I received my first “gift of zenification” for Christmas last year. Since then, I have really liked the idea of giving this type of gift, but struggled for a while to get myself together to plan far enough in advance to complete the gift in time.
What is a gift of zenification?
The phrase “gift of zenification” was introduced to me last Christmas when Michael gave me the card pictured above as a gift. He had scanned in the pile of takeout menus that were sitting in a drawer in our kitchen to Evernote. Each menu is now in a notebook called “Culinary – Menus” in Evernote, with one menu to a note (the menus weren’t already available online).
The gift of zenification brings more simplicity to someone else’s life. Now, when we are sitting upstairs watching TV and decide to order in, all I have to do is go to the Evernote app in my phone so we can look at the menu, and tap on the phone number to make the call. We used to affix a sticky note to a menu if we had a strong feeling about a menu item, such as “Ranch – amazing” or “Zucchini sticks – absolutely not”. Now these notes are just entered into Evernote.
This also freed up a drawer in the kitchen. It probably seems like a small thing, but it is one small area of the house that has been digitized, which has minimized clutter.
Gifts of zenification may cost nothing monetarily, however would require a substantial investment of time. It could be anything that solves a frustration or simplifies life. A loved one simply may endure these burdens because they have not yet found the time to address them. Gifts of zenification are gifts of time and unburdening.
Ideas for Gifts of Zenification
This year for Michael’s birthday, I secretly read and took notes on a book about owning a dental practice. I started reading the book about a month in advance of his birthday, with the goal of reading about 10 pages a day when he was not around.
I actually didn’t finish it in time. I was about 3 chapters short, but I had taken notes in Evernote along the way, so I had a pretty good chunk of the gift completed. I put my notes in a shared Evernote notebook, wrapped the book and card, and just finished the rest of the notes a few weeks later. Of all the gifts I got him, he said this was his favorite and most meaningful gift.
It makes sense for me to read and take notes on personal development books to give as gifts because that is one of my favorite things to do anyway. The beauty of a gift of zenification is that the possibilities are pretty much limitless. It is more than just a homemade gift; it is a dedication of time and effort to the person with an intention for them to have an area of their life, however large or tiny, made just a bit more zen. Here are a few more ideas:
- thoroughly cleaning an area of the home
- organizing an area of the home
- organizing or digitizing recipes
- organizing and/or editing photos
- learning a new skill that could benefit the other person (such as cooking)
- doing research in a specialized area of interest
- digitizing files or other paper in the home
Gifts of zenification won’t make sense for everyone on your list. This type of gift is best given only to the closest people in your life. You would want to have a good idea of something the person really could benefit from having improved in their life.
Creating this type of gift also takes a ton of time. I would recommend scaling back whatever idea you might have in mind to help increase the chances of getting the project done in time. Even reading a short 200 page book turned out to be a major project for me, which I originally thought would be simple and take practically no time at all. For example, if you are thinking of digitizing papers for someone, consider choosing a small area or category to digitize, rather than trying to scan a whole filing cabinet.
With a gift of zenification, less is more. Your loved one will very likely not be expecting the gift and will probably be happy with whatever small dent you are able to make in their personal list of things to do. Such gifts may also inspire them to take matters into their own hands and create an extension of your gift in other areas of their lives. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I have dedicated time and energy over the past year to developing my own system to digitize other incoming papers. Also, whenever we get new menus from our takeout places, I now scan them into Evernote to keep the shared notebook updated.
A Note About Time
Money is not the most precious currency, and is far from it. Time is the most valuable currency we can exchange with another. A gift of zenification is valuable to the recipient because they know that the person who created the gift had them in mind during the hours it took to create the gift. Enduring the holiday shopping bustle isn’t the only way you can spend your time to give a meaningful gift to someone you love. This year, consider giving a gift of zenification to someone on your list. You might be surprised to hear which gift is their favorite!
If you have more ideas for great gifts of zenification, readers would love to hear them. Share your thoughts!