Clutter-free gift ideas
Have you ever gotten a gift, opened it, and thought—
How fast can I “accidentally” break this thing?
I’m just gonna say it:
We all get (and give) a few “crap gifts” over the holidays, right?
(Are you shocked? Did you just take me off your holiday shopping list?)
(I love you, but… good! I don’t need any more stuff.) ;)
I’m not trying to be mean or diminish the thought that may or may not have gone into my receiving that pair of ceramic porcelain poodle sculptures (Thank you, Grandma!), but I’m not gonna store these in the basement until you come over again — they’re going straight to Goodwill. And, I know they’re a re-gift from Aunt Dorothy.
So, back to the “crap gifts” — When I was a kid, my mom used to give my grandparents (her parents) “crap gifts” all the time.
Yes, I’m gonna keep saying “crap gifts” until you get comfortable with it! :) (OK, I’ll stop now.)
She would agonize over getting just the right gift for her parents:
“Would they like this beautiful Hummel figurine of a Dutch milkmaid? Or this serving platter that’s close to their china pattern but not quite? Maybe this striped wool blanket (exactly like the two other striped wool blankets they already have) will be a hit?”
Then, I remember the year my mom discovered the secret to holiday gift-giving!
I think the previous year, her parents may have said something like, “Oh, Dear. Thank you, but we don’t really need anything.”
She took the hint, which led her to become THE BEST GIFT-GIVER OF ALL TIME! (Did you hear the boxing arena echo when I said that?)
Are you ready…?
The 2 secrets to thoughtful, clutter-free, guilt-free holiday gifts:
Let’s break it down—
These are things that people consume. Things that get used up. Food and drink items that will be eaten and drank up. Flowers that will die. Sounds sad, but flowers that die and food that’s eaten doesn’t lead to clutter!
So, back to my mom and her stroke of genius — that Christmas, she had the brilliant idea to get my grandparents normal, boring things they used every day. And you could see in their faces that it was the best gift they’d ever gotten!
My mom made them a big basket and individually wrapped each item — stuff like their favorite coffee, Reynold’s Wrap aluminum foil, my grandma’s favorite tea (Constant Comment in the red box), and my grandpa’s favorite cereal (Grape Nuts®). They were DELIGHTED!!! Besides the fact, that this was super-thoughtful and took all their favorite things into account, this kind of gift takes away any guilt of having to keep “the thing” forever, because it’s all stuff that will get used up!
My favorite consumable gifts:
Dark chocolate (Lagusta’s Luscious is my fav). I like the basic Almond Slate the best — that is, if I’m still on your gift-list after recklessly using the word “crap” approximately 19 times above.
Coffee (or Tea) (Kicking Horse’s dark roast options are my fav). Great for the coffee lovers in my life — Yes, Alison, you’ll be getting some again this year.
Unique and beautiful flower arrangements (from Urban Stems). Perfect for those who appreciate beauty and art in their floral arrangements. (Use this link and we’ll both get $15 off.)
And if you want to live by example and give a TRULY clutter-free gift, go with the an “experience” gift—
Experiences are the best! Here’s why— Studies have shown that the happiness and fulfillment associated with doing things and having experiences, is far more fulfilling and leads to greater and longer-lasting happiness than the temporary high of receiving a material possession.
The high you get after getting that “Lambo” — that’s how the cool kids say “Lamborghini” these days — anyway, so that high you get is gonna wear off because we humans adapt to physical things and they become commonplace and blah over time. But with experiences, the memories and fresh experience associated with them gets sweeter and fonder over time. But my favorite part about gifting experiences — Zero clutter!
My favorite EXPERIENCE gifts:
A gift certificate for a massage, cranial sacral therapy, or acupuncture. A perfect gift for new mom’s, expecting mom’s, or pretty much anyone in need of relaxation and wellness. Earth + Sky Healing Arts in Long Island City is my fav. spot — all these ladies are amazing and talented healers! Also, I always gift MYSELF a massage too. (That’s totally allowed, ya know!)
Tickets to a fun thing, like Color Factory, a fun interactive pop-up exhibit. My nephew was in the city recently and I took him to this. Very fun!
A membership to something valuable to the recipient. This could be a membership to a club, a pack of community theater tickets, or, back to my brilliant mom — She used to add me to her Costco Membership every year. I loved it!!
And finally, have the talk, just a “breezy” little chat. Nothing too serious.
Explain your reason for choosing experiences and consumables to everyone you exchange gifts with and encourage your family to do the same!
Be a force for good.
Be a force for a clutter-free holiday!
Then tell me in the comments below —
Did this give you any fresh ideas for giving clutter-free gifts?
What do you typically give your loved ones for the holidays?
Or, tell us what are some of the craziest material gifts you’ve ever gotten?