I’m all about letting the holidays be easy. And I’m also very keen on not giving gifts that might weigh the recipient down. I see in my clients a tendency to hang onto items that were given as gifts, even if the items aren’t used or loved.
So every holiday season, I bang my drum for clutter-free gift giving. Here are some ideas on things you can give that won’t risk turning into clutter:
Electronic subscriptions or gift cards. Every year my brother and I renew our parents’ subscriptions to a digital photo frame and an email service. (They don’t have—or want—a computer.) Another great option is a Netflix or Hulu Plus gift subscription. (Personally, I love receiving iTunes gift certificates.)
Give the gift of time together. Instead of exchanging gifts, why not go out to lunch and a movie with a friend? Or, if you have friends or family a distance away, give the gift of regular phone calls. Or a plane ticket to come visit. It’s about your relationship, not the stuff.
Offer a service. Do you have a friend who could use some help around the house? Either offer to do it yourself, or hire someone who can help. That can work well for housekeeping, errand running, babysitting, all sorts of services.
Give edibles. Cook or bake something and deliver it yourself. Or, if your gift recipients live out of town, order them something consumable. I always like Wolferman’s but there are lots of wonderful options out there.
Share your special skill. Is there something you do well that others don’t like or know how to do? Share it! For example, you could help a friend clean out her files. (I love other people’s paper!) Maybe you could give someone a lesson on how to use Pinterest. Or teach them to knit. Or organize their music on their cell phone.
Make a donation. If you and your gift recipient share a passion for a cause, consider giving a donation to that charity in your friend’s name. It doesn’t create clutter and it makes you both feel good.
One of the things I love about clutter-free gift giving is that it’s much easier on the shopper. Some of these ideas take very little time. And many don’t cost much money. Everybody wins.
Last December, I appeared on the local morning program Great Day St. Louis, talking about clutter-free gift giving. Here’s the video, if you’re interested: