How thoughtful is your gift giving?
Plenty’s been written on managing the purchase, hiding, wrapping and distributing associated with gift giving – whatever holiday or occasion you’re celebrating. These elaborate systems, designed to save you time, usually take days to set up. Don’t even get me started on the space needed to wrap and store stuff.
Having gifts on hand seems like an easy fix for last minute giving. But finding them when you need to, or having some sit for years, defeats the purpose.
We’ve all received gifts that were not quite right – another unicorn for your collection that’s only a collection because of all the unicorns you receive as gifts. (Before you add to someone’s collection, make sure that it actually is one.) My advice? Keep the thoughts behind the occasion and release the things. Even the most expensive gift is clutter if it wasn’t what the recipient wanted.
Confession time. I don’t give gifts anymore. When I simplified my own life, I started by picking a gift theme for the year and sticking with it. One year everyone got CDs and another they all got socks. Then I went a step further. For family, I now donate to causes that are important to them. I treat friends to dinner. No more shopping, hiding or wrapping, and there is nothing to distribute. Easy. Simple. Fun.
There are still occasions, like weddings and babies, which require a present. The easy way here? Shop off the registry. Have the store deal with the hiding, wrapping, and distributing.
Other stress free giving ideas:
- Contributions to a family vacation fund
- Donations to favorite organizations
- Event tickets to favorite activities
- Restaurant gift certificates
Now that you have saved all that gift worry time, you can enjoy your family visit with a cup of nog.
This article originally appeared in Sage, December 2009.