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ONE MORE THING: I am transitioning my old blog to this blog, and this post has been recycled. If it seems as though you’ve read it before, you might have. 😉
Christmas is coming quickly, and whether you are trying to simplify your life a bit or go totally minimalist, you may want to avoid buying a lot of things that your loved ones don’t need or won’t use. Here are some gift ideas that may fit the bill.
- Art supplies: Crayons, markers, construction paper, scissors, pom poms, and other art supplies encourage your child’s creativity, even if they do take up space. (I’d recommend Sterlite containers or even fabric storage bins to organize these.)
- Bubbles: If you have young children, you can’t go wrong with bubbles. If your preschooler is frequently asking you to blow bubbles, consider a bubble machine. Read the reviews on any that you consider, though. We have a great hand-held one, but our larger machine was ultimately junk.
- Books: These can be expensive. I like to go to the thrift stores and buy them for pennies on the dollar. I do check each page to ensure it hasn’t been written on.
- Whistle: A whistle is a great thing to have in your home. You never know when you might need it–one is suggested in an emergency preparedness kit. (And you can always hide it in your “go box” after Christmas, right?)
- Hair accessories: Scrunchis always wear out and go missing, so I try to put some in my daughter’s stocking every year–and I typically buy those from Dollar Tree so that I get the most bang for my buck.
- Legos: I know; I know. These hurt when you step on them. But if your kid plays with them, at least they are small and can be easily corralled using Sterlite containers or even with a Lego table. Speaking of . . .
- Lego table: If your kid (or even your big kid) loves Legos, a Lego table may be a great way to organize those and keep them from your floor or dining room table. You can build one relatively easily.
- Memberships: If you truly want to give your kids something they will love but will take up no space in your home, a membership to a local attraction such as a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, farm, or water park is a great idea.
- A vacation: Maybe this is the perfect time of year to take your family to Disney Land or Disney World.
One more thing: You could encourage loved ones–grandparents, maybe?–to donate to your child’s savings or even 529 plan if you have one established. My parents aren’t open to this sort of thing, but some may be, especially if your state allows tax deductions for state 529 plan contributions.
- Pyrex or Anchor Hocking: Migrating away from plastic storage containers can be good for your health since glass does not leech chemicals into your food. Furthermore, you won’t have to deal with those pesky tomato stains on glass storage, and Pyrex really doesn’t break as easily as you think. Pyrex typically goes on sale for Black Friday, so you can find some great deals. Final note: I’ve found that Pyrex makes a great dirty Santa Christmas gift.
- An extra set of dishes, silverware, or glassware: If you’re missing silverware (I can’t be the only one) or you’ve broken a plate or glass here or there, a new set may help keep your household with enough dishes, silverware, or glassware for you to avoid doing dishes daily.
- A good set of knives: If you eat meat and have cheap knives, you’ll never know how wonderful a great set of steak knives can be. (Tossing cheap steak knives in the trash can also be very cathartic.) I received a set of AmazonBasics steak knives a couple of years ago, and I love them. A good chef’s knife (I love this one) or paring knife (small or large) is also a helpful gift to receive.
- Cloth napkins: Unexciting? For some. But I love cloth napkins because they save me a lot of money. I haven’t bought paper towels since 2014! And you can get some really cute ones these days . . . or you could just go with basic black like mine. I’ve had these for a year and they haven’t faded or stained.
- An electric toothbrush or a Waterpik flosser: Investing in great dental hygiene could save you pain and money down the road. (As an example, a relative is currently spending $10K on dental care and new dentures, and a lot of his issues were hereditary) I have an inexpensive Philips Essence, and I love it. (I use Bright Deals toothbrush heads to keep the cost of replacements down.)
- An epilator: Some women won’t appreciate this. But I love mine because it keeps me from shaving for a couple of weeks at a time. I have two different epilators: one for my underarms and face and one for my legs.
- Electric clippers: I cut my husband’s hair–he’s military, so I basically buzz cut it–so buying a set of electric clippers for $20 or so every five years saves us a ton of money. Look for one in a carrying case or buy an inexpensive Sterlite container to hold it. (There is a new Conair clipper that allows one to cut his own hair, but I haven’t tried it yet. My husband will likely get one for Christmas!)
