Uncluttered Gift Giving

September 17, 2013

i can admit that i'm a little crazy when it comes to christmas.  i love it, and yes, i'm already planning for it.  despite the fact that both my favorite holiday (halloween) and my birthday are between now and december 25, i've still got christmas on the brain.  this starts every year around... january 31st so i'm surprised i've kept it off the blog this long.  guess what monday was? 100 days til christmas.  which i'm almost positive is the first time i mentioned it on the blog last year too.  100 days out some how makes it okay to start talking about.

well this is the year of clutter free gift giving (something that's on my 101 list).  as you might know, i love de-cluttering.  i guess you could call me a minimalist, but i'm not very extreme or even that good at it yet.  i still have tv (cable is included in my rent, sue me), i still have over 20 pairs of shoes and an equal number of dresses.  but i'm getting there.  i love living with less stuff, it's surprisingly satisfying.

anyway, the point is that i'm not giving gifts this year for the holidays that can possibly end up being "clutter."  the holidays are just the time to make sure the people you love and appreciate all year long know that you love and appreciate them.  but 'clutter,' like random un-personalized knick knacks, doesn't convey that feeling.  i don't want to be the one that brings extra stuff into someone else's house.  this means no jewelry, no candles, no bake-ware, no books, no sweaters, no blankets, no photos.  just good old-fashioned time, gift certificates (for events or dinners, not for shopping!), or edible gifts because trust me, my friends would never let a bottle of vodka be 'clutter' for long.

kind of like the coupon books i made for my parents as a child.  which, in my opinion, were hilarious, because i gave my dad ones like "watch a whole day of football with stephanie" and "take stephanie on a shopping spree."  and by "as a child" i mean "for the last 28 years."  i promise this year's gifts will be less self-serving.

while my list of people to give gifts to isn't long, it does seem more difficult when the standby gifts aren't an option.  luckily, two of my friends, tara and betsy, have 101 in 1001 lists posted to their blogs that i can get ideas from (i.e. for betsy's birthday, i got her a gift certificate for the architecture boat tour so she could check that off her list.)  i won't ruin the surprise for them, but i do know what to do.  

but what about the people who don't have these lists?  meredith and i have made a no gifts plan - we're going to adopt a family together, which is her favorite thing to do at christmas.  a family in need posts their wish list and you go buy the things on it, including basics like towels as well as the barbie the daughter wants.  which i suppose is still buying 'stuff' but it's stuff for people who need it and not for meredith.  it's just something we can do together without spending more money on each other (which, when you've been best friends for 18 years, adds up to a lot of stuff.)

i'm also thinking of gifting my time - helping people organize who have said they want it, pet sitting, and as much as it pains me maybe babysitting for my cousin's kid.  that's a lie.  i'll buy her a gift certificate for a babysitter.

do you have any clutter-free gift ideas for me?  what would you most like to receive?

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22 comments

  1. Well you already have a gift idea for me apparently but this post reminded me I need a gift for you that isn't "clutter" I feel like most of our gifts to each other are alcohol based so maybe I will try to go a different direction this year... or maybe I will stick to tradition ;)

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    1. I like tradition, booze is never clutter! :)

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    2. Also, if you get a job in Chicago and move back here, I'll make you a giant battle shots board. That's not clutter, that's art and entertainment.

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    3. Yes to Battle Shots!! Love it. Tara you need to move back! Well you need to move back anyways : )

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  2. I want a One Direction cd. And some tube socks. And a bottle of Jack. And mens underwear. Preferably already worn. By a homeless guy.

    Make it happen. And make it snappy.

    STAT!!

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    1. put me down for this stuff too. i like it. and it'll save you time because you can just buy double of everything.

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  3. That's a good idea, to adopt a family with your friend.

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  4. You already know what I want. And in case you forgot, it involves your gift of time.
    Ps... I feel the same way about Halloween and Christmas... I love it, I love it, I LOVE it!

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  5. that adopt a family idea is an awesome one! my #1 gift on my lists are always gift certificates; that way i can get what i want.

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  6. I love this idea especially the gift of time and adopting a family! I love Christmas so I am not at all unhappy that you are already posting about it!

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  7. Eeekkkk....sooo close to Christmas!! This year will definitely be a clutter free one for us. It will be all about Mav!!! LOVE the adopting a family idea I have organized those kinds of things for years in the firms I have worked in and it always such a great feeling!!

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  8. I think this is a brilliant idea!
    (ps, I like vodka)

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  9. I Christmas shop all year long and save the stuff for when Christmas actually comes! I love Christmas!

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  10. LOVE this idea! I gave my parents concert tickets last year. It was still a superficial thing, BUT it was a night away for them to see their favorite band and it didn't create any clutter! Save for the Bon Jovi t-shirt my mom came home with, haha.

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  11. Wine, food (frozen dishes, a good olive oil, bread to freeze, coffee - food, like booze, will always be used), A Day out with Stephanie - do lunch and a movie or manicures or a pub crawl, a house cleaning/closet organizing.

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  12. i think giving meaningful gifts is so important. I used to just worry i got everyone something, now i make sure it is the perfect thing. clutter free is such a good idea.

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  13. Ok So I must admit I am a bit odd. I tend to give gift cards and buy them throughout the year, I literally store them in a box and just pull them out as I go for presents lol I tend to forget birthdays so it is great for last minute stuff lol

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  14. I have this same issue, loving reading the responses!

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  15. Something that doesn't change: I buy everyone a gift card and book. For the girls, fuzzy socks. It's been a tradition in our family. I just go out to various stores and just grab random stuff that I think they will like. I can't make a list, because I don't even technically know what they like, I just know if I see it.

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  16. I don't have any brilliant gift giving ideas, but I've been looking for some too! I want to do something different this year!

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  17. I already have a good idea for your clutter free gift!! I am just waiting on confirmation from Eleni. I emailed her yesterday and it didn't bounce back so I'm hoping she got it : ) It's a really good idea and I'm very proud of myself.

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  18. I will move pretty much wherever they will hire me... so if you find me a job in the Chitown I will be back in a flash... otherwise think of fun vaca places we could visit (ok drink) together

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