Idea #1: Minimize the Gift Giving
Want to give — and get — less stuff this holiday season? Miss Minimalist has a One Less Gift certificate you can use. However, even Miss Minimalist is not entirely opposed to gifts; for example, she suggests exchanging services, with "coupons" for babysitting, snow shoveling, etc. Another nice idea is this one:
Make charitable donations. The money we spend buying each other gadgets, knickknacks, and tchotchkes can do a world of good for those less fortunate. The key is to make it fun: spend an afternoon with loved ones choosing favorite charities together. Selecting a sheep, goat, or water buffalo to donate through Heifer International, for example, can be a lot more fun (and certainly more fulfilling) than fighting crowds at the mall.Read her whole post for more ideas on ways to enjoy the holidays without going crazy on the gift-giving. [via The Consumerist]
And for more encouragement to minimize the gift-giving, watch this charming short video called Chip and Bean Buy Nothing.
Idea #2: Give Gifts that Won't Become Clutter
If you'd like to buy some gifts, and ensure they are still not clutter, there are a number of ways to go. If you know someone well, you may have a darn good idea what that person would love to get — and it might be a small thing that's somehow just perfect.
When I look around my home, I can see a number of such gifts that I've received over the years. Clo the Cow, the mascot of Clover Stornetta, is just one such gift — a perfect reminder of time spent in Sonoma County.
And then there are the standard non-cluttter gifts: gifts of consumables, gifts of experiences, and those gifts of charitable donations mentioned earlier. These still need to be picked with care — not everyone wants wine or chocolates, for example — but these are all gifts that won't add to the stuff lying around the house, at least not for long! Here are just a few suggestions:
1. Gift subscription to CoffeeCSA.org — or just a one-time delivery
Many of us are familiar with community-supported agriculture programs, where local farmers sell their produce direct to consumers. Most of us don't have a local coffee grower nearby, but this program provides the next best thing.
The site is not yet set up for gift subscriptions, but Thaleon Tremain, the CEO of CoffeeCSA.org, suggested this to me: "Subscribe to a CSA and then ship it another address, as a gift. If you would like to include a message, please email us directly and we will hand-write your message on a nice card."
2. Unusual seeds
This could be a fun gift for any gardeners you know. The seeds shown above come from the Italian company Franchi Sementi, which has distributors around the world. (This photo came from The Italian Gardener in Australia.) You could also give a gift certificate for such seeds.
3. Classes offered by local shops
LeeAnne Jones of Diablo Magazine wrote about classes offered in the East Bay (part of the San Francisco Bay Area). But lots of stores all over the place offer classes! The photo above comes from The Naked Sheep Knit Shop, which offers a class called A Year of Hats — and many other classes as well.
All my non-clutter gift-giving ideas