Food for Thought

The Home Front Gift Guide

I know what you’re thinking.

Trust me, I can hear your eyes rolling from here.

You’re thinking no, please no, not another gift guide.

Because they’re everywhere this time of year. Every blogger you know has rolled out their gift guide. Maybe even one for each potential person in your life. Spouse. Best friend. Co-worker. Co-worker’s roommate.

It is a pretty handy way to roll out a whole bunch of fun ideas and affiliate links.

This is not one of those guides. This is a guide for people who just plain Don’t Want Stuff. Whether you have to move a lot, you live in a small space, you despise clutter, or just went through making sure you only kept stuff that sparked joy, or for whatever other reason, you don’t want stuff.

This is for you. There are no links. Just hopefully a little bit of humor, cheer – and some genuine ideas on what to give people other than, well, stuff.

1. Time with you.

No, this is not egotistical. Really.

Money and time don’t grow on trees. I’m going to assume the person you’d think about giving this gift is important to you. And sometimes the best way to show people they’re important is to spend time with them.

Offer to take said person out for a coffee and a catch up, a bike ride, a hike, some kind of thing you can do together. If you feel like you can’t do this without spending money {because somehow we’ve been made to feel like it isn’t a gift unless you spent money on it}, pay for an activity you both enjoy like a cooking class or photography walking tour.

But take the time. Talk. Enjoy each other’s company. It’s worth it.

2. Restore a prized possession.

People who don’t want more stuff aren’t always anti-stuff. Sometimes, shockingly, they’re just able to ignore all the marketing and are perfectly happy with the stuff they have.

But that doesn’t mean their stuff doesn’t need a little love.

That favorite chair might benefit from a cleaning or even reupholstering, that collection of old photographs could be enlarged and framed or made into a book, that beloved book could be cleaned, rebound, and preserved.

Just make sure the person is okay with that. Remember, it is a prized possession.

3. Donate to a dream.

People have dreams. Some are lofty, like hiking Kilimanjaro. Some are less so, but no less worthy.

What is your person who doesn’t want stuff saving their pennies for? Give them a little nudge in that direction with a donation and let them know, with a fun card, a note, or just a scribble on the memo portion of a check, what your gift is for.

It’s an added boost to their savings, and it’s always nice knowing that someone remembered your dream and supports it.

4. Upgrade current stuff.

This is sort of like #2, but for people who, while they are happy with their stuff, wouldn’t mind better quality stuff.

This one is me, all the way. I have my dream set of enameled cast iron cooking pans and pots picked out, and I’ve passed that information to my husband. If he replaces one pan or pot per birthday or Christmas, I’ll be happy as a clam.

He’s pretty much the same, happy with his stuff but he wouldn’t mind a tech upgrade on his headphones or swapping out our ancient miter saw for a newer model.

Before you replace anything, though, make sure it’s a candidate for category #4, and not something that is firmly in category #2. We have made that mistake in the past with my father, not knowing that certain things were prized possessions (fireplace equipment – who knew?).

5. Useful memberships.

These are great little gifts that help people take part in fun events and enjoy them all the more, because they’re essentially free!

Think of how much fun a family might have with an aquarium or zoo membership, how much the art fan might love a museum membership, how much that fitness friend might enjoy not paying for a couple months of their gym membership or having a yearlong subscription to a coaching app.

Just make sure you don’t sign them up for something that automatically renews on their dime. Just buy a one year membership and let them decide if they want it again, or if they enjoy it, renew it again for next year’s gift!

What other ideas do you have for the “I don’t want stuff” crowd?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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