Christmas is coming up! Here are some ideas for clutter-free gifts. You know, we all have too much. Our kids may have so many toys they don't have room to store them and don't have time to play with everything they get. We have houses, attics, basements, garages full of stuff! And often we are renting mini-warehouse space for our junk. We end up having to store, organize, clean and maintain all this stuff. Wouldn't it be nice not to worry about more stuff, more clutter, more junk? So what can we give others that won't end up in boxes in the back of shelves, take up space in the garage, or jam up your closet? Here's a list I put together.
Ticket(s) to the movies, a play, a musical, a concert.
Coupon to a favorite restaurant, fastfood or family of nice restaurant.
A gift in their name to their favorite charity.
A gift card from a favorite store (don't forget their favorite grocery store).
A case of their favorite drink (Cokes, Pepsi, Blenheim Ginger Ales, Root Beer) or a package of their favorite tea or a gourmet coffee.
Make a deposit in their college savings account.
Buy a bond for them.
Give school supplies like spiral and ring bound notebooks, pencils and pens, notebook paper.
Give a magazine subscription.
Give dry goods mixed to make something such as a mason jar with 13 bean soup, muffin mix, cookie mix, drink mixes, etc.
A nice grouping of soap, lotion and body spray.
A new hair brush, comb and scrunchies.
A day at a spa.
A coupon for free manicure and/or pedicure.
Annual pass to a museum or nearby amusement park.
Season's tickets to their favorite team's events.
Make some homemade goodies like fresh baked bread, cake, pie, cookies, candy. Worried about giving all that sugar and calories? Then do some research on sugar free desserts. Those on diets or have special dietary needs would really appreciate some sugar free candy or cookies or muffins! Then there are cheeseballs, cheese spreads, frozen casseroles in tin foil baking pans (so they don't have to be returned).
A "coupon" or voucher for a personal service such as a free babysitting, a free bathroom clean, a free back rub, a free garage cleanout, free carpet shampoo with your carpet cleaner, free pet sitting for a weekend.
Give plants. If you have a plant that can be divided, sends up baby shoots, or can be clipped and rooted...do this and give to teachers, pastor's wives, etc. Look for nice pots during the yard sales like pretty sugar bowls sans lids, planters and pots, pretty large coffee mugs, etc for mere pennies!
Party Trays - gather things you would have for an instant party...a movie DVD, box of microwave popcorn and some bottled Cokes. Put this on a clear plastic tray (buy in party shops for a couple of bucks) and wrap up with heavy cellophane and lots of ribbon. Or put a couple of pretty teacups (bought at yard sales) with a jar of homemade Russian tea and a floral candle. Or put a couple of nice mugs (bought at yard sales) with some hot chocolate mix, some candy canes and a Christmas movie on DVD. Maybe they like music? How about some snack mix, a 6 pack of Rootbeer or Blenheim Ginger Ales and a music CD.
For a person in a nursing home: lotion, stamps, note cards, pens, address book with family addresses in it, journal, photo album with family photos, slippers, a gift certificate for having their hair done by the hair dresser that works at the nursing home, a cheap watch with LARGE numbers (cheap so that it doesn't get stolen).
A calendar or desk calendar with every family members birthday and anniversary noted. Use some stickers, bright colored pens, index size photos to make the calendar fun!
A package of compact fluorescent bulbs.
Emergency supplies for the car: Ice scraper, thermal blanket, windshield hammer, battery operated flashlight and radio combo, small tool kit, good battery cables, Call Police windshield shade, warning triangle sign.
A CD or DVD of family pictures or family movies. Something that the technically illiterate can use just by putting in their DVD player or in their computer without having to do anything else.
Good pens and pencils.
Purchase a reusable plastic container and add bath crayons, bubbles, bath paints, bath foam.
Pay for a class for a child such as music lessons, sewing lessons, cake decorating, pottery classes, swimming, scuba diving, gun safety, etc.
A hand made recipe book would be a good idea. A compilation of old family recipes from your family, and your friends' families. You can even embellish the pages, laminate them, add pockets, put down stories or notes as to the origin of the recipe. Include a photo of the person making it or of the dish or someone eating it.
Gift certificate at a book store, a book or a book on CD.
Knit a sweater, cap, mittens, socks or scarf from yarn found at goodwill/used clothing store.
If you are skilled in a particular area, offer a lesson or class.
Fill an old trunk, box, laundry bag or suitcase with fun clothing, hats and gaudy jewelry for children to play dress-up.
Gym membership or personal trainer service.
A scrapbook for someone that celebrates something. It doesn't have to be a large scrapbook. A small one like 8x8 or 4x4 or even using photo albums that have pages for 4x6 photos. Use a photo in one pocket and the next one for journaling and embellishment with stickers, etc. It could be about a family vacation, a special celebration like high school or college graduation or wedding or first born.
A scrapbook with some simple scrapbook supplies such as acid free paper, some stickers, acid free pen and adhesive. Give one of your old scrapbook magazines with it to give them ideas. This is great for children from 10 yrs old up to teens, young adults, older adults! By the way, the cheapest place that I've found really nice scrapbooks and photo albums is Ross. Here they are usually $4.99-$6.99 for a leather 12x12 scrapbook.