the stove all holiday season for the most delightful scent. 

Giving Back This Holiday Season 

A cause that is near and dear to my heart is The Michael’s Daughter Foundation. This is a non-profit charity I founded in 2011 that helps youth and their families who are impacted by the prison system. Our mission is to provide art programs to underserved communities and to provide scholarships to college students who have been impacted by incarceration or who have family in the prison system. Please visit www.michaelsdaughter.org to find out more or to see how you can help the cause today. 

Please consider donating to Michael’s Daughter, or to any charity that is close to your heart this holiday season. Your help can mean the world to someone who is in need. 

Happy Holidays! 


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Actress & Creator of The In Trive

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