You’ve just purged your closet for the FINAL time. From now on, only clothes that you LOVE to wear will be allowed in that closet. Gone are the days where you keep something that doesn’t fit quite right, isn’t exactly the right color or is missing a button that you swear you’ll get around to sewing back on (when you learn how to sew, that is).

You’re elated to have fewer clothes to choose from every day. You’ve just donated all of those clothes, even the world’s most comfortable jeans because they don’t fit the same as they used to. Someone else will get to enjoy those jeans now. Someone who may not have owned a pair of jeans when they really needed them.

Until the holidays roll around. The most asked question becomes, “What do you want for Christmas?”

“Nothing!” you say. “Really, I just got rid of a ton of stuff I didn’t use anymore, and I’ve got everything I need! Please don’t feel like you need to get me anything.”

I think it’s in our DNA to give gifts to others! Most of us enjoy hunting for that perfect gift for that special someone, picking out the funniest card, the coolest wrapping paper… and watching, with sheer delight, their reaction as they open that gift. Did you just get the warm and fuzzies while reading that?

For those of us who consider ourselves minimalists, or working towards becoming one, the holidays can be stressful. It’s not that we don’t enjoy giving or receiving gifts, but we may be running out of places to put them, we may be trying to avoid clutter, or we may feel guilty for receiving something we truly don’t “need” when there are so many others that need it.

As we enter the holiday season, here on some tips on giving and receiving gifts this year:

  1. Take some time to evaluate what you have/what others need. If you are asked by someone what you would like for Christmas, have a list prepared of items that you really could use or enjoy having around. Be thoughtful when buying gifts for others, too.
  2. Select a charity or a family in need, and suggest you and your friends or family consider donating to them instead.
  3. Suggest taking a trip to create lifelong memories!
  4. Suggest making something meaningful together. I have a friend who makes custom ornaments for her family. She finds the coolest photographs of her grandparents as youngsters, the home in which they grew up, and memorable moments of lost loved ones. Each year as you put up and take down the tree, you can reminisce on life’s sweet moments.

However long your gift list this year, don’t forget that spending time with your special someone’s will always mean one thousand times more than any gift that you’ll buy or receive from them. Christmas isn’t about buying gifts anyways. Merry Christmas!