Imagine this, you’re a minimalist and you’ve told your family as such.
You told them you don’t need gifts this year, maybe you told them to donate to a charity instead. You’ve done everything you can to cover your bases. But still, around the tree on Christmas morning or at your annual gift exchange, your loved ones present you with a gift, or two, or seven.
You don’t want to be rude or hurt anyone’s feelings, so you bring all of your gifts home. And now you’re stuck with what to do with them.
Not to worry! I’ve got some suggestions on how you can keep your minimalist sanity – post-Christmas.
Are the items useful?
Maybe you got something useful for Christmas this year. I, for instance, asked for and received a butter dish! It is a useful item that adds value to my kitchen.
Do you already own something like it?
You can only own so many butter dishes before you should start questioning your sanity.
Likewise, if the gifts you received are duplicates of items you already own, you shouldn’t feel obligated to keep them.
Will you actually use it?
I don’t already own a cheese fondue machine, and technically, it is a useful item. But I doubt I would ever use one if I had one. The same goes for an ugly Christmas sweater.
Be honest and realistic about what gifts you could actually see yourself incorporating into your daily life.
Do you like it?
If you don’t like a gift, it shouldn’t take up valuable space in your closet, bathroom, kitchen, etc.
What should you do with items that:
- Are not useful?
- You already own?
- You won’t use?
- Or you don’t like?
Below are some examples of what you could do with items you received as gifts that won’t fit into your life! This is not an exhaustive list and I’d love to hear your ideas too!
- Donate to your local library.
- Give to your friends to enjoy and start a lending library!
- Donate to charity, a women’s or youth shelter, etc.
- Sell at a consignment store.
- Give to friends who could use them!
- Return if possible.
- Gift to local schools for education purposes (item dependent).
- Sell/Swap/Trade on Kijiji, Craigslist or Ebay.
- Return if possible.
- Sell using a service like CardSwap.
- Donate to a local charity that accepts gift cards, such as Covenant House.
- Regift them to a family or friends in need.
- Host a dinner party & use the food gifts to feed your guests!
- Donate unopened food to your local food bank.
- Donate to a women’s or youth shelter.
- Return, if possible.
If you are worried about next Christmas already, have another (or several more) convserations with your family about the importance of minimalism in your life.
If that seems too confrontational for you, just live by example! If your loved ones see how happy you are living minimally, it might rub off on them!
Christmas and the holidays can be overwhelming if you’re an established or aspiring minimalist. But with the right tools, you can sweep through the season with your minimalist street cred mostly unscathed.