Clutter-free gift giving is a thoughtful alternative to traditional gift giving.
While we all love to see the colorful array of
brightly wrapped gifts assembled under the tree, many of us also dread the
energy and effort involved in finding a home for all the new stuff that
materializes at holiday time.
Clutter-free gift giving provides a number of welcome benefits such as the following:
Experiences make for truly clutter-free gifts. Chances are there is an experience of some kind on the wish list of every single person on your gift giving list. That makes this an extremely versatile option. The one challenge is determining which experiences would be most enjoyed by which recipients. Listen during the year for phrases like "I've always wanted to..."
Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:
Knowledge is perhaps the most clutter-free gift giving option available. At the most there may be a ticket to keep track of, but chances are it will be electronic. The internet makes it easy to give the gift of learning. Try one of these options:
When it comes to clutter-free gift giving the distinction between knowledge and lessons may seem vague, but in my mind there is one. Knowledge gifts typically involve learning at a computer or in a classroom setting of some sort while lessons involve doing and typically require the learner to travel. Another distinction is the method of payment. Knowledge gifts can typically be paid for in one lump sum while lessons often involve monthly installments.
Here are some examples of lessons you might offer as gifts:
Memberships make excellent clutter-free gifts. They are a gift that keeps on giving as the recipient is able to enjoy the benefits year round. Some examples of memberships you might give as gifts include:
Not everybody loves the idea of a gift card. Some people feel like they are an impersonal or lazy gift giving option. Personally, I love them. They are convenient and easy for the giver, and they allow the recipient to get exactly what they want. They are also extremely versatile. You can find a gift card for just about anything.
My college age kids love it when I send them a gift card for their favorite restaurant chain. They also like getting cards for groceries, gas, or some sort of treat they can't normally afford on their budget. My teenage nephews love being able to pick out whatever they want with an Amazon.com gift card*.
Most grocery stores and department stores carry an extensive selection of gift cards. In addition, you can purchase gift cards for a wide variety of retailers at a discount from Raise.com. Here are some suggestions of the kinds of gift cards to look for:
Consumables are items that get used up. As a result, they're a great option for clutter-free gift giving. Consumables can be homemade or store bought. They include food and drink but also such things as bath salts, lotions, candles, art supplies, and more.
You can come up with some really creative consumable gifts based on the particular interests and likes of the people on your list. For instance, I have a brother-in-law who loves to barbecue. One year I made him several grilling spice blends and put them in pretty glass jars. He loved it!
Food items are a great option for giving gifts to groups of people (coworkers, neighbors, clients, etc.). They can be made in bulk for relatively little cost. Another plus is that they're fun to make, and they have a personal touch that recipients appreciate.
Services are another great option for clutter-free gift giving. They literally take up no space. Services can be paid for or provided by you. If you have a skill that other people value, consider offering it as a gift to individuals on your to buy for list. Examples of services you might offer to friends and family include:
Time is the ultimate form of clutter-free gift giving. The best investment you can make in any relationship is time. A gift of time is a gift of yourself. Time gifts are among the simplest gifts to give. Just go somewhere together (a museum, restaurant, park, etc.); or do something you love together (take a hike, go for a bike ride, play a board game, watch a movie).
This year for my wedding anniversary I gave my husband 12 months of dates. Each month I selected a fun activity to do together. Some activities involved expense, others were no cost. If an activity cost money, I purchased gift cards in advance where possible. It was simple to do, and it lasts all year long.
Gift giving should be a positive experience for both the giver and the receiver. Clutter-free gift giving can be both thoughtful and rewarding. It's fun to find the perfect gift for the people in your life, and it's fun to receive gifts that create memories without contributing to clutter.
Enjoy your gift giving!
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