15 Clutter Free Gift Ideas

With the holidays right around the corner, many of us are turning our thoughts to gifts. With wishing to limit our own intake of clutter, I do not want to burden our family and friends with clutter, which means we have to get creative in our gift giving.

Disclaimer: We have been having minimal Christmases for many years now and our children know what do expect. One year I did give my kids a towel set in their favorite color and that is all they got, but they were really excited and happy about it. Other people did not respond well when I said that is what I gave my kids and their children would not have been pleased to get towels. Simple gift giving is something you need to discuss with family members before you implement it. If you have children, call a family meeting, discuss your desires, and allow each person an opportunity to share their own feelings and desires. Some families will choose to forgo gifts all together and sponsor a goat or a well for an impoverished village instead, others may choose to give only homemade gifts or only buy local.

It’s also a good idea to give friends and extended family a heads-up if you typically exchange gifts with them.

Several of our friends had been giving our children gifts each year, but now that they know our hearts, they donate to a charity in our names instead. Our children are happy when they get a card in the mail saying someone donated chickens to a village and our friends have been thankful for the opportunity to get their own children involved in deciding what/who to donate towards and the discussion that brings up.

15 Clutter Free Gift Ideas:

  1. Food items. Homemade is coveted by many. Homemade jams, jellies, quick breads, cookies, candy and jerky are great. For the real food friends: Peanut Butter BitesSprouted Lentils in a jar, dehydrated fruits and veggies make a beautiful gift. Who wouldn’t love a jar of dehydrated chili peppers? An excellent coffee or wine is enjoyable if you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen, many times you can find local options.
  2. Gift cards. For some this may be too impersonal, but it is a great way to support local sales. Suggestions: Local Food Co-op, local coffee roaster, real food restaurants.
  3. Get creative. Make pillow cases with fabric that resembles their interests. Knit or crochet wash clothes for their kitchen or nice wool socks.
  4. Give color coded towel sets. Using their favorite color or monogram each person’s towel.
  5. Events. Tickets to a play, concert, dance or sports event, yearly membership to a zoo, museum, children’s museum, science center.
  6. Lessons. Often times people are interested in learning a musical instrument, dance or taking a photography, art or quilting class, but don’t splurge on themselves.
  7. iPad or laptop decals are fun and a great way to show that you pay attention to their interests. 
  8. Give a gift of love. Safe drinking water, animals, food, medical care, etc. for those in need around the world. CompassionWorld Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are great organizations and have many gift options.
  9. Service. A gift certificate for car-detailing, manicure & pedicure or a message. An AAA membership.
  10. Give time. Homemade gift certificates for a coffee date, game of checkers, babysitting or a walk through a park. (Many kids would rather spend an hour outside playing catch with a person then receive a toy.) 
  11. Joint activities. Give a cookbook and ingredients for a dinner. Set a date to cook together. This works for adults as well as children.
  12. Give a family photo or family portrait session. Most grandparents just want an updated family photo, perhaps one from each family, or photography session over the holidays when all the extended family is together and a group photo can be captured. A calendar made with special photos of family members is wonderful as well.
  13. Heirloom seed packs are great for the avid gardener or an essential oil starter kit for those interested in natural healing. (Seriously, essential oils are wonderful! I’ve been able to replace most things in my medicine cabinet!!)
  14. Baltic Amber and hazel necklaces have wonderful healing properties to them. Great gifts for anyone struggling with inflammation, head aches, heartburn and babies teething.

Stocking Stuffers:

First off- hang smaller stockings! That means less items to stuff it and the stocking still looks full of fun and not emaciated. Click here to see what I put in their stockings!

If you find yourself needing to give a physical gift- Support a charity when purchasing gifts. Baan Unrak offers many unique items. Everything that the Baan Unrak brand creates is designed and completely handmade by the women who work and live in the Children’s Village. Most of the women at Baan Unrak come from Burma or the neighboring minority Mon or Karen States. 100% of the proceeds goes to the mission to help single mothers and abandoned children.

More Clutter Free Gift Ideas:

 

 

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.

10 Comments

  1. Jessica on 11/22/2012 at 3:01 PM

    Hi Rachel! I have never commented before, but I love reading your blog! Thank you for sharing these great gift ideas! I’m excited to say that this year our family is spending less to give more! We are following the Advent Conspiracy. I am making most gifts so we can spend more on things like fresh water wells, livestock, and Bible translation! Last year I had the opportunity to serve in India with Hope Givers and needless to say, God changed my life through that experience! Anyway, thanks again. Your blog is such an encouragement 🙂

    • Rachel on 11/22/2012 at 3:55 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement Jessica! I had to look up the Advent Conspiracy- that’s so great!!

  2. Cara on 11/24/2012 at 7:03 PM

    I love this! I just asked my parents to have my antenna fixed (with the picking the car up/dropping it off at the shop/picking it up again). It’s something I would really like, but it’s not a priority to spend money/time on so I wouldn’t do it myself most likely. I’m thankful for whatever people give me, but if asked what I want I usually reply babysitting or fixing things around the house 🙂

  3. Susan@learningandyearning on 11/28/2012 at 2:17 AM

    What a great post! I’m sure you’ve read The Little House on the Prairie books. In one Christmas story, the girls each received their own cup for drinking. Now they wouldn’t have to share! Simplicity is beautiful.

    • Rachel on 11/28/2012 at 5:19 PM

      I love The Little House books! How nice would it be to decide to move and pack everything you own in one afternoon? Simplicity is beautiful.

  4. Megan Alba on 10/10/2013 at 1:06 AM

    Love this! I’d add Kindle e-books or memberships to local zoos / aquariums / museums. We love taking our son for new experiences!

  5. Rachael on 10/26/2014 at 11:31 AM

    A few years ago we moved in to a new home with some land. I asked family and friends for fruit trees or small vouchers to to toward them. I continued that over several birthdays and Christmases. I now have a beautiful orchard with apples, oranges, mandarines, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, figs, lemons, limes, cherries and quince. Plus, as they produce more fruit I am able to give some back to those who gave me the trees to begin with. Plants are expensive when planting out a whole garden, but individually they are very reasonable. We are going to take lavender cuttings to give for birthday presents in the coming year and have given herbs to friends as housewarming gifts when they are renting.

    • Rachel on 10/27/2014 at 3:04 PM

      Oh that sounds so lovely Rachael!

  6. Anna on 11/18/2014 at 12:56 PM

    just an FYI, the link to the amber necklace has quite a few negative comments saying that they (each person) verified the necklace by various sources/ways & found it to be plastic.

    • Rachel on 11/18/2014 at 8:12 PM

      Thanks Anna, it definitely has mixed reviews- that one has over 300 and all the other options on amazon have either very few reviews or they are from the same company, so I chose that one. That is the definitely benefit of amazon though, to have reviews. 🙂

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