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By November 6, 2015 6 Comments

For too many of us, the holidays are quite simply out of control! Every day, we are bombarded with TV commercials, newspaper ads, magazine articles, or social media posts that declare what “must” be done or purchased to truly celebrate the holidays. I would like to suggest a refreshingly different strategy!

Decide to be uniquely you!  

Decide what is important and meaningful to your family.

Decide when you will do these activities.

Decide how much time, energy, and money is required.

I like to look at the 4 weeks of November and the 4 weeks of December as individual opportunities to focus on one aspect of my holiday preparations. It enables me to focus on one main goal for the week. The week creates a reasonable time limit to accomplish the task. I can enjoy feeling more efficient and less stressful. When I focus, then I finish!

The next 8 blogs will be devoted to one particular focus each week. Let’s jump into Week #1!


To start off the holiday season, I like to use the first week of November to focus on gifts. I usually buy a few things throughout the year, but I intend to finish my shopping this first week. Try to have just one place to keep gifts that you buy before this time! I get out a stack of envelopes and write a name and the amount to spend for each person.  It really helps to put cash right in the envelope. After I purchase the item, I can put the receipt in the envelope. It is handy to keep all the envelopes in a zippered pencil pouch. It also helps me remember what I have already purchased.

Keep in mind that it is not your job to make everyone’s dreams come true. Please do not agonize and overspend trying to find the one exactly perfect gift. It is very likely you will not even remember what you bought by the next year. Remind yourself that the purpose of giving a gift is to communicate your love! You can do that in many ways.

Consider giving clutter-free gifts! These gifts are activities and experiences; they are things that you use up or consume. And these gifts usually do not end up at the back of a closet or in next year’s garage sale! Here are some terrific examples:

ACTIVITIES—Give what you do—Babysitting, Lawn Care, Cooking, Sewing, Organizing

EXPERIENCES—Kings Island tickets, Hot Air balloon ride, WACO plane ride, LaComedia dinner theater

CLASSES—Painting, Pottery, Knitting, Jazzercise, Zumba

LESSONS—Guitar, Piano, Ballet, Archery, Tennis

TICKETS—Concerts, Musicals, Movies, Sporting Events, Festivals

SERVICES—Car wash, Oil change, Manicure, Pedicure, Massage

MEMBERSHIPS—Zoo, Museum, National Parks, YMCA

HOMEMADE FOOD—Your speciality!

COOKIES IN A JAR—All the dry ingredients for a recipe of cookies

SOUP IN A JAR—All kinds of beans plus seasonings

JOURNAL IN A JAR—Writing prompts on slips of paper plus a pretty journal

FOOD GIFT CARDS—Greatly appreciated by those who don’t often have the extra money for this!

GAS GIFT CARDS—Perfect for high school or college drivers

CHARITY DONATIONS—Make a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity

Once you start considering all the fabulous possibilities, you will really enjoy giving and receiving clutter-free gifts! Even if you are not able to actually purchase or make all your gifts this week, be sure to make your final decision. Know what the gift will be, how much you will spend, and where to buy it. Then do not look for any more ideas! Be satisfied with your choice, knowing that its true message is love.


What is your favorite clutter-free gift?

Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

More posts by Olive Wagar

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Shirley says:

    some really good idea in here. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Freda Koeller says:

    Thanks for some NEW ideas for my Christmas giving.

  • Olive Wagar says:

    Glad you like the suggestions, Aunt Shirley! Always nice to have a few new ideas!

  • Olive Wagar says:

    Those clutter-free gifts are really fun to give…and receive, Freda! Hope that the suggestions help you as you celebrate your holidays.

  • Ruth Scott says:

    These gift ideas are great!! But, what I am really excited about is your first week of November deadline for gift ideas! I am going to try that with envelopes and all. Deciding on ideas is half the time element for me. Thanks so much!!

    • Olive says:

      I am sure you will be pleased, Ruth! Making those gift decisions early automatically reduces your stress and anxiety!! And you won’t be distracted by every sale paper or advertisement.

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