Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas and Other Holidays: Yet More Clutter-Free Gifts

face icon realtor

Here's a grab bag of gifts that wouldn't be clutter - but don't fit nicely into any gift category. Some of these are a bit quirky, but maybe one of them is just right for someone you know.

1. The picture above comes from, which will create a comic version of you from a photo. Use your icon on your web site, business cards, or whatever - there are lots of possibilities here. [via Leading Edge Gifts]

Tiger, by William Blake - first stanza

2. I would never have though of giving a poem as a gift, until I read this in an interview with Caroline Kennedy:
Question: I heard that one of your family traditions was to write poems as gifts to each other.

Answer: It was writing or finding a poem in a poetry book or anthology and picking a poem out that we liked, and either memorizing it or copying it over. That was one of the gifts we would give to my mother and my grandparents on holidays or birthdays. I think that really gave my brother and me an appreciation for that sort of independent reading and discovery. Of course, we complained about it all the time, but in fact, it’s something that I think stuck with both of us—and turned into a lifelong love of poetry, literature, and ideas.

[via Bookslut. Image of William Blake's poem from John Bailey's lovely blog, journal of a writing man]

valslist logo

3. An iTunes gift card is a common (and nice) gift - but you could also give someone the gift of a playlist. The Valslist web site explains: "We search for new music so you don’t have to. Valslist discovers the best tunes, including new artists, vintage oldies, covers and world music – and assembles them into unique playlists to make it easy."

BookSwim logo

4. A Netflix membership is often mentioned, with good reason, on clutter-free gift idea lists. But you could also give a membership in BookSwim, which is commonly explained as being like Netflix for books.

art for rent

5. And then there's the Artavo ArtLease, where you can lease a different painting each month if you so choose - or keep the one you have. The Nanaimo Art Gallery has a similar program; the painting above comes from that gallery's collection. There are other such programs around the world. They may not have special gift programs set up, but I'm sure they'd be glad to arrange something with you.

Karaoke channle

6. Give someone a subscription to a members-only web site or service, as suggested by Money and Values. Here are just a few examples of such sites and services:
- The Karaoke Channel
- David Allen's GTD Connect
- The Clutter Diet
- Flickr Pro
- Wordtracker keyword services

Want more clutter-free gift ideas? You can find links to all articles in this gift-giving series here:
Christmas and Other Holidays: A Clutter-Free Gift Guide

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Emily said...

I know that this comment is crazy late - but - I find the idea of BookSwim quite odd. Isn't that what the public library is for - and free?

I love this blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jeri Dansky said...


Thanks for the kind words; I'm delighted to provide you with inspiration.

Regarding BookSwim: I had the same reaction when I first heard about it. BookSwim anticipated that, and the FAQ says:

Why not JUST go to the library?

* Late fees (never with BookSwim)

* Limited hours (browse BookSwim in your pajamas at 3am if you'd like)

* Limited selections (can't find a book on Let us know and we'll buy it!)

* Long waiting lists for popular titles (we buy plenty of copies to slash your wait time)

* Location, location, location (what could be closer than your own home?)

That said, BookSwim is a terrific suppliment [sic] for avid library users, as BookSwim encourages members to use the library if/when possible.

For some people, these must be compelling reasons to use BookSwim, or the business wouldn't survive. If there's one thing I've learned as an organizer, it's that each person's needs (and solutions) will be different.