Finding the perfect gift can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. On this episode you will leave with over 40 ideas for gifts that aren’t materialistic possessions. This holiday, give the gift of experiences so that the recipients of your gifts can make long lasting memories. It feels good to give gifts that you know will be used and enjoyed now and in the future.
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Full Episode Transcription:
It’s the time of year where advertising and sales, flyers and emails are at an all-time high tempting us to make purchases for holiday gifts. In this episode of the intentional edit podcast, I’m sharing gifts that are perfect for all ages. And don’t add clutter in your home. Join me for this episode where you will be leaving with ideas for gift giving that are experiences over materialistic possessions. If you’re struggling with daily tasks, clutter organization, and finding any sort of work life balance, the intentional edit podcast is for you. It’s time to stop the chaos and live with more intention. I am Lauren, and I’m here to help you de-clutter implement systems and maximize routines that remove the overwhelming unorganized parts of life. Bringing simplicity to your home, come on. It’s time to create a life. You love.
Welcome to episode 13 of the intentional edit podcast. If you celebrate it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. This means that today is black Friday, and it’s the biggest retail shopping day of the year. If you have long lists of gifts to buy this season, I want to share with you some of my ideas for giving gifts that don’t add to clutter in the home, working in other people’s home as a professional organizer over the years, I’ve seen a lot of unused gifts. Of course, we will have good intention when they buy presents and they give the gifts. But a huge percentage of those gifts are never actually used. There are alternative gift giving ideas to solve this problem. A few years ago, I posted a blog post about this. And just before writing that I had come across a Facebook post by a grandmother of seven boys and girls ranging in ages from four to 17.
Most of them are teenagers, but there was one or two little ones. She was posting to request gift ideas for her grandkids because she felt like she was getting worse at gift giving every year. And she was really struggling with what to get them. She didn’t know what to buy that they would actually use. When I saw the post, the reason it caught my attention is because it had been posted pretty quick. And there were already 650 comments from people trying to help her with ideas of what she could buy for the presents for her grandkids. I included some of those on the blog posts that I did back then. And I’m going to share them with you today because they still apply. And there’s a common theme among all of these comments that I found interesting when I originally read it. And it still makes me think about gift giving and what and why we give gifts.
I think you will find this interesting too, as I read off this list to you of some of the comments that came in on her Facebook post, I want you to think about what the common theme is and what you are hearing. All of these people say and recommend to this grandmother about gift giving. Here’s the list of the recommended gifts. And I’m going to read them to you. Now, the first one was money towards something that these kids really want. Another one tickets to an event, the zoo children’s museum, et cetera, the next one membership to age appropriate activities, where they live money or airline tickets or gift cards to the airline for the grandkids that don’t live near you. Gas, money, carwash certificate for older kids that can drive. This one said nothing that makes noise or adds to all the toys I’m sure they already have, and don’t really play with.
Anyway, this one was art supplies. Play-Doh clay paint for younger ones. These get used up and you can always use more when they run out. I do think that is a good point. There are certain gifts that just take up space and time do usually don’t get played with very often and then like this one art supplies and Play-Doh and things like that. Those are things that get used up. They need to be replenished. The next comment was pay for a class or activity they would like to join. One person just said money. This is a good one. I think if you have kids that are in activities, you will relate to this one. My daughter spends thousands of dollars on competitive sports for her kids. You could contribute to that. If you have any athletes in the family, also the equipment and clothing for these sports is very expensive.
Buying this season’s uniform or new piece of equipment would benefit the child and parent, and actually be an item that gets used for the entire season. If not longer, that’s a great one. The next one, something that gets them outdoors and away from the TV and tablets, the next one, open a college savings account and add to it for each holiday and birthday, or whenever you can, don’t get a toy or the latest gadget as a nanny of over 30 years, these items never get used or only played with once or twice. They take up space and waste your money. That one made me laugh because it was brutally honest gift cards to a place where they can get a special treat like ice cream shop or frozen yogurt and an activity center, like a trampoline park or indoor play place. They can spend an afternoon playing and enjoying life and then stop for a treat on the way home.
I thought that one was well thought out. It’s like a whole day’s activity money or gift cards. So an item you buy doesn’t become a dust collector. That’s another one I thought was pretty funny. Pay for music lessons or instrument rental, or purchase an instrument. If they’re at a higher level tickets to a show or concert coming to town, put money in a savings account for them to use at a certain age and contribute to it. Often savings bond for college swimming, lessons or lessons of another kind money towards a savings account college fund. My son just turned one and we don’t need another single toy. He plays with cardboard boxes more than the actual. So the next one was, unless they’re asking for something specific, a toy or gadget will only be short-lived. If any interest at all, it’s sad to say, but gift cards or money are the way to go.
