November 30, 2011

MP900430987[1]It’s official! The day after Thanksgiving marked the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. Instead of Christmas music playing every fourth song on the PA systems of department stores, every title is a holiday classic designed to put us in the mood to add more to our shopping carts.

While these gifts are much appreciated when tearing away the bright paper and ribbon, the real challenge comes after New Year’s when we try to find space to store these treasures. After all, a girl can only have so many pairs of cozy slippers and scented bath products. And my dear husband already has enough plaid flannel shirts to outfit all the campers at Mahoney State Park. Even the dog could do without the stocking full of squeaky toys that have the ability quench even the most robust Christmas spirit.

If this scenario rings true in your home, here are some suggestions for clutter-free gift giving.

Give a gift of education, entertainment or service.

  • · For families with children, a season pass to the zoo or children’s museum is always a treat.
  • · Membership to an online movie service such as NetFlix will provide hours of entertainment on long winter nights.
  • · Those with an interest in cooking or crafts might enjoy a class to learn a new skill.
  • · A book of coupons for various services such as snow-shoveling, yard work or child care is a gift from the heart.
  • Consumable gifts provide memories without the clutter.
  • · A platter of baked treats and homemade jams is always a hit during the holidays.
  • · There’s nothing like a basket of prime fruit delivered on a cold winter morning to take away the chill. Some companies even offer a “fruit of the month” to extend the gift all year long.
  • · A home cooked meal, packaged for the freezer is a much appreciated time-saver for busy moms.

Make a financial donation to a favorite organization in the recipient’s name.

  • · For teachers, make a donation to a scholarship fund or school project instead of wrapping up another apple-shaped ornament.
  • · For the outdoorsmen, send a gift to Ducks Unlimited or the Sierra Club.
  • · For the book lover, donate a book to the local library in his or her name. An added bonus is that the recipient has the option to check out the book to read and then return it for others to enjoy.
  • · For the cook, send a donation to a food pantry or shelter to provide meals for the needy.
  • · People of faith will appreciate a gift to their local church.
  • · A donation to a favorite health organization such as the American Red Cross or Cancer Society is always appreciated and much needed.

I hope I’ve provided some ideas to make your holiday season both happy and LIGHT.