Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Get Everyone in Your Life a ‘One Less Gift’ Certificate

Gift giving/receiving season got you stressed? Not sure what to get people when you’re trying to promote simpler living? Not sure what to do about unwanted gifts that don’t fit with your less is more lifestyle? Francine Jay, aka Miss Minimalist, has a solution: It’s the “One Less Gift” Certificate.

Jay’s certificate (available to download as full-page PDF), promotes a “stuff-free holiday.” The certificate expresses appreciation for the receiver’s generous spirit, but says that the giver has everything she “could possibly want” and would prefer that both parties have one less thing to worry about, along with more time, money, stress and environmental responsibility.

The certificate is a two way proposition, saying both what the giver wants (no stuff) and what the receiver will get (no stuff). It then proposes to find other ways to enjoy this enjoy the wonderful season together. Jay gives examples of what that looks like: Volunteering, exchanging good deeds, protecting the environment and more.

Gift giving is a very touchy subject. For many, being told that they cannot give a gift is a grave offense. Who is anyone to say you can’t give what you want? Yet many of the gifts that are given–especially to people trying to simplify their lives–end up being immediately discarded. The gift is basically wasted time, money and resources. And yes, you can always donate, but that that seems like a quick fix, rather than a real behavioral shift.

How are you handling the upcoming gift season? And what do you think about Jay’s certificate? Would you give it to someone? What would you do if you received it? Let us know.

via Huffington Post

  • gainingspace

    I love this certificate, thank you! It’s brilliant, honest, and truthful.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to gracefully tell my mother that I want to abstain from Christmas gifts this year — This certificate articulately states what I wished to say.

    Thank you!

  • thank you for this! going to pass it along to friends/family. started thinking this year about taking my kids on a trip or to a broadway show instead of a bunch of junky toys that we dont have room for in our apt anyway. and will just end up in a landfill in a few years. start giving them experiences they can carry with them forever. this really helps.

  • Frances

    Great idea, Francine! I’ve been doing my best to encourage the above over the last couple of years, but hadn’t thought of getting the message across via a certificate. Going to keep it in mind!

  • If I were receiving soooooo many gifts that were useless or were just crowding up my house and I was a total snob, I would use your certificate. The way to persuade people about having less stuff is not to insult them with your superior intelligence. The way to persuade is to lead by example and be a good person while doing it. I really never thought much about having too much stuff until I started reading your posts. Then I realized, I could do without a lot of stuff and so could the world. Your examples of a simpler, less cluttered life persuaded me. Not some holier than thou gift certificate. Seriously. My feelings would be hurt to the core if I were to receive that certificate. The masses (including me) need a gentler, kinder way to be moved by a message.

  • dejrr

    This is a very sticky issue. At the worst, gift-giving is an obligation, an unneeded expense, and results in stuff people don’t need and want. But at its best, it can promote family bonds. That’s very important. I think it’s more about scaling down — the number of people outside of our immediate circle whom we give to, and the number, kind and quality of gifts we do give.

  • Paul

    Recently I was trying to convince some of my family (as we are now all adults) to adstain from giving each other so many gifts at Xmas. However, some members of the family had already bought presents for everyone else weeks ago! So now I (and everyone else) feel compelled to buy gifts. This is the problem at Xmas, you have to convince the entire group that we arent going to exchange gifts. Everyone has to agree, otherwise it just wont work. After all if you knew you were going to get a gift at Xmas and you had nothing for the other person you just end up looking like an a*** hole.

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  • Ben

    Last year I tried to give friends charity gift certificates enclosed with my Christmas cards, but the response was very disappointing. It’s just not clear to the recipient what needs to be done (entering a redemption code on a charity clearinghouse website) and how this qualifies as a thoughtful feel-good gift from a committed minimalist.

    The “One Less Gift” Certificate is even more confusing and is too negative (describing what I DON’T want and what you WON’T get). Better to simply demonstrate how stuff-free giving can be fun and unique. It’s easy to give elegant cards that list thoughtful “shared experience” gifts that you want your recipients to choose from. But it’s NOT easy to communicate (AHEAD OF TIME!) that you also expect to receive only “experience” gifts (dinners, events, short road trips to unique destinations, etc.) and that you have no room or desire for more stuff.

  • tauntless

    I hate the holiday season, we’re all adults and it’s just not fun for anyone, this year I gave my mom a gift certificate to a local hot-tub spa and given how bad this winter was it was the best gift I could have given her. Next year I’m doing stuff like this for all my relatives, figure out what services they need and giving them certificates for that instead.