A clutter-free Christmas!

It’s less than 100 days until Christmas!

Uh oh.

chevy

Do you want to experience the joy of Christmas without all the clutter and stress? So do I! Right!

So here’s a few hints on how to have an awesome, clutter-free Christmas.

Give gifts that are experiences, or can be eaten or drunk

Food ideas for adults include: Chocolates, wine, fruit baskets, food hampers, pantry hampers with regular everyday items (in a Christmas-wrapped cardboard box they can throw away afterwards), a six pack of cider, a lovely bottle of spirits, a slab of their favourite beer, a cocktail making kit (spirits, juice, coconut milk and recipe or similar), old fashioned peppermints, classic sweets from a gourmet sweet shop, home made pickles or jams, home made biscuits or cupcakes wrapped in cellophane, home made Christmas pudding, home made Christmas cake, a meat hamper (gourmet salamis and similar)

Experience ideas for adults: Do a barbecue and invite them over (great for summer Christmas in the southern hemisphere), have a beach picnic and invite them over (great for summer Christmas), movie tickets to a latest release, dinner out somewhere nice, take them bowling, take them to laser tag, take them paintballing, go to the zoo, go to the botanic gardens, take a class together (mosaics, sewing, knitting, crafting…it’s up to you), invite them for a home cooked dinner or a ploughman’s lunch at home, make up some babysitting vouchers if they have kids for you to babysit for them (we’d have loved these!)

Clutter-free ideas for kids (all of these suggestions are dependent on age): Laptop, tablet (Ipad or similar), mobile phone, games machine with games, German-style board games, bike, scooter, skateboard, fruit tree (a friend of mine’s daughter LOVES her plum tree she received last Christmas!), clothing, paint their bedroom walls in a colour of their choice (within reason!), a blackboard decal for the fridge, wall calendar with their favourite characters or music group, new school bag, new pencil case, school supplies, mp3 player, Itunes card, Amazon voucher (to be used on ebooks), chocolates, sweets, peppermints…

NOTE: One in, one out: With kids especially it is important to practice the one in, one out rule. In other words, if they receive new school supplies or clothing, remove an equivalent older item and either throw it away or give it to charity, depending on the condition.

Experience ideas for kids: Movie tickets, laser tag tickets or vouchers, paintball tickets, zoo tickets, concert tickets, tickets to the local swimming pool, ice skating rink or skate park. It’s totally up to you and what is available in your area.

In our case, huge savings can be made by purchasing the Entertainment discount voucher books – check if something similar is available in your city or area. It may be really worthwhile.

Other ways to experience the real joy of Christmas.

Before Christmas: Before Christmas, I always make my kids go through their belongings and give old, unused items in excellent condition to charity. It’s a regular habit for them now, and reminds them that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. It also helps make space for new belongings, and keeps the clutter down.

Charity gifts: Many people appreciate charity gifts, available through organisations such as Oxfam. The Oxfam Unwrapped program enables you to buy everything from ducks and pigs to fresh water and seeds for people in the developing world who really need our help. There are many similar programs operating all around the world. After all, does your already festively plump fifth cousin really need those chocolates anyway? 😉

These programs help remind us that the real joy of Christmas comes not from stuff, but from giving.

oxfam1

You can have a clutter-free Christmas, and although I’ve listed some big-ticket items here, Christmas doesn’t have to be all about spending large amounts of money. The key to keeping things sane is

a) creating a budget,
b) taking advantage of any discounts you can arrange,
c) planning what, where, when and how in advance, so you’re not caught short or under pressure, and
d) remembering that a happy Christmas isn’t about what you spend, it’s about who you spend time with.

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