Fa la la la la isn’t the only familiar refrain this time of year. Often I hear “my house is overflowing now” or “my kids have so much already!” So this year, why not resolve to have yourself a merry Clutter-free Christmas? It is possible to have a very happy holiday season and not add mountains of stuff you don’t really need to your home. Three types of gifts will come to the rescue: consumable gifts, experience gifts, and the obvious upgrade.
Consumable gifts are my favorite-especially for the person who has everything, or who embraces minimalism. My mom, for instance, at the age of 82 no longer wants things for her house. Other times, you may live far away from someone and not know what they might already have. Often, people won’t buy themselves specialty foods, beverages or lotions. It feels too extravagant on a random Tuesday in March. So these types of gifts are always met with excitement and better yet-they don’t add to household clutter (at least for very long!)
- Fancy chocolates
- wine, beer or a wine or beer of the month club
- Gourmet food or sauces
- Stonewall Kitchen has something for bakers, foodies, basically anyone on your list
- Coffee (whether the Big S or a smaller company)
- This time of year Teavana makes incredible gift sets and their tea is top-notch. Each year I give some to my mom and three brothers.
- Bath Bombs
- Lush brand is all the rage among teens and I’m amazed that the colors the bath water turns!
- Rich lotions
- I love Kiehl’s. Their hand and body lotion is so rich and the scents are incredible. I can’t wait to try Grapefruit.
- Roller ball perfume (cause it’s small)
- Homemade baked goods
- Pretty notecards
- Books-in the form of a Kindle giftcard
- Subscription to a favorite magazine or even Netflix
- Movie tickets or gift card
- I give this to teens quite a bit, complete with a few boxes of movie candy to smuggle in to the theatre (shh!)
Look back on your own childhood. What really stands out? Sure, I bet there are a few presents you’ll never forget, like the Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. (A Christmas Story is my FAVORITE holiday movie.) Anyhoo, my point is that I’m sure you remember special events more, time spent with loved ones. I’ll never forget the time my parents took me to Chicago for Christmas and we saw “Phantom of the Opera.” We sat in the middle of the front row on the balcony and when that chandelier swung it was coming straight for us! Magical. I think we often forget that what kids really need (even if they don’t seem to want it) is our time. Heck, that goes for anyone we love. Give the gift of time this year.
- Trip to a favorite museum
- Tickets to an event such as a concert or play
- Zoo Day
- Favorite meal
- Segway tour
- Camping weekend
- Tickets to a sporting event
- Indoor skating party complete with a few friends and hot chocolate
- Manicure, pedicure, massage or other spa treatment
The Obvious Upgrade
Have a husband walking around in embarrassingly ratty slippers? Or is that just me? If you start noticing, I bet your family and friends have items that are past their prime, or perhaps they own an inferior model. This is the perfect opportunity for the obvious upgrade. Give them something nicer than what they’ve got. They’ll get rid of the old, be thrilled with the new, and–no clutter!
This can be something large or small. I had a friend look at my wedding picture and say “your eyebrows were so much thicker when you were young.” Egads! Now I have to worry about my eyebrows too? Well, I went out at bought a run of the mill eye pencil. For my birthday, my daughter gave me Ka-BROW! a gel eyebrow color that comes with a little brush right in the handle. Holy cow this stuff works awesome! So out went the cheap eyebrow pencil. Upgrade.
A Note About Small Children
I only put consumable gifts in my children’s Christmas stockings. Less is more. Often I give them gift cards, candy and gum (because I rarely buy treats. I’m a mean mommy.) Now that they are teens it’s Starbucks gift cards, fancy lotion, cologne for my son etc.
Start your children on experience gifts as soon as you can. Ultimately not only will you have less clutter in your home but children who are less likely to say “I want, I want, I want.” I have the benefit of experience looking back. This is something I wish I had done more often.
The obvious upgrade is a little harder with small children, who have a hard time letting go of anything. I suggest setting up a “toy library” in an out of the way place. Put away some older toys and rotate quarterly. It will seem like Christmas all over again and you won’t be living in a mountain of toys. I suggest setting up the library and rotating the toys when they are at school or out of the house.
A Happy Holiday with Less Stuff
No doubt about it, the holidays can be stressful. All the shopping. And all the clutter that happens afterwards. Asking yourself “where am I going to put it all?” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Get creative with consumable, experience, and obvious upgrade gifts and have a yourself a merry clutter-free Christmas.
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