Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reduce Christmas Stress by Organizing Now, Part 8 - Give Memories, Not Clutter

It seems that our country is drowning in clutter! Our kids have so many toys, their rooms are overflowing. We have to rent storage units to hold our excess stuff. 

This Christmas and throughout the year, consider giving memories instead of clutter. Give experiences! I've talked about some of these before, but they are worth repeating. :)

One year my parents were visiting us at Christmas when we lived in the DC area. Their gift from us: tickets for them to take our daughters to the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center.

For one daughter's 16th birthday, we took her and her boyfriend (now husband) to see Stomp! in lieu of having a party. For our other daughter's birthday one year, we went to the play Little Women (one of her favorite books) followed by high tea, reminiscent of our time living in Kenya.

I have a dear friend who has four boys. Each time one graduates from high school, he gets to pick where in the country the family will go for vacation that year. 

For my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, all four of us siblings typed out a tribute to them, framed them in gold frames, and presented them on a family vacation.

This year we celebrated their 60th and my brother created a video incorporating interviews he had done with mom and dad as well as photos throughout their lives. It was just a family affair - the four siblings and our children. We siblings each toasted my parents - what a wonderful memory and special time together! 

Speaking of my parents, once when our girls stayed with them, my mom walked them around the neighborhood telling them about our neighbors who lived there when I was growing up. It included a trip to Midway Grocery, a tiny little grocery store where I and my siblings would go to buy candy. They still have fond memories of that experience!

When we lived in Kenya, my gift to the guys on our team was a dozen cookies every month for a year. Even though they were material objects, they didn't stay around long enough to create clutter!

When we visited one of our daughters this year, we decided to choose one five-star restaurant rather than several average places to eat. It made a fun and delicious memory! 

Considering what your loved one or friend likes is the key. Here are some other ideas:

- If it is expensive, you may be able to team up with others. If Uncle Jim wants to celebrate his 80th birthday by sky diving or going for a hot-air balloon ride, have family members chip in. 

- Share the experience. Accompany your friends or family to the event to make a joint memory.

- Give your time. Bring lunch over to auntie's and spend a couple of hours with her. Or babysit for a young mom who needs some time out of the house. 

Your gift experiences don't need to cost a lot. The only limit is your creativity!

More on no-clutter gifts:

A Last-Minute Clutterless Gift Idea - BookSwim

Easy Decadent Fudge Recipe

Destressing Christmas, Part 11 - Meaningful Gifts with No Clutter