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“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
– Mother Teresa

At this stage I assume most of you have finished your Christmas shopping, or are you still rushing around madly in search of special gifts for all your loved ones and cannot really find what you are looking for, because in giving you want to show your love. When faced with this challenge, ask yourself, what do they love to do for fun, for relaxation and what is their passion? What do they need?

While de-cluttering, I often find unwanted gifts that have been sitting in the cupboard for years and the recipient saying, ”I really hate that, but cannot get rid of it because it was a gift from my best friend.” Will your gift contribute towards someone’s clutter or will it be a gift cherished for many years after it was given. Spend some careful thought on the gifts you are giving, keeping the person and their personality in mind! Think clutter free, quality over quantity.

I still recall a time many years ago when a dear friend moved the Saturday before the first of Advent. In our tradition we make a fresh advent wreath with four candles which are lit in succession over the four weeks before Christmas. Knowing that she wouldn’t have time, I made one for her too and took it over on the Sunday afternoon with some homemade Christmas cookies. She still remembers it and every year tells me how special that was for her!

 Here are some options to consider:

1.   Give your presence not presents.

  • The most precious gift is to give your time. Make time to share special experiences.
  • Plan an outing; arrange a picnic, dinner, theatre or a movie.
  • Invite yourself for a meal. Prepare the meal and take it over to their place.
  • Hire a catering company or chef for a special occasion and enjoy the experience with your host.

2.   Give a hand

  • Determine if they need some assistance around the house. Volunteer your services or hire someone to paint, tile, landscape and renovate, which improves the value of their home.
  • Put up and decorate the Christmas tree.
  • Help them to de-clutter and assist them with a garage sale.
  • Offer your services as sitter for baby or parents, shopper, caterer, baker, computer whiz, decorator.

3.   Use your talents to create a gift, e.g. a collection of photos, a photo book, a photo box or digital photo frame of their last vacation or a special celebration.

4.   Give a gift certificate for an experience they will have to take time out to enjoy Club together to get someone what they really want – a trip in a hot air balloon, a day at a Health Spa,  a swim with the dolphins or a walk with the elephants.

5.   Give a pampering service certificate like a massage, pedicure, manicure or facial treatment.

6.   Give tickets to their favourite show, gallery or movie.

7.   Give the gift of their own choice

Send a catalogue or a link of an online shop. Let them chose the gift and notify you of what they would  like. Ask them to send a wish list via sms, keep it on your phone for when you shop.

8.   Give a gift that keeps on giving, a subscription to their favourite magazine, newspaper, DSTV or an online magazine.

9.   Give consumable gifts – gourmet foods, interesting beverages, unusual magazines, wines or fresh flowers.

10. Gift vouchers of their favourite outlets – for books, clothing, shoes, bags etc.

These are only a few ideas of what you are able to give and make you happy with choosing a gift that both friends and family will enjoy and treasure.

Simplify gift giving?

Purchase gifts throughout the year, pack them immediately and write the card. This is a good way of impressing on you that their present is complete. Keep some generic gifts in your cupboard for unexpected guests.

Accept a gift graciously in the spirit in which it was given. If it is something you will never use, give it away to charity or to someone who will enjoy it. Much better than cluttering up your home.

Now to wrap it up!

Decide on one signature look for your gifts, e.g. gold print with organza ribbon. Shop in your gift wrap organiser first, to see what you still have. Eliminate baskets full of crumpled paper. Buy only enough recyclable paper for the gifts you have purchased and matching ribbon. Use it up! Add a card with your special wishes.

Heidi Meyer
Professional Organiser
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