The following is a guest post from Linda Samuels, author of The Other Side of Organized:
There are gift-giving alternatives that can minimize clutter, strengthen our relationships and increase positive memories. Gifts to our loved ones in the form of more time together can be much more meaningful and appreciated. As winter brings us into the most intense gift-giving season with Christmas, Chanukah and New Years consider some alternatives.
Growing up, our daughters certainly had their share of toys, but often they invented their own games and fun. Celebrating birthdays, special events and holidays along with gift giving was integral to their childhood. Over time, however, it became increasingly difficult to find the right present because neither of them, especially our youngest daughter, wanted more “things.”
When Cassie was quite young, we asked her what she would like for the holidays. She asked if we could “give her experiences instead of things.” Cassie’s response helped reframe our view about gifts. We changed our focus from giving things to doing things. We substituted clothing, jewelry and toys for plays, special days and adventures.
For the people on your gift-giving list, consider presenting them with a gift that doesn’t add to their physical clutter, but instead enhances the time you spend together. Here are some possible ideas:
- Clutter-less Bests. Plan a special day locally. Pick 4 or 5 “best” places in the area and spend the day together exploring the best coffee house, movie theatre, lunch spot and dessert café.
- Clutter-less Pampering. What female wouldn’t love this? Have a girl’s day. Bring your girl to a favorite spa for a manicure & pedicure. Go out after for a “girl’s” lunch and talk to your heart’s content.
- Clutter-less Talent Sharing. What are your personal talents? Are you a fabulous cook? A great listener? An incredible organizer? Offer to share your time and talent with that very lucky recipient.
- Clutter-less Sounds. Does your friend enjoy music? Share a music happening together. If you’re not sure about their schedule, you can present them with an events calendar, let them choose a concert and then order the tickets. If they live out of town, how about sending an iTunes gift card instead?
- Clutter-less Sights. Is your gift recipient visually oriented? How about spending a day together being a tourist in your own town. Take a self-guided walking tour, “window shop” at the local stores, take a drive through areas you don’t normally see. Top it off with a great meal together.
- Clutter-less Classics. When in doubt, go back to basics. Consider tea, scones and conversation, lunch and a walk or dinner and a movie.
As we think about shifting away from giving stuff, we create more opportunities for sharing time with our loved ones. The benefits received will be less clutter, deeper connections and our hearts filled with wonderful memories.
What is your favorite clutter-less gift to give?
Linda Samuels is a compassionate professional organizer, author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing & life balance at The Other Side of Organized. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.