The Minimalist and the Holidays

For most of us the holidays are here and for many, it’s a favorite. Last year around this time I was working on furthering my minimalism but was unsure on how to handle Christmas. I wasn’t really looking for any gifts but wasn’t sure how to go about telling my friends and family about my lifestyle for fear that they wouldn’t understand. I did the only thing I could think of which was nothing at all.

That was the wrong choice!

This year will be different. Recently I’ve composed a email about three paragraphs long explaining my lifestyle and how instead of sending me greeting cards and presents, I would much rather have them give me cash (I hear it’s king) via PayPal (more on this later) instead.

Here’s the catch.

I’ve also added a second link to a charity of my choice. In the email I stated that if they weren’t planning on giving me a gift for Christmas or if they don’t want to send money to me, then to please donate to the charity on my behalf. Don’t get me wrong, I always love getting cash but there are certainly a lot more people out there who need it more than I.

How do I set up a PayPal link so people can send me money?

The first step is to sign up for a PayPal account. Then…

  • Click on the “Merchant Services” tab
  • Under the “Create Buttons” column click “Donate”
  • Fill out the “Name/Service” with your name
  • Select the correct “Currency”
  • Select “Donors enter their own contribution amount”
  • Select “Use my secure merchant account ID”
  • Then click “Step 3: Customize Advanced Fetures”
  • Fill out “Can your customer add special instructions in a message to you?” if you like
  • Select No for “Do you need your customer’s shipping address?”
  • Click “Create Button”
  • Select the “Email” tab
  • Then copy/paste the link into your email message

That’s it! You now can receive your Christmas gift through the internets! No more clutter and you can stick to your minimalist ways.

What about the email you ask?

Mine went something like this…

Family & Friends,

The holidays are upon us and now is the season for giving gifts and showing someone that you are thinking of them. The question that comes up a lot during these times is what should I get that person? Especially if that person is a minimalist and is in the process of getting rid of things versus acquiring new things.

Some of you may or may not know what has been going on in my life recently. Over the past few years I’ve had a bit of a rough patch and in the process have shed almost all of my possessions, keeping only the things I use on a daily basis. That is pretty much limited to clothes, laptop, and camera. I have big plans coming up soon that will include world travel. The plan is to travel the world with only a backpack and work via the internet. I’ve managed to save enough money both from work and the sale of my things but can always use a better cushion. That’s why I encourage you, if you are planning on sending me a gift (not that you need to) that you use the donate link I’ve provided at the end of this email. The money will go directly into my personal PayPal account, allowing me to access the funds anywhere in the world.

On the flip side, if you would like to do to something else with your money, then I suggest you use the second link provided at the end of this email to donate your money to a good cause. Instead of buying a gift, greeting card, or sending me money, I suggest giving to Kiva. Kiva is an organization that helps people who are looking for micro loans in order to start a small business in their country. You have two options for donating to this cause. You can use the link at the bottom of this email and the money will go into a special account then it will be transfered to my account at Kiva and then given to the people of my choice. The other option will be to sign up for your own account and donate to the people of your choosing at

Those are the basics. I have no need for any more gifts, I’m down to the very last few things to I need to get rid of. I also wanted everyone to know about the two different websites I’ve built and currently run. is a photo blog centered around photography and the photos that I take. was started awhile back to document my progress on becoming a minimalist and hopefully one day traveling the world.

To give me the gift of cash (which is king I’m told) instead of a traditional gift use this link…


To give the gift of a micro loan to someone in need please use this link…

But wait! There’s more! If you still want to help me achieve my goals and dreams and happen to shop at, I’ve include a search tool on the sidebar on both of my sites. All you have to do is use that search box to look for the things you normally buy. That’s it!

Doesn’t it feel good to help out? I think so.

On a side note, if you weren’t planning on getting me something, then that is TOTALLY fine and I don’t expect anything! This was simply a “just in case” email.

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season and I will be thinking of you all!

Adam Mayfield

Feel free to use mine as a template. I haven’t kept in touch with my family as much as I should have but I’m trying to change that. Starting with this email.

If you are trying to live a minimalist lifestyle and aren’t sure how to handle the holidays (or even your birthday for that matter) than I suggest an approach along these lines. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them! Just post them down in the comments or shoot me a message via my contact form.

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