This post was originally released in 2013 and has been updated for 2020.
As we approach holiday gift-buying at the end of this challenging year, many people are making an effort to support small, local businesses. Staying home all year has also made folks more aware of how much they own, and encouraged them to own less.
Giving gifts that don’t take up space and cause clutter are some of the very best and most exciting to receive. By giving a gift that is an experience rather than a “thing”, you are giving them a memory and a moment that will last a lifetime. Here are some of our favorites ideas to get you started:
The Gift of Relaxation
Whether it’s a stone massage, hair appointment, facial or pedicure, you can’t go wrong with this one. Ask around and find out the recipient’s favorite places, or support a local business by sending them a new client. Though we can’t use these right away, they will be a wonderful gift to look forward to next year.
The Gift of Education
Do you know someone who wants to learn how to cook? Horseback ride? Learn a new language? How about paper-making, woodworking, singing, playing an instrument or scuba diving? The possibilities are endless. There are lots of great online learning options to choose from companies like Udemy and Skillshare.
The Gift of Helping Others
Making a donation in the recipient’s name to a charity that they care about is a wonderful gift. Charity Watch has a list of top rated organizations for you to choose from, which have been vetted based on financial transparency. To take it a step further, consider sponsoring a child in their name through World Vision, UNICEF or Save the Children.
The Gift of Organization
Hiring a professional organizer can be a lifesaver, especially for those struggling with too much clutter. A four-hour gift certificate makes an incredible present! We will even send you a shiny certificate in the main or to print out. You can purchase a gift certificate here. Alternatively, a gift card for The Container Store is also a great option to get them started on any organizing project.
The Gift of Fun for Fun’s sake
Obviously, there are about a million options for this one! Some of our favorites? Concert tickets, paragliding/parasailing passes, a weekend trip, museum passes, tickets for a local “tourist” spot that they’ve never been to, passes to the fair, an arcade or a sporting event. Even though we can’t do these things right away, they will give something to look forward to next year, and support local businesses at the same time.
The Gift of Labor
What’s better than free labor??! Create a gift certificate giving away your skills. Do you have a relative who needs help in the garden? What about help organizing their files? You don’t have to be particularly skilled at the activity for your help to be worthwhile – as we all know, two heads are better than one!
The Gift of Food
Do you have a friend or family member who is a foodie? Consider giving them a special night out at their favorite (or your favorite) restaurant. This is a great way to support local businesses as well. On a budget? Passes for ice cream, your favorite coffee spot, cocktails or any other smaller item is great as well. Or simply go for a bottle of wine or some home-made cookies. Let’s face it – we all love food.
The Gift of Technology
Do you know someone who needs a brush up on their computer skills? Offer to help them with their abilities by giving a two-hour tutorial with yourself or another computer-savvy person. Gift vouchers for iTunes, Best Buy, Apple and other stores providing technical toys are always appreciated as well.