Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Minimalism and Gifts

I got an early birthday gift from my Aunt Bella and Uncle Frank, a very cool coffee table type book about Gnomes :-)  I love it!

But as I sat reading through it at my desk and began to ponder where to keep it (on the desk with my set of essential books is what I decided) it occurred to me that gifts could be a problem if one is seeking to get into a more minimalist sort of lifestyle.  That's what I'm trying to do, with only a very little progress so far, but I'm trying to have fewer material possessions tying me down because they are hard to move, hard to keep tidy and get in the way a lot and force you to have bigger and more rooms than you would have if you were a true minimalist.  But if people keep giving me "stuff" I'm just treading water when I get rid of my older stuff.  Of course none of this applies to my Gnome book, that is so perfect and so me that I'm not going to get rid of it no matter how minimalist I get :-)

Of course giving gifts to that vast majority of people who just love having more and more "stuff" and bigger and bigger houses and cars and such, is pretty easy.  You just get them some more "glittery shiny stuff" and they put it somewhere in their giant house and everyone from the manufacturer of the "glittery shiny stuff" to the retailer who sells the "glittery shiny stuff" to the truck drivers who transports the "glittery shiny stuff" from one place to the other and all the way on down to the recipient of your gift of "glittery shiny stuff" is happy.  More or less :-)

But what about giving to someone who is trying to get rid of almost all of their stuff?  If you give them a gift of more stuff that's just one more thing they have to find a place for, and it's one more thing they will find hard to get rid of because, after all it was a gift and you can't just say thank you for a gift and then give it away or sell it or something, that would seem rude and uncaring. 

What a dilemma this is.  No one ever believes you when they ask what you want for your birthday or Christmas if you say, "Nothing."  It's just too hard to make that lie sound convincing ;-).  Saying, "Just give me money" sounds sort of crass, even though it's about the most useful gift you can give to anyone.  But then what do you do for a minimalist?  I am thinking that what I want are things that are less bulky, like write me a poem or a story if you have that talent, and send it via the interwebs ;-)  Or some art you could do or send on the web.  Or some music, like an iTunes gift card or a Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card for eBooks, that would work too.  Unless you are like my Aunt Bella and discover some physical item like that Gnome book that is just so absolutely perfect for the recipient, then I guess the physical item is still the best way to go.  Of course food is good too, that only takes up space for a little while :-)

Posted via email from The Angry Gnome

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