Question: Although I’m grateful for the thought, I often receive gifts that make more clutter! Although I am grateful for the thought, I often receive gifts that just end up making more clutter in my house. I keep them for a brief period, and then donate them to a charity. Knowing this, I don’t want to GIVE gifts that cause clutter. Do you have some ideas? --Michael S, Champaign, IL Maria’s Response Hi Michael, I’m glad you asked…and I know what you’re saying. Not everything we receive from others is going to be “just what we wanted.” I will sometimes “drop hints” to family and friends who normally buy me gifts. I might say, “Have you used Amazon’s Wish List? It’s wonderful. I put everything on the list I would love to have…and I’m so delighted when I get one of those items” OR “I’m saving for a new Apple device. I’m hoping to get some Apple gift cards this year for my birthday. What’s something that you would love to get for YOUR birthday?” Some folks will remember this conversation. Some won’t. But that’s OK. As you’ve said, receiving a gift is very thoughtful…and appreciated…even if you decide to donate that gift later on. As for your question about “giving” gifts that don’t clutter, here are 10 thoughts: 1. Amazon Wish List: Throughout the year, my family and I indicate gifts we know we want on our Amazon Wish list. When someone is wondering what to buy us, they can check our list. Most of our family members, and some friends, use this complimentary service, and we always end up with gifts we desire. 2. Movie Tickets: For anyone who loves going to the movies, get them a voucher for movie tickets. 3. Free Babysitting: Give your good friends with young children a gift certificate offering your free babysitting services for one night, or one the husband and wife can enjoy an evening or weekend to themselves. 4. Gift of Talent: Do you play guitar, play pool, or golf? Give a friend complimentary lessons. 5. Cash or Gift Certificates: Gas cards are great for people who do a lot of driving. Music cards are great for teenagers. Restaurant gift certificates are perfect for foodies. Spa certificates are great for those who need a break. 6. eBooks: There are so many wonderful digital books that your recipients can download to their computers and eReaders. 7. Think consumables: Gifts that can be eaten or “used up” will not clutter! Think chocolate, wine, lotions, nuts, fruit, candles, and soap. Just be wary of food or skin sensitivities. 8. Gifts to a favorite charity in that person’s name: This is a nice thing to give someone who has everything, and who you know is very fond of a particular charity. 9. Experiences: Give an experience gift to someone...something that they’ll be able to do. Examples are Zoo Memberships, Concert Tickets, Warehouse Store Memberships, Movie Rental Services, Waterpark Passes, and pro basketball game tickets. 10. Meals: Take friends and relatives out for a nice meal as your gift, or cook for them. Make it an extra special occasion by sending them a formal invitation and doing something special for them that evening! Happy shopping! Maria To submit your “Ask Maria” question, please send an email to: Please include... Subject Line: ASK MARIA Your FIRST and LAST name Your CITY, STATE and COUNTRY. Your QUESTION. ANYTHING ELSE you’d like us to include when we publish your question (marital status, number of children/grandchildren, hobbies, interests, etc.)
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