Gifts from the Heart

Monday, October 29, 2007

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff


The beginning of fall symbolizes the start of the holiday season for many of us, which means a serious spurt in gift-giving. While gifts represent love and affection for both the gift-giver and the gift-getter, gift-giving also has the potential of becoming a highly stressful activity. What do you give the person who has everything (or three of everything)? What do you give someone who is already sick and tired of living in a home that are cluttered with useless "stuff"?

What about the fact that popular toys are being recalled by the dozens, making gift-giving to children even more difficult?

Especially when the child prefers to set aside the toy and play with the box! Clutter-free does not mean "cheap" in any sense of the word; it means a gift that is a little off-beat that might surprise and delight your loved ones without giving them more "stuff" to fill their homes with. Here are some ideas for clutter-free gifts, unconventional offering of love that come straight from the heart- with ideas for
both children and adults.

1. "Experience" gifts: These are truly clutter-free gifts, where all that the lucky recipient is left with is wonderful memories. You can indulge someone with tickets to a musical, a rock concert, a sports game or even air-tickets to some exotic location (or just to come see you!). How about a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, like a hot air balloon ride or a day spent bungee-jumping? Or a certificate for a dinner cooked by a personal chef? Children might enjoy tickets to the premier of a children's movie, or to an amusement park.

2. Learning something new: This is a category where the experience will leave the recipient richer. The sky is the limit: you can buy someone salsa dancing lessons, gourmet cooking classes, or sessions with a personal trainer. An alternative to buying lessons is to share your talents and give the lessons yourself. My talented
friend Cathy recently did a wonderful Fashion
for her niece's birthday- giving her a certificate for a dress-making lesson.

3. Spreading the love: A very meaningful gift for the person who has it all is an opportunity to share their abundance with others. One could make a donation in their name to a local or international charity that has special meaning for them- maybe to a cancer foundation, or a children's education fund, or a pet rescue organization; it could be anything that is aligned with the person's beliefs and interests. The same goes for children. An animal-loving kid may love to "adopt" an eagle or seal or pygmy elephant from the World Wildlife Fund. Another idea: giving the child a gift card to buy toys for donation to toy drives in the holiday season.

4. Memberships and subscriptions: This is a gift that will keep on giving- all through the year. Membership subscriptions to local art museums, botanical gardens etc. can be cherished by the whole family. A subscription to a high-quality magazine can be a real treat. Just remember to do the research to make sure that the magazine fits the recipient's interests. Kids might enjoy a membership to a local child-friendly destination such as a science center or children's museum. Or, subscriptions to children's magazines- kids are thrilled to recieve mail of their own, and will get interesting reading material every month. Kahani is one example of a beautiful South Asian literary magazine for children.

5. Consumables and Edibles: Once the gifts are enjoyed and used up, there is no clutter to get rid of. Consumables include pretty soaps and other bath and body products. The edibles can be homemade or store-bought- spice mixes, chocolate, special teas and flavored coffees, jams or sweet treats, to name just a few popular treats, and can be organized into a theme gift basket for a bigger surprise. One
example of a gorgeous gift in this category: Zlamushka's gift
for her sister, including a home-made spice mix collection and a hand-sewn apron.

6. Handmade gifts: Handmade gifts are a class apart- they are cherished and adored like few other gifts are. From the traditional hand-knitted scarves and sweaters to personalized photo calendars and customized music CDs, everyone is capable of making some kind of hand-made gifts. Use your talents to draw a portrait, embroider a skirt or make a memory book with pictures of the special times in the recipient's life. One of the best gifts I have received lately: customized aprons designed by my parents; they are too pretty to wear in the kitchen. If you really think you can't make a gift or don't have the time to do it, consider buying a handmade gift on websites such as Etsy or in local craft fairs and small artist-owned boutiques, rather than buying a mass-produced gift.

7. Gift cards: This is the perennially popular clutter-free gift, and for good reason! It is a delicious feeling to go shopping with a gift card and be able to get something you really need or want. Virtually every store, whether it is a brick-and-mortar establishment or a virtual retailer, allows you to purchase gift cards, so there is something for everyone. Kids might enjoy coupons to a bookstore or
local ice cream store, gift cards, or an iTunes card. Older relatives might appreciate a phone card that allows them to keep in touch with distant family members.

What is the most memorable gift you have ever received? Given?

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This post was contributed by Nupur from One Hot Stove


what great ideas. thanks, nupur.

bee said...
October 30, 2007 at 1:14:00 AM GMT+1  

I so love theses ideas. It's a dilemma each year on birthdays, christmas etc. and at times I kind of get infuriated by the whole gift selecting procedure. You inspire me to break new grounds and discover new ideas.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
October 30, 2007 at 10:17:00 AM GMT+1  

Bee and Meeta, thank you so much!

Nupur said...
October 30, 2007 at 12:26:00 PM GMT+1  

btw, nutrition action healthletter (i love it) has a deal. get a year's subscription for yourself, and gift one for free. it's the best ten dollars we've spent. they aren't paying me for saying this, and if i violated any of your forum rules, i apologise. i just am so thrilled with this deal.

bee said...
October 30, 2007 at 8:07:00 PM GMT+1  

All wonderful ideas Nupur and I think you're very right that these sorts of gifts will be greeted with great enthusiam from the lucky recipients!

Cathy said...
November 6, 2007 at 3:36:00 AM GMT+1  

lovely ideas nupur. one of my favourite gifts, unsuprisingly,is a special meal, cooked with love and full of fvaourite flavours that you know the recipient is particularly fond of.

Anonymous said...
November 17, 2007 at 2:40:00 PM GMT+1  

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