Before purchasing a gift for someone this holiday season, ask yourself this very important question:
"Does this gift add value to the receiver’s life or will it be clutter they can’t discard because they feel guilty?"
Gifts are tough for people to let go of. The guilt of letting go of something a loved one has given you is real. People feel as though they’ll hurt that person’s feelings, they’re letting go of the person, not the thing, or that it will cause an argument. This was not the original intention of the gift being given but too often is the result. Don’t let your gifts become clutter, and start making the gift-giving about the recipient, not the giver. Here’s how:
Ask Questions: Before you go shopping ask each person the following questions: What’s on your wish list? What don’t you want more of? This allows them to give you suggestions they’d love to get and things that they are just overwhelmed by. This doesn’t take all of the fun out of surprising the person. They might say "candles are something I’d love to get, but home décor isn’t something I need." Now you get to surprise them with their favorite brand and scent of candle they love. Or if they give you 2 to 3 ideas, they won’t know which one you’re going to pick. If the person isn’t sure what to suggest ask them, what do you Need, Use, or Love?
This usually gets them thinking in a more specific way. If they say they don’t need anything respect that. People don’t always need a physical gift to know you love them.
Respect: Respect the person’s answers. Don’t disregard what they request or try to talk them into something. If they don’t want anything then you can give them the gift of time together doing something you both enjoy like going to a movie, a weekend where you do an Aunt weekend with your nieces and nephews (a twofold gift, one for the kids & one for the parents), or even a gift card to a nice restaurant you know they love.
Memberships to museums, money for grad school or to put toward a vacation are all excellent gifts that respect the “I don’t need anything response.”
Give Gift Receipts: Whenever possible give a gift receipt with every gift purchased. When they open the gift point out the gift receipt and tell them that if they want to return or exchange it to do so guilt-free, you’d rather see them with something they love than to put your gift in the back of a closet never to see the light of day until a Professional Organizer shows up.
Start Early: Start your holiday shopping early so you’re not stressed about finding everything on people’s wish lists. If you’re rushing to buy gifts you will likely be less thoughtful about what you’re buying and instead just buying stuff to have something to give. Be intentional, start early and give yourself enough time to shop thoughtfully and with love.
Take Notes: Make notes of what you bought for each person so that you know the following years what you got them. Make note throughout the year of ideas you come up with based on conversations you have with the person and things they mention – these notes come in super handy when asking for a wish list as you can suggest some items to them to see if they’re interested. Make note of what they don’t like as well, it narrows down the list for the next time you make a purchase. My favorite way to make these notes and lists is in my Notes app on my phone. That way it’s always with me when I’m shopping.
Don’t Take it Personally: If you don’t see your gift in the person’s house after you’ve given it don’t take it personally. Remember, gift-giving isn’t about the giver it’s about the receiver. If that person is overwhelmed with clutter or changes their mind later about a gift it isn’t about you, it’s about their well-being.
The stress caused by clutter is real and you wouldn’t want your gift to cause stress, would you?
These are the best ways to make sure your gifts don’t turn into clutter: ask questions, respect the answers, give gift receipts, take notes, and don’t take it personally.
Enjoy the time spent with loved ones above all else and remember, the holiday season isn’t about the stuff it’s about the people! Here’s to making memories and warm moments.
Shop with love,
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