We’re almost done with the list. There’s just a couple more. The next one is something the family can do together. A gift card to a restaurant and miniature golf or a family activity. How about pay for a sport or music? Lesson paint, markers, crayons, gifts that encourage creativity, any supply that gets used up and needs to be replaced frequently money. Is there an activity they want to take that you can pay for all? Or some of it? This one says, please not another toy or kit. There is a good possibility. It will still be in the package next Christmas. And the last one I’m going to go over today, gift card or tickets to a play or show they want to see in the coming months. If you’re looking for gift ideas, I just gave you plenty just based on those comments from that Facebook post, I’m going to give you a bunch more in a few minutes, but there were a lot there they work for many ages and kids with different interests.
Did you notice the common theme? What was the common theme among everything that I just listed? It wasn’t materialistic possessions that take up space in your home and time to clean and maintain the list was full of ideas to gifts that allow for experiences instead of things, if you love wrapping presents, I know I do. That’s one of my favorite parts of gift giving is actually wrapping the presents and making them presentable. If you are one of those people that loves wrapping presents and the physical act of gift-giving, you can still do these things with the gifts that I mentioned. It’s like a gift card, but it’s really better because the recipient can actually imagine what they’re going to do with it or where they will be when they’re using the gift that you’re giving it’s different than a gift card to a store or something where they don’t.
Yes, they know that they’ll buy something at the store, but they don’t know what it is. They can’t envision it when they’re getting the gift and they won’t get as excited about it. If you are giving a gift, that is one of those ideas that was just mentioned, like tickets to a concert or a play or something that is coming to the area where they live when they receive that they can imagine going to that event. A great family gift is a gift to a zoo or a museum or something that it can be membership for so many months or a year membership. And the entire family can go. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving because if it’s for a time period, they can go with numerous amounts of time. It was just one gift for the family, but it lasts throughout the year.
And every time they go and make great memories at the zoo, they’re also thinking of you because you contributed and you provided them with that opportunity to be able to do that one time or over and over again, I’m not going to put it off any longer. Here’s the list that I came up with or gifts that will actually be used. They won’t cause clutter and will truly be enjoyed by the recipient. Number one, gift certificates, to play places, trampoline, parks, adventure, course, museums, aquariums science center, whatever is in the area. You can look up places and families, usually with young kids or kids of the ages that would go to these places, usually are very aware of what their kids are interested in and what is close to home that they would like to be able to go to more often, sometimes a simple question and maybe a prompting of anything that you want a membership to, or is there a trampoline park nearby or a science center or something that, you know, they’re interested in, prompt them with that and see if they are interested in that number two, a year membership to the local zoo children’s theater, children’s museum or other activities like that.
Number three, food baskets or boxes. There are plenty of pre-packaged baskets or delivery options this time of year. And you can buy one that is a one time thing, or you can get a delivery type service that will come at different times throughout the year. Number four food services throughout the year, plenty of options like hello, fresh or blue apron. Why wouldn’t you enjoy fresh ingredients in new dinner, recipes arriving at your door every month or every week, or however you want to set that up. That would be another one I would talk to the recipient about, but if you have a busy family that tries to eat healthy and doesn’t really enjoy cooking, or doesn’t have the time to cook, this can be a good option. Just make sure they’re interested in it. And they’ll actually follow through and cook the dinners that are delivered to their home.
Number five, fresh citrus, apples, or meat delivered to your door. I have ordered from a company called five Mary’s farm they’re based in Northern California. And the only meat that we cook in my house is from five marries. I order mostly beef and pork from them, people that care about their health and what they are consuming would absolutely appreciate the quality of this pasture raised meat and the products from five Mary’s farm. But there are tons of farms and places where you can do this. And depending on where you live, there might be one that is even local to you, or, you know, within an hour of where your family members live, that they could have delivered that way. It just depends on what city they’re in and how close they are to places like that. Number six, a monthly club for something that is used up like wine of the month, beer of the month, something along those lines.
Number seven, tickets to a concert, number eight, tickets to a play show symphony or theater it again, depending on what is open in the areas. I know most things are open back up now, what are they interested in? What would they like to see? Number nine, clean tickets or airline gift card. Even if you can’t afford the full amount or of a trip of what they want to do. If you know that your family is planning a trip to a specific location or saving money for a trip to go someplace and they need to fly, then find out what airline that they are going on and purchase a gift card for that airline, or give them cash toward with a, some type of gift certificate that you print out saying what it is for, with you can put an airplane on it and be specific about this is to put towards your trip for your airfare.
Number 10 membership or gift card to an activity like pottery, painting, art, painting, cooking classes, something that is creative in the area that really gets their creativity going. They can go take a class and come home with something that they’ve created, that they are really looking forward to them. Number 11, tuition to an extracurricular class. This applies to all ages. A lot of times when people reach retirement age and have a little more time, they want to take a class. Uh, I know someone that actually just enrolled in an adult, same glass class, the fees and the supplies and everything for that semester long class was almost a thousand dollars. If you have someone that is interested in taking a class, but the finances are what is holding them back, contributing to that or paying for that class, depending on the budget that you have set for what you spend for that person that could be helpful.
