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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Ask for Better Christmas Presents

You know that time of year: it’s getting down to the wire—just a few weeks left until the big day when everyone unwraps their presents, drinks their eggnog, and complains about what they did and didn’t get for Christmas.

We at The Minimalists have already written extensively about the gifts we like to receive: experiences, love, and time. We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t discuss the gift of giving, the gift of contribution.

The old saying is true: ’tis better to give than to receive. We get so much more by giving.

A few months ago, Ryan gave his birthday to charity and raised enough money to build a well in Cambodia. Instead of accepting material birthday gifts, he was able to gift clean water to more than 250 people who didn’t previously have access to it.

Perhaps you can do the same this Christmas: instead of requesting gifts, you can ask people to donate to your favorite charity in your name. Don’t have a favorite charity? Consider asking people to donate to they make it easy for you to set up your own page, and 100% of all donations go to bringing clean water to people who need it—people who might die without it.

Wouldn’t that feel better than a new necktie, a new pair of shoes, or a new piece of jewelry?

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.