More love less clutter: the ultimate holiday gift guide 2016

*Unless noted, I have not personally verified or utilized the products and services listed below. If you purchased something from the list and didn't like what you got, please don't get mad at me!

The holiday season is upon us! Yes, I realize that we still have two months, before ______________(insert your choice of celebration) but now is the perfect time to plan for your gift shopping. 

If you have been bitten by a declutter bug, and have been enjoying a less cluttered life lately, the last thing you'd want is to gift potential clutter to your loved ones. 

Do to others as you would have them do to you, right? And hopefully, they'll return the favor next year.

Here is a list of clutter-free gift ideas to help you. 

Food and drink

This is one of the easiest and safest option for every budget. If you know about their allergies or other restrictions (e.g., for religious reasons), make sure to take that into consideration. If you're not sure what they like, get something that they can share with others if it's not their cup of tea.

Here are some ideas:

Event tickets

Check your city's and nearby city's event schedule and get a pair of tickets. You can give them both tickets or take them to an event with you. If you really want to spoil them, you can take them to an out-of-city/country event and look after their flight and hotel, too. 

Some suggestions:

Membership and subscriptions

Various organizations offer gift memberships, and pretty much anything you can buy, you can buy through subscription services. I personally would love to get a toilet paper subscription. 

Gift card (physical and e-cards)

Lots of businesses and organizations offer gift cards from Amazon to a local zoo. If the organization of your choice doesn't offer one, you can get a prepaid credit gift card (e.g., visa, master). 

Some clutter-free options:

  • coffee shops
  • restaurants
  • juice bars
  • ice cream parlors
  • bakeries
  • chocolatier
  • wine/beer/liquor shops
  • organic grocery stores
  • spa/hair salons
  • massage
  • music (e.g., itunes card)
  • movie theatres
  • hotels
  • flights
  • online travel service gift certificates
  • recreation centres
  • gas/petrol

Take them on an adventure or a vacation

There are many destinations to choose from depending on your budget and schedule. Here are just a few of the suggestions: 

  • weekend camping 
  • fishing trip
  • SUP trip 
  • kayaking trip
  • whitewater rafting
  • ziplining
  • amusement park
  • staycation at a local hotel & spa/spa package
  • yoga retreat
  • silent retreat
  • raw food retreat
  • clothing-optional resort
  • go watch a rally car racing
  • overnight out-of-town getaway staying at a rustic house rented through Airbnb
  • chilling at a seaside cottage
  • escape to a Carribean destination in the middle of the winter
  • cruise
  • white sand beaches of Zanzibar
  • make a salty dog at Salar de Uyuni
  • take a dip in Icelandic hot springs
  • river cruise in Europe
  • get scared on one of the glass bridges of China
  • art gallery/museum tour in Paris or New York
  • street food gastronomy tour in ________ 
  • visit any of the 196 countries, or 4,416 cities in the world with a population of over 150,000

Personal development

If you know anyone on your list is into personal development, here are some ideas:

Gift of giving

Instead of giving them a gift, give to a charity in their name.

Educational Saving

You can contribute the registered education savings of your child, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and friends' children. 

No gift

Lastly, you can start a new tradition of no holiday gift-giving. If you were going this route, let them know early enough so they won't go out and buy a gift for you. 

Some people will be upset, ignore your request and keep giving you a gift. Depending on how you feel about this person, you can continue to exchange gifts (gift them any of the clutter-free items listed above), or stop giving them a gift (and hopefully they'll stop giving you one starting next year). This might be a good time to reassess your relationships. 

It's also acceptable to donate or sell any gifts that you received, but you don't want to keep. If the person who gave you the gift found out, let them know that you appreciated the gesture but you also wanted it to be used by someone who will appreciate it more. 

I can personally speak of the benefits of no gift giving. I stopped giving holiday gifts to anyone but my husband and daughter more than 10 years ago, and it reduced so much stress around this time of the year:

  • the stress of coming up with gift ideas
  • the stress of going out to shop in a crowded environment
  • the stress of getting the gifts ready (wrapping, sending)
  • financial stress
  • the stress of dealing with gifts that I received and I have no used for

If you think this "no-gift" option is all about your benefit, think again. Imagine your friends and family stopped buying you a gift. You just saved them a lot of stress. And isn't that a beautiful thing?   

Anyway, there you have it. Happy clutter-free holiday gift shopping (or not)!