A couple of years ago we had a massive declutter - we are NOT minimalists - with four of us in the house, this is never going to happen, but we find that we do need to have a 'clear out' on a regular basis and since then we have been trying to reduce the amount of ‘clutter’ that is unconsciously brought back into the house. Sometimes it is really hard, for example, when we travel it is so tempting to bring back a memento, but really, what do you do with this? In our case, it often ends up at the back of a cupboard and sometimes it can be the same with gifts received at Christmas.
I am now very conscious when buying any gift, whether it be for birthdays or Christmas, of the amount of ‘space’ it may take up in the recipients home. For this reason, unless I know whether they would like a particular gift, I now usually choose a gift card, a consumable gift, an experience or a donation.
1. Gift cards
Gift cards are ideal gifts. They allow the recipient to purchase what they would really want. I particularly like the ‘One4All’ card which is available from the Post Office. I have purchased these a number of times. They can be used in most stores and even online on sites like Amazon. Although I have never used them myself, I have seen lots of information around for a company called Ziffit, where you can buy discounted gift cards, so they might be worth looking into and I will be checking them out some upcoming birthdays in the New Year.
Other popular gift cards have been for places like Cinemas or restaurants, particularly if you know their favourite.
2. Consumable gifts
I love consumable gifts. There is nothing better than receiving a package containing your favourite foods, drinks or smellies – or even all three! You will find a wide range available for either a food lover, a chocolate lover or for someone with a favourite brand of perfume – so something to suit everyone. You could obviously purchase these ready made but you can, of course, make your own. In the past, I have made my own gift hampers by decorating an old box with wrapping paper and filling it with an assortment of their favourite things to eat, drink or use.
For my birthday this year, I was given an Afternoon Tea experience. This was something I had always wanted to do and was fantastic. It took place at a local café and the food was lovely. I enjoyed it so much, I have since bought two identical experiences as gifts – one was for an 80th birthday present and one is for a Christmas present this year. There are lots of online sites like Travelzoo or Groupon offering experiences that you will find experiences ranging from driving a supercar to a balloon flight or from eating in a Michelin starred restaurant to a spa break.
A few years ago, I bought my Brother and his family, tickets to a theme park for Christmas – this went down a treat – particularly as they were due to emigrate to Australia a few weeks later and really didn’t want to receive any more ‘stuff’. They had spent the last few months selling or giving away anything that couldn’t take with them!
4. A Charitable Gift
Making a donation to Charity is another good gift. You can make a donation to a charity of their choice, or ‘purchase’ something from Oxfam Unwrapped. I once purchased a toilet and a pile of poo for my old boss. He thought it was a great idea – he already had everything HE wanted and often donated to charity.
There are over 30 gifts available and prices start from as little as £5 for some soap to £500 for safe water for 500 people. You even get a gift card with details of what has been purchased and gives them something to open on the day.
There are so many choices available that you really will be able to find something suitable for everyone and REMEMBER using a cashback site like Quidco will add to any savings you may make. If you have never heard of Quidco before, see this post that I wrote recently.