The holidays are right around the corner, and many of us have started shopping for the people on our list. These days, we live in a world where no one really needs anything, in terms of physical items. However, it’s easy to get sucked into thinking we need more stuff — in fact, there’s entire lines of collectibles that end up just sitting on a shelf, adding to clutter.

Instead of giving physical things this year (or any year), we’re recommending gifting consumable items and/or experiences.


A consumable is anything that will be gone once it’s used, such as a food item or even art supplies.

You can still be thoughtful with consumable items. Give coffee, wine, or baked goods as gifts. You could even purchase a subscription for a coffee club or create your own gift basket.

Gift a bottle of wine alongside a spice pack for a DIY mulled wine kit. Gather up snacks and drinks for the Netflix lover in your life or wrap up graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for that neighbor with the fire pit.

For kids, go for art and craft supplies. This could be paint and canvas sets, clay, tie-dye supplies, sidewalk chalk, or even duct tape for all of the popular duct-tape crafts that are online. You could also get a subscription for unlimited audiobooks and/or ebooks.

Elevate a Gift Card

A lot of people give gift cards, which has a mixed bag of reactions. Some people love getting gift cards, while others feel it’s impersonal.

Instead of giving that person a gift card to a restaurant, why not take that person out for lunch or dinner? Or, give someone a gift card for dinner, but arrange for childcare (or offer to babysit) so it can be a date night.

If you do want to give a gift card to a store, you can always offer to take the person shopping so you get the added bonding experience.

Create Memorable Experiences

You can also gift an experience. This includes things such as a zoo membership, museum membership, waterpark passes, art classes, horseback riding lessons, batting cage session, cooking classes or concert tickets. In pandemic times, you can gift online classes or tickets to drive-in movies and concerts.

You could also go on a trip as a family instead of exchanging gifts. Depending on your gift budget, maybe you pay for a week of summer camp or contribute to a child’s college fund.

Perhaps my favorite clutter free gift idea is to create a tradition around an experience. For example, maybe you’re an aunt and uncle and instead of gifts for the nieces and nephews, you plan a holiday slumber party that includes bowling and pizza. Every year, everyone gets to look forward to the holiday sleepover!

Or take your grandchild on a special date each year for their birthday. They may not remember that lego set you bought them when they were 10, but they will always remember that every year you to them one-on-one for a special bonding experience for their birthday.

With any of these clutter-free gift ideas, you can create a habit, so that every year you’re giving them the same thing. It’s beneficial for both parties: you don’t have to think about what to gift each year. The receiver can also look forward to that gift every year.