Number 12, art supplies and tools for arts and crafts. Those are things that are used up. They don’t last forever. And they, if you have an artist in the family, then they use those things. When they’re creating number 13 subscription to an online book club or service like audible. If you have a reader in the family, there are many things that you can do, even, you know, Kendall gift certificates or whatever. But if you have someone like I use audible and it’s audio books, so you can listen to books while you’re doing something else. If you have someone that travels a lot, Audible’s great. Because with your subscription, you get one, you get a credit for one book every month, they can put a credit card on that, and then they can purchase additional books. If they want to, to listen to number 14, gift certificate for a photography session for family photos, number 15, gift certificate to a carwash or an auto to be detailed, number 16 massage, or a spot service gift card, or a certificate or a membership number 17 restaurant gift cards, 18, a membership to Amazon prime, number 19 money towards an activity or excursion for someone to do on an upcoming trip.
Again, going back to the whole airline gift certificate. This could be something, if you know they’re going on a trip and they want to go on a kayak excursion, or they want to get a massage on the trip, or they wanted to go on a helicopter to, or ride mules down the grand canyon or something like that, you can give money towards those specific activities. So that’s something they can look forward to when they are going on this trip. Number 20 horseback riding lessons or a trail ride, number 21 lessons or classes of any kind that the person has expressed interest in. If suppliers are requirements to participate, then those can accompany the gift as well. If you, you are a type of person that gets caught up on the idea that you are not giving a physical thing, that is a great one. If you have a child who wants to do a ballet class for the first time, they probably need a leotard, tights and valleys shoes.
And you could, whether it’s by yourself or going in with someone else, you could supply the payment for the class and you could supply the required outfit and shoes that they will need to participate in that. And then they have something to open. You know, it will be used because they are actually taking the class because you signed them up for it and paid for it. Don’t just go ahead and sign up people for things, make sure this is something that they want to do. And if it’s a child, of course get the parent’s permission and input. And maybe they already know where they want their kids to go. But if not spend some time investigating things in their area and see what they think. Number 22 national parks pass or state parks pass number 23, Disneyland or Disney world tickets, or an annual pass, number 24 admission to a water park or a theme park.
The 25th one that I came up with was movie passes or a gift certificate, number 26, pay for a service like a landscaper, accountant, home organizer, pet sitter, home cleaning, anything like that, depending on what stage of life your recipient is in different home services will probably be desired more than others, but talk to them. And this could be something that they’ve never thought of that was even possible. And it could be very beneficial for the family number 27 summer camp or some type of club or something that they can do. That requires fees. Number 28, tickets to local sporting events, 29 is a membership to Costco. Those usually are annual memberships and especially larger families. That would be something that they could really use in love. If there is a Costco close by them, number 30, a gift certificate to Airbnb. If you have someone wanting to go on a trip or even do a staycation, an Airbnb is a fun option.
31 is something for the backyard, like a backyard activity, a swing set, a trampoline, some big activity that keeps them occupied and busy and promotes being outside. Number 32, uh, this will be a perfect gift for someone who has everything and you can contribute or make a donation to a charity. And that person, same number 33 miniature golf, ice skating, or indoor arcade, bowling alley, something like top golf gift certificate to something like that. Number 34 and I tunes gift card that perfect for tweens and teens, number 35 hotel or a staycation package. And of course that would depend on the area and interest, but there can be a lot of opportunity in packages for hotels or staycation type of thing, all inclusive or not, and really fit any age or interests. Number 36 music lessons and an instrument rental. Or if you have a more advanced musician, maybe a purchase of an instrument or money towards purchasing that instrument, number 37 lift tickets, or a season pass to a ski resort, number 38 supplies to build and take care of a garden.
Or if you have someone who is doing landscaping or enhancing their yard soon, even the purchase of a tree or bushes, or a few things for the yard, number 39, pay for a membership to a sport or a club that they want to join to be able to work out at in the upcoming months, you can pay for just a couple of months or a year membership, whatever fits into the amount of money that you want to spend. And the last one I’m going to say is probably the simplest and it’s definitely the easiest number 40 is money. Just give them money. There it is. That is the entire list of over 40 things that I came up with pretty quickly, just trying to jot down some things that aren’t physical possessions that actually take up space in someone’s house. With that list, you should be able to find something for everyone on your gift list.
If you are shopping for something that is an actual thing, a materialistic object, try to find a small business or a locally owned business. Even if you’re online shopping, there are plenty of plenty of opportunities to do this. He and me and shops or individuals with small businesses, you can even look on Etsy and find a ton of individual businesses that are handmade. Those types of businesses need the support, and they love the support. Um, you know, where every dollar is going when you purchase from a business like this and you are supporting actual people. And it does make a huge different, I love to shop small and support businesses like that, whether it’s in-person or online, and you know that the money is going to the business and the people that own them. I hope that that long gift list helped deal. It was a lot of information and ideas to help you with your shopping this year. Now that you have some ideas you can purchase, wrap, and finish your shopping so that you can enjoy this holiday season and be present with your family and friends, happy holidays and happy shopping. I’ll meet you back here next week for another episode of the intentional edit podcast.
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Lauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces. Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life. Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority. While trends come and go organization is always in style!
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