Giving gifts can be pure joy.
For those of us who are attempting to live more simply and sustainably, however, giving and getting more stuff often isn”t.
We”ve already discussed ways to cut down on the waste associated with all the gift trimmings, but what about with the actual gifts themselves? How about giving some clutter-free gifts this holiday season?
5 Clutter-Free Gifts to Give
Think beyond the typical iTunes gift card. “Digital” gifts can include a whole range of entertaining and interesting gifts for the technically-savvy recipients on your list. There are excellent options out there for husbands, siblings, friends, even your kids (but if you”re shopping for your Grammy, you might want to keep going down the list…)
- Audio books: Fiction, non-fiction, dramatizations of kids novels. These days there is a huge variety of audio books available.
- eBooks: For the Kindle-user, these are a no brainer, but many people are beginning to use eBooks on their laptops, iPads, etc. You can even purchase newspaper or magazine subscriptions to be auto-delivered wirelessly!
- Music albums: There”s no need to purchase the physical copy with the plastic case that it destined for either a box in the spare closet, or the trash can. Choose a specific album to send to a loved one and simply print out the gift receipt to give in an envelope or in a stocking.
My favorite resources for digital gifts are Amazon (their Kindle store for eBooks, as well as their Audible Audiobooks department,and MP3 downloads) and of course the iTunes store (music, of course, but they also carry eBooks and audio books).
Photo by doneable and ewen
What places do your kids love to go that are usually beyond the every day budget? What band would your hubby be thrilled to see in person? Does your mom enjoy the symphony?
A ticket (or two) to a special event or activity can be a meaningful and memory-making gift. A few ideas to get your started:
- Shows: concerts, symphony, opera, theatre (plays or musicals)
- Sports events: basketball, hockey or football game, ice skating performance
- Physical activity: recreation center passes (swimming, aerobics, racketball), set of yoga passes
- Activities: museum, science center, zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, movie tickets
It can be expensive to put your kids into all of the lessons that you”d love to give them. Why not ask the grandparents to help with the cost?
Maybe you have a sister who wants to study photography, or a dad that would like to take a computer course. Lessons are a fun and valuable gift to give and to receive!
- Music: singing, piano, guitar or other fine arts like drama or dance
- Art: painting, sculpting, photography
- Cooking: either in a local recreation center or even an online course, like
- Language: know someone who has travel plans or simply enjoys learning language?
- Sports: soccer or gymnastics are perfect for young kids
Photo by oudeschool
Nope, no socks or underwear (gee, thanks Mom).
Just last week I received an email telling me that a sweet friend had purchased my husband and I a Groupon voucher to a restaurant on a nearby beach. Along with the free meal, she offered babysitting for our kiddos. A free date night where I don”t have to arrange for a sitter? Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Some practical gift-giving possibilities:
- House cleaning (many maid services offer gift certificates)
- Yard care (same goes for yard maintenance companies)
- Grocery or meal delivery (lots of natural foods options these days, like Spud!)
- Computer repairs or technical help
- Vehicle maintenance
Photo by llsimon53
Food and beverages have always been popular gifts, for good reason. There are many of us that just don”t need anything, but who doesn”t enjoy a delectable treat to savor during the holiday season or beyond?
- Coffee or tea: fair trade coffee, specialty organic teas (loose or maybe in pyramid silk bags)
- Wine: champagne, fruit wines (mmm…), a funky brand you”ve never seen before, a rare bottle for the connoisseur
- Jams, jellies or chutneys: perhaps something from your summer preserving
- Other kitchen treats: flavored honey, homemade vanilla, soup in a jar (or cookies in a jar), infused olive oil
- Beauty care: lotions or lip balms
- Herbal products: homemade tea combinations, herbal salves, potpourri, essential oils
Wrap items up in a sea grass basket, or a reusable cloth bag. Add some ribbon or rafia to a glass mason jar. With a sweet card, you”ve got a gift that no one can resist.
What are your favorite clutter-free gifts to give? To receive?