- An electric nose trimmer or a grooming kit: My husband had a $5-ish trimmer I bought him years ago at Burlington Coat Factory. But last Christmas I bought him a good grooming kit with a rechargeable battery, and he loves it.
- An egg bin: I love mine, and it cost less than $6 at HomeGoods. I can see how many eggs I have in the refrigerator without actually opening a container.
- Coupon organizer: Mine is small and fits in my small crossbody purse.
- Crossbody purse: These tend to be anti-theft, and I can hold my young daughter’s hand in the parking lot or store without worrying much about my purse.
- RFID blocking security wallet: My husband has this one and loves it.
- A fitness watch. My husband has a FitBit Alta that he loves; I prefer my Garmin Vivosmart HR.
- Reusable shopping bags, produce bags, and/or sandwich bags: Anytime I can get rid of plastic in my house, I do it. These are the shopping bags I use because they are washable and foldable and fit in my purse or glove box.
- Vehicle cell phone holder: I never knew how much I needed one until I bought one. I use the Waze app to check traffic, maintain a speed under the limit (tickets can really hit the insurance budget!), and watch for road hazards, and I can use my holder to keep the app in front of me without ever taking my eyes completely off the road. I personally love mine. But my husband loves his less expensive one, too.
- Jewelry organizer: If your wife is without a jewelry box or organizer and has more than a few pieces of jewelry, consider this idea. Check out HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls for some good options.
- Worry-free jewelry: When I married my husband, I was a huge fan of expensive jewelry. The older I get, the more I realize that expensive jewelry invites worry that it will be stolen, damaged, or lost. These days, my husband buys me worry-free jewelry, stuff that can be replaced without much concern. If your wife is like me, she’ll appreciate being able to wear those “diamond” studs without worry that she’ll lose them at the grocery store. Check Amazon.
- Plastic bag holder: Many spouses wouldn’t appreciate this, but in my old age, I think a plastic bag holder to help me get organized in the new year would be a welcome gift. If you have an IKEA nearby, you should be able to find an inexpensive one there. You can buy a cute one from Etsy.
- Pressure washer: This is another gift that many spouses would not be thrilled about receiving, but for the right spouse (think Danny Tanner on “Full House”), receiving a pressure washer would be a treat and a great motivator! We love our Greenworks pressure washer! And yes, I did receive it as a (birthday) gift.
- A portable steamer: This is another good idea for that person who loves to keep his or her home clean. A portable steamer can be used not only to get wrinkles out of clothes but also to clean upholstery and curtains (without taking them to the dry cleaner or throwing them in the wash).
- Movie tickets: I’m not a movie-goer, but my husband is. He would welcome a night to go see the latest science fiction flick by himself.
- A massage: My husband bought me a Groupon for multiple massages in 2014 when I was having a stressful year. No better gift exists for me, I assure you! (Obviously if your spouse is conscious about being touched by a non-spouse, you should not consider this idea.)
- A manicure or pedicure: Even if you garden a lot and keeping a French manicure isn’t high on your list of priorities, a manicure or pedicure can be a welcome, pampering experience–even for a man. My grandfather started getting pedicures when he was in his 70’s and kept with them until a few years before he passed away.
- A rice bag: These are nice for soothing sore, tired muscles and feet–and they can also keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you know how to sew, you can make one–or you can buy one from a crafter or on Etsy.
- Grill mitts: For that man or woman who loves to grill, grill mitts are such a great idea–my husband loves his, and we love using them in the house, too.
- Permanent garden markers: For the gardener in your life, permanent garden markers may be the perfect gift. I love the markers repurposed from silverware at the Etsy shop Thyme at Home. I have a set of 10, and I love them so much I’ll be purchasing another set before spring.
- Items for your emergency kit/go box: If you’re totally at a loss or just need some small items for stocking stuffers, consider stocking your emergency preparedness kit. Here are a few ideas:
- Items for your vehicle: Consider stocking your loved one’s vehicle with emergency items.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other ideas for a clutter-LESS–or clutter-free–Christmas? Let me hear from you in the comments!