Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas and Other Holidays: A Clutter-Free Gift Guide

cat with Christmas gift

Yet another holiday gift-giving guide? Well, for those who are so inclined, it makes sense to take a look at your gift-giving traditions and decide if you'd like to make any simplifications.

But many people will be giving gifts - and I'd like to see those gifts be something that won't wind up as clutter. So over the next few days I'll be listing gifts of consumables, gifts of experiences, gifts involving donations to good causes - and a few other ideas, too. And I'll bet I have ideas in each category that you never thought of before.

But to start us out, I thought I'd quote San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll:
And there's Christmas. ... People are giving each other gifts to express love. How dopey is that? You want to express your love for me? Do my laundry. Invite me to a movie. Discuss the 49ers. Play the flute, assuming you play the flute.

And the stuff for kids, especially. We all know how much of that stuff actually gets played with enough to justify its cost. And we all know that even if the kid likes it, the kid will not miss it if he never gets it. You want to express your love? Go to parent-teacher conferences. Have a weekend outing. Just be happy at the end of the day - how's that?

We are in a malaise of materialism. I don't believe the way out is more materialism. The way out is to stop relying on stuff to make us happy. Buy less, America.
Or at least buy thoughtfully.

[photo by yogadad / Randy Dykhuis]

More of the gift-giving series:
Christmas and Other Holidays: Donations as Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Consumable Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Gifts of Experiences
Christmas and Other Holidays: Gifts of Time
Christmas and Other Holidays: Yet More Clutter-Free Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Gift Cards
Christmas and Other Holidays: Consumable Gifts, Part 2
Christmas and Other Holidays: Wish Lists and Gift Registries
Christmas and Other Holidays: Gifts That Add to the Collection
Christmas and Other Holidays: Donations as Gifts, Part 2


Anonymous said...

looking forward to reading this.
My children now get money to buy their own things and I have given up wrapping completely. Everyone has his own xmas sack and can take out one present at a time.

Jeri Dansky said...

Nikki, I hope you enjoy the series. Gift wrapping is an interesting sujbect - some people just love doing it, and others of us look for ways to make it simpler.

Allison Spitzer Carter said...

Thanks Jeri! Always great ideas! I'm going to share these goodies.
Don't forget to add Getting Organized as a gift! Just spending time with someone as they clean out a closet can be a big help. Or hire an organizer for them of course.
-- Allison Carter

Anonymous said...

Is that your cat? Beautiful. I've just completed a little exercise for myself by going through my home and choosing my top 10 favorite "decorative" belongings. Three I inherited, the other 7 I have purchased myself (all fall into the category of art/craftsmanship. Not a single Christmas/Birthday gift among them. Hmmm. What does that tell you?

Jeri Dansky said...

Allison, I listed getting organized here.

Joan, it's not my kitty; I assume it's Randy's (the person in the photo credit). But I have plenty of pictures of my cats for your viewing pleasure.

And you inspired me to take a look around. One of my favorite decorative items was a gift; it's a photograph by a friend who's a photographer, and he knew I loved that specific photo.

Anonymous said...


Good for you for being so bold to post the comments by Jon Carroll. Yes, we need to hear these words and hopefully some people will take action. I have quite a few family members that are pulling way back and finding other ways to make the season fun!

Jeri Dansky said...

Deb, as soon as I read the Jon Carroll column, I knew I wanted to quote him!