Slow Holidays: Clutter-Free Gifts

Tim Mossholder It’s the most wonderful (exhausting?) time of the year… and it’s almost upon us. Considering we’re now well in to November, Ben and I wanted to spend the next few weeks talking about how we may be able to reduce the stress, overwhelm, expense, clutter and expectations we all feel when the silly season arrives, and today we begin by going to the heart of the matter – gifts.

It kind of bugs me that this is the first question that comes to mind, because as far as I’m concerned, the holidays should be about spending time with people we love and having enough time to actually sit and enjoy their company. It shouldn’t be about stuff at all, and yet, that’s the overarching theme of the Christmas and holiday season.

So instead of just ranting about it, in today’s episode we offer you a few ways of changing your mindset regarding gifts and showing love, but also share a whole heap of (hopefully) practical and interesting gifts that won’t add to the endless clutter that comes with the seemingly endless gift giving.

Plus, we also talk about the benefit of experiences over things, homemade and consumable gifts and one of my favourites – giving the gift of our time and skills.

We also talk about the fact that, yes, Ben and I do give Christmas gifts to our kids, and that rather than get lost in the Toy of the Year craziness, buying whatever plastic piece of junk is on the Must Have List for all girls and boys, we stick to these guidelines. They usually serve us pretty well:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

We then also list some of my favourite clutter-free gift ideas for a variety of ages, including:

  • Young kids: movie, theatre, concert tickets, sporting event passes, annual pass to a local attraction
  • Older kids: movie or event tickets, art, music, dance or cooking classes,
  • Teenagers: classes or lessons, concert tickets, vouchers to Etsy, iTunes, Google Play etc
  • Adults: consumables, cooking lessons, online courses, charitable gifts, vouchers for babysitting, gardening, time spent together
You can also read my comprehensive Clutter-Free Gift Guide from a few years ago here. The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide #christmas

Sometimes it takes a little creativity or a little deeper questioning on what the person would like, but these thoughtful gifts are so wonderful and you know they get to spend time doing something they enjoy as opposed to simply being given something they may or may not even need, use or want.

Undoubtedly, it’s a tricky time to make sweeping changes to the way you and your family do gifts, but even by introducing some of these ideas this year you can pave the way for simpler, slower, less cluttered Christmases in the years ahead.

Do you have a favourite clutter-free gift? What’s been the best you’ve ever received?


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4 Responses to Slow Holidays: Clutter-Free Gifts

  1. I do celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. But its still easy to get caught up in all the gift giving! So I consciously have to tell myself not to. I sooooo prefer giving home made gifts. Which I do every year, along with some bought items. But even the bought items might be home made wool socks or gloves. One year I bought big baking tins and filled them up with cookies. With a note stating that they could a refill the following year! They all loved that! Another year my husband and I made fleece tie blankets for everyone. That was fun!
    I want others to know that it’s out of love that I’m giving the gift.

    As always, I look forward to each and every podcast!

    Have a very joy filled Christmas!

    Adrian, Michigan

  2. I’m so enjoying your blog and podcast. As for Christmas, I’ve found that embracing a more minimalist lifestyle has changed my list of Christmas wants. Now I find I want simple replacement consumables, such as a couple of my favorite pens that are currently running out, or gift cards for digital music. Minimalism and slow living have really helped me fully appreciate the small joys so much more. Who knew one could actually look forward to getting socks for Christmas!