COVID-19, Minimalism and Gifting

Since embarking on a minimalism journey several years ago now, with certain friends and my boyfriend in particular, I try to give gifts that reflect minimalistic values. That is, experiences rather than things. Experiences such as tickets to shows, airfares, hotel stays, vouchers for things such as massages or movie tickets. However, since COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic which has resulted in closed borders (both domestic and international) along with cancelled shows, restrictions and lockdowns I’ve found myself struggling to buy gifts for my partner.

We have often gifted each other experiences, from overseas and domestic holidays, massage vouchers, beauty vouchers (for me), and tickets to sporting events (for him) etc. However, due to border closures and the likelihood of events being cancelled, I’ve found it infinitely more difficult to ‘give less’.

We still owe each other from promises and gifts given pre COVID-19. We had overseas holidays booked and as a result for birthdays and anniversaries had organised special dinners and experiences as gifts. For instance, I was funding tickets to a particular arcade as my boyfriend enjoys arcade games (arcade games are somewhat limited where we live). He was due to take me to a Michelin star gluten free friendly restaurant. The fact is, we still haven’t experienced our gifts. So where does it end? How many more ‘potential’ (you may get to have this or you may not) gifts do we give each other?

I’m reluctant to buy vouchers and tickets at the moment for fear of potential cancellation and loss of funds. So where does that leave me for birthday, anniversary and Christmas presents? Well, I’m running out of ideas…and fast. Consumables are a great alternative, special food items in particular that are hard to come buy or quite expensive do make a great alternative, but I feel like even that has its limitations and has just about run its course.

Stuff is easier to give. It’s easier to buy. That ‘stuff’ can’t get cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. I visit a store or order something online and it’s delivered. It’s safe, reliable and I have something to show for my money.

Part of the reason I’ve loved giving the gift of experience is because it doesn’t clutter our house, it’s usually something that he will enjoy (and I will enjoy much less haha) but that’s okay, that’s what it’s all about. But, now I’m struggling for ideas as I’d hate to buy/promise a gift (yet again) that didn’t eventuate. Not only would that be disappointing for me, but also for my boyfriend. If that happens do I then have to buy another gift and think of something else? Not everything is refundable and not everything is rescheduled. Some businesses are sadly going broke, I don’t want to be left in a situation where he can’t cash in a voucher I’ve purchased. Even movie tickets are an issue with potential lockdowns and the lack of new content due to the pandemic.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve resorted to buying more ‘things’ than I otherwise would have. But what else do I do? Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated, remember we are nearly halfway through the year folks which means – Christmas is coming…..