Each time I find the perfect gift for my friend Scott, tabletop game connoisseur and international man of mystery, I feel a wave of triumph. I’m sure you’ve had a friend that’s been a little more difficult to shop for than others. My lady friends tend to be the easiest for me, with children a close second. Men are always harder (HA!) to find gifts for, and my friend Scott seems to be a special challenge since he is among the more minimalist of my friends. This is due partially to his discerning eye and partially due to the frequency with which he’s moved. When you have to pile all of your possessions into boxes and haul them all over the countryside, you tend to get rid of the excess clutter in your life as faster than you can say “leave it on the corner with a sign that says ‘free.'”
I feel like I hit the jackpot last year when I ordered some inexpensive jars online and gave him a DIY spice kit. Minimalist though he may be, everyone needs to eat, and he loves to cook, so I’ve been on the lookout for kitchen-inspired presents since then. While looking for ways to spend a Christmas gift card to amazon I came upon a mortar and pestle I had my eye on and bought one for each of us. Now he can grind up the spices I gave him by hand. It certainly wasn’t secondhand (though I’ve seen them while thrifting before) but it was definitely thrifty and useful.
Before I even noticed the contents of this book of sheet music I knew I had to have it. I had no idea what, exactly, I’d do with it, but slap a weird bear wearing a hat trying to ride a bicycle on the cover and it’s advertising gold. After I got over the illustration I noticed it was sheet music and since I have multiple friends who play piano, I snapped it up. After a thorough examination I am no closer to figuring out what the hell a bear riding a bike has to do with anything about this company or the sheet music whatsoever. And that’s just fine by me. Just the fact that it exists is enough.
I’m always on the look out for presents for friends when I visit the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale. I can usually find gifts for a least a few friends while I’m there. This year’s trip yielded two vintage Charlie Brown Peanuts comic books for Scott. Peanuts always reminds me of my Dad’s parents. They loved beagles and always had a stack of old Peanuts comic books in their back bedrooms for us grandkids to look through.
Lastly, I gave him a book originally found by Isobel, who latches on to whatever small pink book she can find in each thrift store we visit, which invetibably belongs to some inappropriate romance novel or book about feminine lady parts. This last trip turned up a special treasure, “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women,” written by James Dobson. A man. Thank you, good sir, for your insight into my mind and vagina, because if there’s anything I need in life, it’s a man telling me how I think and feel. I knew Scott would appreciate this special treasure, i.e. use it to level his coffee table.
If I could impart some wisdom to you about shopping for minimalist friends it’s this: sometimes a collection of small things you know they will appreciate is better than a larger gift they might not enjoy.