Mindful Gift Giving

clutter gift giving holiday
hands holding wrapped gift


Do you end up spending way too much money at this time of year? Racking up a bunch of debt? Stressing out about what to buy for gifts? You are not alone!

I'm sure you are already being bombarded by email deals for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Some of these deals are fantastic, but it helps to have a plan before you shop. If you know what you specifically need it will help much like when you spend less at the grocery store when you have a list.


General tips when shopping for gifts for any occasion


Pause before each purchase and think what would JoAnn do? I am partially kidding there, but many of my clients and other people in my community say I am often in their heads.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will the person love this?
  2. Or is this something they need?

These happen to be the first two questions I recommend you ask yourself when decluttering. If you answer no to you both then it is just clutter. It really is that simple.

Buying a gift because you have to buy a gift when you can’t say yes to either of those questions can also make the receiver feel guilty. It can feel really bad to know someone spent a lot of money on something you have no desire to use.

Yes, it is the thought that counts!  So stop buying stuff just to make sure you have a gift to give. Let someone know you were really thinking of them with a gift that they will treasure.


Experience Gifts


Experience gifts can be a great way to keep clutter to a minimum. I polled my amazing community and one thing we all agreed on is to Know Your Audience. A few had such guilt about spa certificates because they hate the experience, yet they used them anyways out of guilt because they can be so expensive.

Examples of knowing your audience
  • Don’t buy someone house cleaning or organizing just because you think their home is dirty or organized.
  • Be conscious of allergies.
  • Remember not everyone loves a Spa treatment or massage.
  • Please, don’t buy a gym membership because you think they should work out. Yes, someone asked me if they should get that for their wife once. I said if you want to live then NO!

Some Ideas

Gift Certificates:

  • Massage, Manicure/Pedicure or Facial
  • Favorite store (especially if it is a place that they wouldn’t normally splurge)
  • Car Wash or Detailing
  • Hair Salon


  • Local performing arts theater
  • Children’s Museum
  • Art Museum


  • Play or musical
  • Sporting event
  • Concert
  • Comedy show
  • Movies


  • Sewing
  • Photography
  • Art – pottery, painting, jewelry making
  • Cooking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Self-defense
  • Yoga


  • AAA Roadside assistance membership
  • New tires
  • Season of plowing, fall clean up or snow blowing services.
  • Gift card for groceries

No Cost - make a coupon for your time:

  • Babysitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Car wash


  • For parents of young children, a hotel stays with an offer of a weekend of babysitting the kids is priceless!
  • Family Vacations! While possibly expensive if you add up the cost of foregoing all other gifts it might not be far off and the memories will be priceless. 

Many of these are things you can do together to make lasting memories! Our time together is so precious!

Check out my blog  Get Organized Now for a Peaceful Holiday Season.


Keeping track of it all


A system to keep track of all the details can really help you pick the perfect gift.

  • Keep track of who you give gifts to and when throughout the year.
  • Note things like their favorite colors, sizes, hobbies
  • Log what gifts you have given them in the past.  

You can use a simple notebook, journal, or even an online project management software like Trello or ClickUp.