Shopping for Christmas gifts can be lots of fun... or it can be an angst-filled, nerve-wracking experience that culminates in buying something that neither you nor the recipient will be even remotely happy with. What do you get for the friend who's a minimalist, hates 'stuff', or already has everything they could ever want? Here are five ideas.
When I was younger we would ask my mother what she wanted for Christmas or her birthday, and she would always say: "time, money, and energy." Which was frustrating because you can't really give your mother an envelope full of cash, and nobody can give anyone else any extra time or energy. Except that... now you can. With services like Uber (car service) and Homejoy (house cleaning), you can actually give the gift of convenience. It's not especially romantic, but I know some people who would really appreciate this.
Giving a gift of a goat or duck through a company like Oxfam, or making a donation in your friend's name to a charitable cause they're passionate about, is a great way to show you care — and it doesn't take up any space. This guide to gifts that give back is full of ideas.
There's a reason food is a time-honored holiday gift — everyone likes to eat, and once you're done you don't have anything cluttering up the house. Think of your recipient's favorite foods (and drinks!) and get them something they haven't tried (bacon chocolate? spicy honey?), or something luxurious they wouldn't buy for themselves. Whatever you do, stay away from those giant segmented popcorn tins (unless your friend really, really likes popcorn).
4. An experience.
Whether it's hang-gliding, a day at the rock gym, or a calligraphy class, an experience makes a great gift for someone who already has plenty of stuff. It won't take up any space on their shelves... but it may provide some pretty great memories.
5. Your time.
In a busy busy world where everybody is scrambling from place to place, one of the most powerful things you can give someone is your time. Offer to take your mom to a museum you know she'll love, or treat a friend to a dinner at a fancy restaurant. You could even offer to cook them a homemade meal, if you're short on funds — the important thing is that you're showing you care, and that they're spending time with you.
Pictured above: Mod Geo wrapping paper from Anthropologie (in case you need something really pretty to wrap the popcorn tin).