This is our second Christmas since living tiny in our RV. I can already tell that I am ready to embrace the minimalistic approach so much more this season than I was last. Transitioning to a minimalistic lifestyle is a process, not only for the individual but also for the people close to them and active in their lives. With the holiday season upon on us, you may be transitioning to a simpler lifestyle or trying to buy a gift for a loved one that is. As an opinion of a family living tiny, thank you so much if you are taking into consideration space and purpose as you make your gift list. Just because you may have a tiny dweller or minimalist in your life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the act of gift giving.
We live in a culture and a time when the theme seems to be “more is better” more trees, more presents, more decorations. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE walking through Christmas markets and browsing through all the fun and creative items and decorations. I am in marvel of trees decorated so perfectly and beautifully that they can tell a story without using words. I am also here to tell you that less is also more. When you give children fewer, but higher quality “things” not only do they appreciate them more, but they last longer! So much of what is consumed these days is made so cheaply and breaks within weeks if not days. You are then left with missing pieces, half sets and broken things. We follow a pretty basic rule of three when gift giving:
1. Something you want
2. Something you need
3. Something you read
Our kids are very little, so they very much still believe in the magic of Santa. We ask them what is the one present they want Santa to bring them? (For an older child, you can phrase it, what is the number one gift that would make their day?). Their wish may not be realistic but asking them to choose only one item really helps you narrow it down as to where their mindset is. Here are some ideas of wants for the bigs and littles of your life:
1. Brain Blox.
These little wooden planks are so simple yet can expand the imagination of a child of any age. They come in a nice burlap storage bag, are light weight, and allow creative and new play with each use. Brain Blox are all natural, non-toxic.
These magnetic tiles are one of the number one most played with toys in our house. They offer endless possibilities and the magnetic feature of them is SO much fun! They have withstood years of play and are still in wonderful condition! They stack and stick to each other for easy storage and are very light weight!
3. Bannor Toys.
Bannor toys are made of solid wood and are a high quality toy. They have toys ranging from rattles for the newborn baby to fun classic wooden toys for the preschool age child. After having endless toys break or lose parts after very little use, I am a firm believer in quality over quantity and only want to bring in high quality toys into our tiny space! Many of their toys can be personalized as well! Like their slogan says, you just can’t beat “hand crafted goodness.”
Fujifilm is making picture taking SO much fun. They have the Instax camera which has been on wish list for many years, but I never made the splurge because I didn’t need another camera. BUT this my friends, this is SO cool! This little printer is small enough to carry in your bag and turns your smart phone into an instant camera! You can print photos from your phone on the spot – the best of both worlds in my opinion! Creating tiny pictures for your tiny space is just too much fun and would make a great gift that tween (or adult) in your life!
5. Open Gym.
This is a fantastic gift for the minimalist in your life! It literally gives them SO much without adding any physical “stuff” to their life! Open Gymis an online gym membership. Each day a NEW bodyweight only exercise is posted and it is 20 minutes or less! You also get exclusive discounts to their partners on fitness and health products and meal ideas! There is an Open Gym app launching as well.
If you are going to bring a toy into your tiny space I am a huge believer in it being a educational toy! Botley weighs in at just under 3 pounds and is 9 inches x 9 inches. He is an awesome STEM toy that allows kids to play with coding. Botley would definitely earn a spot in our tiny home.
Something your child needs can vary from a new blanket to a new backpack for school. Maybe they need new shoes or a swimsuit for the summer. Do they need storage for their legos or dress up play attire? Just because you child “needs” something does not mean you cannot give it as a gift. I can personally tell you that dragging your kids shoe shopping because they need a new pair will cause many more fights than if you simply present them with new shoes as a gift. They will appreciate them and the thought you put into choosing that item and filling that need is the basic concept behind gift giving. Here are some needs that are functional and fun:
I am SO excited about this gift. This is my kids “need” gift this year and yes it is a joint gift! Beddys is the perfect solution for those hard to make beds, ie: bunk beds, RV beds, toddler beds, OR just for the adult that hates to make their bed, haha J Beddys is a one-piece bedding set that goes on like a fitted sheet and zips apart when you are ready to crawl in at night and zips up when you are ready to make you bed in the morning. Seriously, check this bedding out – so cute and so functional.
