“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” according to the song lyrics…but is it? Every year it seems that the holidays sneak up on us. This year, they seem to be approaching faster than ever. A week ago, one of my local radio stations started playing Christmas music 24/7, well in advance of Thanksgiving. Stores and on-line merchants have been running Black Friday specials for several weeks already. The quest for the “perfect gift” has begun. It’s enough to ramp up most people’s stress levels.
If you want to change it up, minimize your stress, and reduce your recipients’ clutter, consider giving clutter-free gifts this year instead. Clutter-free gifts include gifts of experiences, gifts of time, and gifts of health; in all, they are gifts that create lasting memories. And, they can be specifically tailored to the needs or interests of the receiver.
Here are some ideas:
Gifts of Health/Fitness
• Massage gift certificate
• Yoga lessons
• Self-defense classes
• A weekend at a spa
• Membership to a gym
• Dancing lessons
• Arrange for a spa day – facial, pedicure, aromatherapy
• A month of sessions with a Personal Trainer, ideally one who will come to their home
Gifts of Time
• Babysitting coupons for friends or relatives so they can enjoy a night out
• Monthly car wash pass
• Gift certificate for a session with a Professional Organizer
• Plan a car trip to take your BFF’s child to look at colleges
• Gift certificate to organize your recipient’s vacation photos and create a digital photo album
• Certificate to transfer your parents’ or grandparents’ CD collection to iTunes
• Pay for a month’s worth of grocery delivery fees (Peapod, Shoprite From Home, etc.)
• Gift certificate for oil change or car detailing; offer to transport their car there and back to save them even more time!
• Provide a week’s worth of dinners
• Offer dog walking services
• Gift certificate for concierge services (errand running, driving to appointments, etc.)
• Arrange for a week or month of house cleaning services
• Theatre tickets
• Concert tickets
• Tickets to a sporting event
• Museum membership or pass
• Cooking classes
• Cake decorating class
• Race car or sports car rental
• Gift card to the movies
• Gift card to a favorite restaurant
• Week at Football Fantasy Camp or MLB Fantasy Camp for the sports enthusiast in your life
• Wine tasting event
• Craft night out (pottery painting, wooden sign making, glassmaking, etc.) This can be a multi-person gift for your friend group
• 3 or 6 month subscription to a Wine of the Month or Flower of the Month delivery program; they’ll think of you each month when their delivery arrives
Any of these is a thoughtful, clutter-free way to acknowledge the important people in your life. And it’s a win-win. You stay out of the malls, reduce wear and tear on yourself, while simultaneously giving a custom, personalized gift that demonstrates how well you know the receiver, and how much you care.
Wishing you a happy, stress-free gift-giving season.