Giving the Gift of Clutter
10 ways to make sure you don’t give clutter this year….
Black Friday is upon us…. and it is only Wednesday! A couple of years ago I remember asking ‘Black Friday? What’s that?’ this year you can’t miss it. UK marketing has firmly latched onto this additional way to whip us into frenzy. It’s about spending as much money as possible and getting all our Christmas shopping done as soon as the November pay cheque hits your bank account.
But before these advertising masterminds suck you in, stop. Just STOP for a second. Are you spending your hard earned money on something that will only add clutter (and pressure) to the lives of your loved ones?! If you love them enough to give them a gift, why would you do that!!!
Think back, how many presents have you been given in the past by a well meaning but slightly mad relative who has shall we say conflicting taste to your own? Or that lovely friend who wants to give you something, but doesn’t really know what – so you end up with a gift set of soaps which you will NEVER use and just sits in a cupboard.
Most of us say, ‘Thank you!! That is lovely, you shouldn’t have!’ (Whilst actually thinking – really I wish you hadn’t…. and then feeling guilty for being so heartless… or is that just me?!) Then you feel guilty about getting rid of the bloody thing as someone else gave it to you.
I remember my mum would never get rid of any of the hideous ornaments, vases, pictures etc that my Nan gave her – they would get put away somewhere taking up space and then whipped out and put on display when she came to visit!!
So what can you do about it?
Do they want it or need it? Did they ask for it? If the answer is YES! Then go for it.
Ask them if there is something they would like…. Crazy concept I know but it is worth a try! Talk to your friends and family about what they are buying, that way Nan won’t end up with 4 pairs of slippers again this year!
Just because you love it doesn’t mean they will – take a moment to consider their tastes.
If you are buying for someone else’s kids:
Bigger is not better! Unless they live in a mansion keep it small
Don’t buy toys with masses of little bits! Or if you do, buy a box for it to be kept it!
Books are always a winner in our house – especially a personalised book!
Can you club together to get something more expensive that the person really wants? I know more and more families are doing a ‘secret Santa’ for the adults in the family, so they get one or two quality gifts, rather than lots of, well, toot.
Think virtual – audio books, music, vouchers – these create no clutter at all…. well in a physical sense anyway.
Is it consumable? Treat them to some posh coffee or fancy tea.
You could agree with friends and/or family to get creative – reuse, recycle, up cycle, pass forward whatever you want, and then give the money you would have used on presents to a beloved charity?
If you love me, don’t buy me chocolate or sweets for Christmas – effectively you are just buying me fat. How about a session with a personal trainer in January instead? You might need to be a bit sensitive on this one!
My personal favourite – give memories. Buy them experience or an adventure. Tickets for the theatre, cinema, paintballing or driving a racing car. On a budget? Then make your own vouchers – ‘a day with me doing (whatever you love to do)’ ‘an evening’s babysitting so you can go out for dinner’ ‘an afternoon walking the dog in the forest’.
In this moment of hyped up, spending driven commercialisation of the yuletide holidays, whatever your religious beliefs, take a moment to think about what Christmas is about for you. For me it is making precious memories with the people I love. I can’t remember what people gave me 5 years ago, or even last year for that matter. But I do remember what I did and with whom, singing carols round the Christmas tree in the village square before dashing to the pub to get a table, watching the lantern parade, going to the panto on Christmas eve – these are the things I remember, I also don’t have any guilt about cluttering my head with this amazing stuff.
All this said, if uncle Fred gets his annual supply of socks at Christmas and wouldn’t have it any other way then as you were! If you do not want to receive clutter? Tell people what you want – None of this, ‘oh I don’t know, just get me anything’ malarkey. You have been warned.