Clutter Free Giving

Gifts. Presents. Goodies. Loot.

Sadly, these can all be called by another word:


I have very generous family. I’m blessed, I know. But with 3 kids, they are a bit overly generous. Especially in the gift department.

I’m not saying DH and I are innocent. We love us some sales/clearance/deals. But we’re pretty good at keeping it to what our kids want, not just buying for the sake of a deal.

Anyway, I started thinking about ‘clutter free gifts’ for families to give to kids. Gifts that I wouldn’t necessarily think to/be able to purchase myself. Some can even be a “family gift”. Here’s what I have, please add to it in the comment section below! (I’m saving my favorite idea for last, one that ties it all together, so keep reading for that!)

*Note – some do include something to “open”, since that’s the #1 complaint I get when I suggest any of these ideas!

The Gift of Experience

– tickets to a sports game (or a few scattered throughout the season) – add a shirt/baseball cap/magnet of the team
– tickets to the philharmonic/music group (yes, even – especially? – for kids!) – pair with a CD of them, or a pretty dress/fun tie to wear
– tickets/season pass for a museum – science, kids, art – most of these will have shirts/magnets/water bottles
– cooking lessons – ask around; I found a supermarket in town that does cooking lessons! Pair with an apron or some cooking ingredients.
– craft lessons – craft stores are offering 1 time classes for kids. Add in some appropriate craft supplies.
– music/dance lessons – a bit more long term, but if Junior’s been wanting to learn piano or Susie’s dying to try tap dancing, take advantage!
– magazine subscriptions! OK, maybe not an ‘experience’ per say, but check out Amazon for some neat kids magazines!

The Gift of Giving

– new books for the child to donate to the library
– new DVDs to donate to a local children’s hospital
– their favorite cereal/soup for them to donate to the food pantry
– kitty litter/blankets/pet toys to donate to the animal shelter

If you absolutely positively MUST provide “openable” gifts, here are some ideas of things to suggest:

– if your kids are already taking lessons, how some help with the extras? Get some tights or tutus for dancers, leotards for gymnasts, soccer socks for the athletes, the next book for music lessons.
– craft kits – a kit that allows the kiddo to create something is wonderful!They can learn to knit a scarf, paint some sun-catchers, make their soap.
– craft supplies – good sturdy paper, nice watercolors, fresh crayons, new paintbrushes…
– puzzles!! Add in one of those roll up mats, too.

OK, now here’s my favorite part that I’m going to hopefully try this year:

The Gift Of Your TIME

These are some pretty decent ideas to start, but what’s really missing is YOU (or the giver). So here’s what I propose: Have the giver include a calendar with the gift. In it, have January and February marked with dates with YOU. Put in that hockey game or concert. Add an afternoon doing a craft kit. Call ahead and schedule a time to drop things off at the shelter. Add in a “You Pick Dinner” day and a “Game Night”. And most important, around mid February add “Plan out March and April”.

Because really, they can have all the games, crafts, toys, music, and experiences in the world… but you know that spending 1 hour playing Sorry, or reading their magazine, or cooking dinner, or knitting that scarf will stay with them the longest.

So, what about you? What suggestions do YOU have?


About growingintome

Oh goodness... where to start! I am a preschool teacher with three little rugrats. A loving (usually!) wife. A Flybaby-in-training. Fascinated by natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Working on improving my knitting and crocheting. Would love to learn to play the piano and guitar. Dreaming of being a sign language interpreter. Totally amateur blogger. In case you didn't guess.
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5 Responses to Clutter Free Giving

  1. Jaclyn says:

    Great suggestions! Since I love to cook & bake, I use those for gifts sometimes. I started a little tradition in my family where on Mother’s Day, I cook dinner for my parents, sisters & their families, since I’m the only non-mother so it gives them all a day off. And since I’ve started baking bread, I’ve sometimes given loaves as gifts too.

    A nice gift I got once was a homemade cookie mix. It’s a jar that contains all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies, and a card attached with the directions.

    Another one that I like is gift cards to restaurants. I suppose it could be seen as a cop-out because it’s a gift that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but I always appreciate them. We don’t eat out very much (aside from a few special occasions) because it gets so expensive. But when we have a gift card to spend, it’s a nice way to relax and have a “date night.”

    • That sounds like a great gift to give people; who doesn’t love a home cooked meal! (And I’ve had your cooking… YUM!) I’ve done the cookies in a jar and loved doing and giving it. This year I’m debating soups/mixes/drinks in a jar too. Pretty until you use it, practical when you do.

      Gift cards are great, I’m with you. Joe and I were/are never big into going out either, but when we get a gift card we make a point to use it! For our anniversary we tried and got a good deal to try a nice place; otherwise we would never spend the money.

      I’m starting to think I should get a post going on adult clutter free gifts!

  2. ~Kris J. says:

    been doing this kind of this as much as i can, since before having children. My dad always baked and made cookies trays for our family, and i try and do that now.

    As the kids get bigger, I am finding it much easier to find clutter-free gifts to give.

    • Agreed, it’s easier as the kids get older. Also, Joe and I tend to purchase things they need and/or truly want when it’s dirt cheap, and grandparents come ‘shopping’ in our gift closet! I’m really happy that a lot of my family it getting into the ‘no gifts’ mode; we just get together and enjoy each other! (With plenty of yummy food, of course!)

  3. Cwningen says:

    I read tap dancing as lap dancing. Oops. I love all the ideas!

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