Stuck for a Gift? Send a Subscription

Subscription boxes are a great #gift for the foodie, the pet parent or the person who has (almost) everything, says the Mint Notion blog. Available to suit any taste or interest, boxes deliver comestibles such as coffee, chocolate and international snacks — or even a complete meal with a produce/recipe box such as HelloFresh. There are wine and cocktail kits for the aspiring oenologist and mixologist, and a yoga subscription for those seeking inner peace. Whatever you choose, these gifts won’t take up much space for very long.

Give the Gift of Knowledge

COVID-19 has left many of us with unused extra time at home. To help your friends and family make the most of that time without adding any paper, gadgets or other extra stuff to their already #cluttered lives, #give the #gift of knowledge. MasterClass offers online lessons taught by celebrity experts in topics such as cooking (Gordon Ramsey, Alice Waters), writing and filmmaking (Margaret Atwood, Spike Lee), and even tennis (Serena Williams). You may help your giftees open the door to a lifelong avocation.

Shopping for Christmas … From Your Screens

The novel #coronavirus has upended life as we know it. Even the holidays haven’t been spared, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommending that more than 330 million Americans reconsider their Thanksgiving travel plans to stop the spread.

Generally speaking, the fewer people you come into close contact with, the better. And with Christmas, Hannukah and other celebrations due up, CDC lists “Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving” as a high-risk activity.

Since it rarely requires interpersonal interaction, online shipping is low-risk. It has been growing apace with the internet for more than 25 years, and it is now set to eclipse all other channels for holiday gift-giving during the pandemic.

Retailers are ready to provide home delivery and contactless pickup if you’re willing to offer a credit card number. The deals aren’t bad, either; many outlets are offering loss leaders just to get you through their online storefronts.

Sitting in front of a screen trying to source great gifts can be tedious — there’s just no way to browse as fast as you might in a physical setting. That’s where online gift guides can help: They can point you in the direction of good gifts for anyone on your list.

Stuck for ideas? Just Google “gifts” and few keywords of the things and activities your giftee likes, and you’ll soon have a page of links to lists suggesting products with click-throughs to online stores ready to take your money.

Whatever they like — be it tech, gaming, music, movies, pets, exercise, cooking — there’s a gift guide for it. At the Organizing Blog, we like to give gifts that don’t add to clutter, meaning they are immediately useful or take up little space. Gourmet foodstuffs, a subscription to a streaming service, or a charitable donation are good options.

To help fund valuable veterans programs during a particularly stressful and often isolating holiday season, consider donating your extra stuff to ClothingDonations.org or making a direct donation of money or a vehicle to VVA.org. The veterans appreciate the help. Now get shopping!

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

By the time you read this, the year’s extraordinarily short #holiday shopping season will be nearly over. If you haven’t completed your shopping by now, you’ll have to pay for overnight shipping or brave the last-minute crowds at an old-school retail store.

As the clock winds down, you may also have meals to prepare and gifts to wrap. You may need to do an airport run to help far-flung family members join in the fun. You may even need to fit all of these activities in around your work schedule.

That’s a lot of stress. But there are ways to defuse that stress and enjoy the holidays.

The first is to know when you’ve done enough. Striving to create the “perfect” holiday can drive you nuts. There may be a few “nice to haves” or traditions that you just can’t fit into the holiday plan this year — and that’s OK. The sun will rise and set without them.

If you’re short a gift, you can give cash, buy a gift card or sign your giftee up for a subscription service that periodically delivers coffee, tea or wine. There are also plenty of all-digital gift options that can help show you care instantaneously.

Take advantage of services that take some of the work off your hands. Retailers are only too happy to wrap that gift or assemble that piece of furniture. The local bakery can provide a pie, and you can ask guests to bring a side dish.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when the big event arrives. A thoughtful guest will volunteer, of course, but many people may need reminding as they celebrate with family and friends. This is a great way to keep kids occupied ahead of a gift grab.

You can set deadlines on what you need to get done, but build in an hour or two of serenity to maintain your sanity. “Head outdoors for a refreshing change of scene,” Woman’s Day suggests. “Take a starlit nighttime stroll through your neighborhood to view the holiday lights.”

You don’t have to do it all — and even if you could, it wouldn’t add to your enjoyment of the holiday season or anyone else’s. Focus on the big picture and know when to “say when,” and you’ll be able to create warm holiday memories without the stress.

Toward a Clutter-Free Christmas

Now that this year’s (shortened) #holiday season is in full swing, faithful readers of the Organizing Blog have likely dragged multiple boxes of decorations out of their attics and garages in an effort to create a bit of holiday cheer in and around their homes. After all, what are the holidays without lights, tinsel, ornaments and tchotchkes?

You may have also made multiple trips to the store in search of odds and ends that you’ll “need” to create that warm-and-fuzzy holiday feeling. Maybe the lights you stored last year didn’t work this year, or you just “had to have” the newest Star Shower laser lights or inflatable snowman.

The Organizing Blog is not here to tell you not to decorate or bah-humbug the holidays. But we will always remind you that it’s often best to keep things simple. During the holidays and throughout the year, it’s never a good idea to buy or keep anything that won’t truly add to your own happiness now and in the years to come.

As you shop, don’t give in to that voice that says you “need” to buy new decorations to keep up with the neighbors or feel a sense of shopping accomplishment. Instead, consider what your ideal holiday decorating scheme will be, whether whatever it is fits into that theme, and most of all, when you’ll know if you’ve decorated enough.

Similarly, as you examine your inventory of stored holiday supplies, you may find cracked ornaments, burnt-out lights and dog-eared decorations. If you think they can’t be used now, throw them away immediately — don’t just set them aside only to repack them later.

If there are any items that are nice enough to be on display somewhere but no longer fit your needs, bag them up and donate them to ClothingDonations.org. Even though you’re finished with them, an old nutcracker, elf or #Santa figurine might bring joy to someone else’s household.

When it’s time take down the tree and unplug the lights, again question whether or not everything going back into those boxes for storage adds to your holiday cheer. If you store only what you want and use, you’ll have a head start on next year’s holiday season!