Life is a gift, “A life not live for others is not a life.” by Mother Teresa. Live life, giving time, attention, presence, talent, love, caring, and support. When we think about giving, we mistakenly think about material gifts are the only thing make others happy, especially this time of the year? Far from the truth. Everything in life can be gifts – good, not so good, and bad. Yes, there can be not so good gift or even a bad gift. I love to give my time, attention, talents not only during the holiday season but also on special occasions.  It is a heavy burden receiving gifts I do not need or I don’t want. I am an extreme minimalist and very particular about what I give and receive. Although we have expressed we are not exchanging any material gifts, some would go over our boundaries and end up receiving things I totally don’t want. If that happens, we simply say “thank you” to the person, and those gifts end up in the Good Will Donation Center.  

Here are some guidelines we have implemented. 

Option 1: Absolutely no commercial, purchased gift. This means you have to make the gift by yourself. Ok, you can get materials that you get it from the store.  However, at least you have given careful thoughts, time, and your labor.  

Option 2: Consumable – items such as tea, coffee, high-quality chocolate. Home-made seasoning (I grow organic herbs, dry them, and bottle them). Same time, be careful with consumable which some items might not be good for everyone’s choice (we are whole food plant-based with no sugar, no oil, no salt, no egg, no dairy, no meat).

Option 3: Experience gifts: Tickets for concerts, museums, movies, events, massages, spa treatments.

Option 4: Give your time together for a meal and activities. If everyone has a different taste and diet, then everyone can cook and bring one’s favorite dish to share. Do activities together such as hiking, snow showing, walking.

Option 5: Volunteer at the local community center. Or donate to your favorite charity on behalf of their name.

 A perfect gift does not have to be required your credit card!