December 05, 2013

The Gift Of Not Giving A Thing

I can't stop thinking about this article, written by Christella Morris on Huffington Post recently, and I really needed to share it with you too.

I spend a lot of time thinking.  Sometimes I wonder if my views on gifting are really OUT THERE. 
I know for sure that there are many people who don't, or won't agree with my gifting philosophy, and that's perfectly OK with me. The more I think and write about it, the more passionate I am about #slowgifting, the art of making gifts, supporting handmade business, local business and gifting time and experiences like this.

Inevitably, my conversations around mid-November go a little something like this:

How's your Christmas shopping going?
Me: "oh, well I'm pretty much finished"
FINISHED? (often followed by a long pause)
Me: Well, yes.  I love the holidays and I spend a lot of time planning what I'm going to gift.  I plan my gifts far in advance and do a lot of my shopping in the summer, and online. It's kind of my happy thing.

Other person usually either a) drops conversation or b) tells me how little they have completed.

Sometimes these interactions leave me feeling guilty, which (I know) is ridiculous. Why should I feel badly about something that makes me really happy? Something that I'm good at? Something that (I hope) brings joy to the lives of others?

Here's one thing I feel I know for sure.  Giving gifts should NOT be stressful. Giving a gift should be something that makes you feel real joy at making another person happy.  I should mean something to you, and to the other person.

Another thing I know for sure.  If you would like to follow this philosophy of "The Gift of Not Giving A Thing" with my daughter, (or with me, for that matter), it would be extraordinarily meaningful.

If you have a child in your life, and you are not sure what to gift, really think about this as an option.  Ask the child's parents what they think - it may not be "acceptable" to all, but I'm willing to bet that there are many parents out there who would consider the gift of time and experiences an amazing gift.

We need more of this in our world.  What do you think?


  1. I think this is wonderful, Alison, and you should not feel guilty! I too tried this year to start my holiday shopping early, buying locally made handmade items when I've been at craft shows and such (and been doing the same thing for baby gifts for friends!) I agree, that giving gifts should not be stressful (and I don't know how this time of year became so full of stress, which is the opposite of what it should be), and we need more of giving the gift of time and experiences rather than things. (Some of my family members, I have, noticed, actually do appreciate experiential gifts much more!)

  2. I'd definitely like to get to this point. I love the idea of slow gifting, but I'm finding I'm not giving myself enough time to make it happen. I do usually end up finding something very meaningful and/or handmade, but I'd rather not stress myself out about it all, which often happens. More ease if gifting, I love it!