As much as I love a good gift from Amazon*, there are a lot of reasons why a physical gift may not be the best fit for your friend or family member. Perhaps they are trying to cut back on clutter and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle (aren’t we all?!) Maybe they live across the country and you can’t afford the shipping costs of sending a large item. In that case, something you can deliver electronically or mail in a card is a much better fit!
Electronic and/or Clutter-Free Gift Ideas
I have definitely found myself brainstorming these types of gifts and am hoping these ideas will help you if you find yourself there, too. 🙂 It also doesn’t hurt that clutter-free gifts tend to stretch us outside our comfort zones or gift-giving patterns and often result in something more meaningful, unique, or useful!
A paid membership or subscription is literally the gift that keeps on giving. Depending on what that individual likes or needs, it can be related to entertainment, fitness, finances, or even a service or convenience.
For someone in their 20’s just getting started or someone who is looking to take control of their finances, a subscription to You Need A Budget* could be a game-changer!
For families, you could consider if your area offers an annual pass to a park or hiking trails, or look into local activities like a museum or activity center they can continue to go to throughout the year.
2. Tickets or Certificates
If a long-term membership doesn’t fit your budget, you can still give similar one-time experiences! Gift cards to restaurants, certificates to a spa or nail salon, or a set of movie . or concert tickets may all come to mind at first – but there are so many different options. For example, Groupon often has neat local tours or activities at low prices. If your friends & family are anything like me, they may be missing out on some really cool opportunities right in their own city!
3. AirBNB gift card for their next trip
One specific type of gift card worth mentioning is through AirBNB*. Did you know you can give someone a credit for travel? If you know your friend or family member loves to travel – whether it’s within a few hours or across the world – you can easily contribute to (or prompt!) their next trip with this gift.* 🙂
4. Savings Account/Certificates
While this may not be received with a look of surprised joy & excitement, establishing a savings or investment option – mainly for kids – is the perfect clutter-free gift. Children often receive so many toys and products that they never play with all of them. That also means that they won’t miss having one more gift to open! College/education savings accounts can be a wonderful option and often have tax-benefits depending on your area. Other accounts, certificates, bonds, or investments may also be beneficial. (If you have a financial adviser, they can help you choose!)
5. A Course/Class
Inspired by my husband who is an aspiring amateur blacksmith (we chose very different directions for our creative pursuits 🙂 ) – one of my favorite new ways to give to family & friends is by supporting their hobbies!
Think: hand-lettering, gardening, woodworking or wood-burning, painting, jewelry making, electronics or programming, piano or musical instruments, learning a new language, gourmet cooking, home brewing, etc. There are lots of ways you can help them hone their skills or encourage them to dive into something they can enjoy or develop in themselves!
It may be a day-long workshop to hone their skills or a handbook of great tips & techniques. There are also a lot of online courses you can purchase at reasonable prices and it allows your friend/family to complete it at their own convenience. (Specifically, if you know someone interested in blogging, my favorite resources would be perfect starter gifts!)
Depending on their phase of life, an even more practical spin on this would be a course for things like meal planning, decluttering, breastfeeding, or things like teaching kids to help in the kitchen! There truly are a million resources out there!
Last but not least, audiobooks are wonderful gifts for such a wide range of recipients* – they can be great for commuters with lots of time in the car, older family members who find it harder to read as they age, or busy moms who are always on the go! They are also very easy to give “long-distance” since they can be delivered electronically.
Share a book you absolutely loved, or find a book that you know would help – or highly entertain!- your friend or family member. The best part is that you’ll be able to chat about it later!
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I hope this gets your wheels turning, but if you are looking for more ways to get brainstorming – and more organized, and more meaningful in the way you give – sign up for one of my favorite e-mail courses! The Meaningful Gifting e-course provides awesome tools to find the perfect gift ideas, but also create a system to minimize the stress of gift-giving year-round. Check it out!
Other gift guides you may like:
And as always, share YOUR best ideas with all of us in the comments!