Valentine’s Day is next week! I’m actually proud of myself for thinking about it before the day is upon me! Being ahead of the day helps me be more thoughtful which is what minimalism is all about, in my opinion.
So, what’s a minimalist to do about Valentine’s Day? What is a Minimalist Grandma to do on Valentine’s Day?
If you search for ideas on the internet you will find that some people equate being minimalist with being cheap. It’s not about being thrifty and saving money, though that can be a benefit of practicing minimalism. However, for me, minimalism means paying attention, being deliberate and not being wasteful. For example, I could go to the store and spend hundreds of dollars buying a bunch of stuff for my husband, kids, and grandkids for Valentine’s Day. Most of which would probably end up in the trash, at the bottom of the toy box or put away with all the other odd things that have no real place.
I could jump on the bandwagon and buy cards, candy, jewelry, and flowers or plan a special night out. All that is great, except when the person you’re doing it all for doesn’t really like or want those things. I speak from experience. I HATE going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day with all the crowds. Too many people! I’m not eating sugar, so candy is out. Flowers are nice, but they die quickly. Jewelry is pretty, but I’m not a jewelry kind of person. Cards, well, they are sweet, but what in the world do you do with them after you’ve read them? They end up in the trash. I’m not going to leave a lifetime of greeting cards for my kids to have to throw out. It’s crazy! Yes, I am frustrating. Just ask my husband.
Ok, that’s me. But what about all those people who do like flowers, candy, cards, jewelry, and dinners out? Get it for them! Being minimalist is being mindful and not wasteful. Giving someone joy is never a waste!
So you see, being a minimalist gift-giver means taking time to think about the person and choosing a gift that they would truly like as an expression of affection. Not just buying stuff to meet the holiday requirement.
Do some thinking! Let me give you some ideas. Some of these I have done before and they worked out great!
- Give things people need but won’t easily buy for themselves. It might sound too practical to be considered a Valentine’s Day gift, but you might be surprised how excited they will be. How about a few really long charging cords for their phone?
- Give a thematic gift based on their interests or hobbies. A bouquet of Sharpies for the artist or journaler. A bouquet of wooden cooking utensils for the cook. A bracelet of washi tape for the crafter. The ideas are endless.
- For the plant lover, give a tomato plant instead of roses.
- For the cook, give a bottle of good olive oil instead of wine.
- Give an experience. This can get a little pricey, but if you have the money and you’re sure they’ll love it, do it! Buy a cooking class, a chance to drive a racecar or even drive a tank (I’ve seen ads for this!), or scuba lessons.
- Give a membership. This can also get pricey and that’s why I do it for Christmas. Buy a family membership to the zoo, the aquarium, a local museum or season tickets for music or theatre. This is the gift that keeps on giving!
- Give them one-on-one time with you doing something fun. Kids really do love time spent with the people they love. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you give them your undivided attention. Put down your phone, don’t include anyone else and spend your time talking and laughing.
- Craft together or teach them a skill. Teach your kids/grandkids how to make “seed bombs” and then plan a time to go spread the love! Teach the kids/grandkids how to knit, make a cake, play a song on the piano. Kids are sponges and they love to learn if it’s fun and with someone they love.
- Give an experience like I mentioned above. Take them behind the scenes at the aquarium or zoo. A visit to a museum or planetarium is always fun! Tickets to a sports game. Race go-carts, go bowling, play miniature golf, go horseback riding.
- Give a membership. Not only are memberships to the zoo and aquarium fun, but
- Give Apple, iTunes, Amazon gift cards, PS4 or Xbox gift cards. Kids can buy apps, games, movies and even toys they want.
- Have a sleep-over, dance party, video game or movie party. Even though you may not “like” doing it, if you’ll break down and do the thing, listen to the music, watch the show that your kid loves, it will mean the world to them.
Distance Grandparenting Gift Ideas
- Order pizza and watch an online movie on Netflix or Amazon. It’s so great that from the internet you can give your grandkids dinner and a movie from wherever you are. It would be much more fun if you ordered pizza, too, and watched the same movie and FaceTimed! Distance grandparenting at its best!
- Create a scavenger hunt. Plan it out, get all the materials together and send it to the parents. Then FaceTime with them as they search for the treasure!
- Start a Love Letter or Post Card tradition. Write a love letter to your grandchild and then tell them to write you back. You can become pen pals. You can do the same with postcards. Agree that wherever you go, you’ll mail a postcard to each other.
- Start a book club. Then you can buy them a book or an e-book (if you’re really dedicated to this minimalist idea) for every holiday! Then you’ll have something to talk about!
- Start a YouTube channel and read books to your grandkids. They will LOVE to watch the videos and they’ll get a chance to “spend time with you.”
- Bake their favorite cookies and mail them to them. Spread that grandma love!
Minimalist gift giving is not about being cheap. It’s about being thoughtful and not being wasteful by buying things that people really don’t want.
Happy Valentine’s Day!