I love this brand of packs. They make minis all the way up to larger sizes that accommodate laptops. My boys use these for their school packs and outdoor packs and they have withheld the test of time. They are very simple and very functional.
I love shopping small businesses and I love supporting businesses that give back and support others. DIFF eyewear fits the bill! For every pair of sunglasses purchased they provide a pair of reading glasses to someone in need. Tons of awesome styles to choose from including blue light glasses to protect your eyes from screen use!
Hooded towels are great for kiddos! The end of bath time usually brings tears and fits about being cold and these are adorable and cute solutions!
5. Swoop bags.
These bags offer a great storage and play solution – especially for those millions of tiny lego pieces! These bags come in a few different sizes and you can open them up to spread them out to play and when you are done you just grab the edges and swoop up the mess! Sounds like a winning situation to me!
(or another type of camping membership)
For a minimal yearly fee, Harvest Hosts offers over 600 different locations including wineries, breweries, farms, garden and museums where you can dry camp for one night at time for free! In addition to the night’s stay you get to explore and experience new locations, support small business and make new friends! This or another type of camping membership would be perfect for the travel bug in your family!
Even if your child is not of reading age, giving the gift of a book is timeless. The act of reading out loud to your child creates and strengthens bonds and helps give them the foundation to love reading and to be strong readers themselves! In the words of Dr. Suess, “you are never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Here are some family fun reading suggestions and suggestions for the adult or friend as well:
This book is on my wish list! I love home décor books and I am so intrigued by minimalist style and still making my home cozy and welcoming.
This book is adorable. This is my boys read gift. It is full of colorful and vibrant pictures and funny little jokes.
I read this book in a few days. Kristen Hannah is a phenomenal author and this book is a masterpiece.
This was one of my favorite Christmas books as a child. I look forward to my kiddos enjoying it like I did!
Rachel Hollis is an amazing motivational speaker and writer. I cannot speak highly enough of this book. If you are need if a good pep talk or lift me up this book will do it for you!
I LOVE a good cook book. I don’t necessarily even have to cook from it - silly, I know. I love to read them and look at the beautiful photos. Well this book is packed full of beautiful photos and delicious recipes!
Physical gift giving is not your only option this Holiday season, or ever! Giving the gift of an experience is timeless; memories last forever. There are SO many fun experience gifts – cooking class, movie date, indoor skydiving, real skydiving, painting class, music lessons, a day at a theme park, a camping trip, a winery tour, or a trip to your favorite ice cream store. The options are literally endless, but the memories of gifting an experience are something that your loved one will cherish forever. It may not be something tangible they can hold or play with, but it will be something that is talked about for years around the table – it will bring up those feelings they had the moment, it will cause laughter and joy to be felt as they relive the experiences telling stories about it or thinking about it!
Décor is the one area I am fine tuning this holiday season. I am not going to add to my Christmas décor this year, but only use what we have and pull in as many natural elements, ahem, free items as possible. I am going to try and use natural tree cuts to make my own garland and dry some fruit to add to it as well! One free tradition I am starting with our kiddos this year is a book a day Christmas countdown! I went to the library and checked out a book a day for the kiddos. I am going to wrap them up and use that as our countdown! Little kids get SO much joy just out of unwrapping presents and I am so excited to do this for them! It still allows the fun of presents, with no cost and no accumulation of stuff because you just take those books back to the library when you are done!
I hope this gift guide gives to you some good ideas and starting points for those loved ones you are shopping for this holiday season OR for birthdays and any celebrations in the future. Remember, keep it simple. Less is more. The appreciation they will have by you tuning in and really digging deep into the relationship and finding something that they really need or want will bring them so much joy.