Unclutterer’s 2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Practical Presents

The Monday before Thanksgiving can only mean one thing here on Unclutterer: The launch of our 2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide. This is the fourth year we’ve put together a Guide, so be sure to check out our 2009, 2008, and 2007 Guides for even more gift-giving ideas.

The theme of this year’s Guide is Practical Presents. Practical applies to both the buying and giving — make a practical budget that works for you and your family, and give gifts your recipients can regularly use. We’re aiming for functionality for this year’s Holiday Gift Guide.

To prepare for the gift-giving season, take an organized approach and start by making a list of everyone you would like to give gifts to this year. Next, pull up your personal and/or family budget and see how much money you can spend without going into debt. If you set aside money throughout the year for your holiday shopping, take note of the balance in this account. Then, figure out how much money you can spend on each person on your list. Remember, not all of the gifts you give will need to be purchased — crafts, gifts already purchased, coupons for experiences, etc. — so some of the people on your list might have zero dollar amounts next to their names. Once you have figured out how much you can spend on each person on your list, you’ll be able to start planning what gifts you want to give.

Stay tuned this week and next for the full 2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide and our practical present recommendations. We hope you enjoy our Guide as much as we do. Again, don’t forget to check out the 2009, 2008, and 2007 Guides for our previous recommendations.

15 Comments for “Unclutterer’s 2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Practical Presents”

  1. posted by WilliamB on

    I will be making embroidered bookmarks for my libraphile niblings. Small, portable, unbreakable, personalized. As it happens I already have all the materials but if not, scrap canvas is inexpensive and every crafter seems to have leftover bits that can be used for his craft’s equivalent of a crazy quilt.

  2. posted by L. on

    > Next, pull up your personal and/or family budget and see how much money you can spend without going into debt.

    Woah. You should not spend as much as you can without going into debt. You should spend a great deal less than that amount.

  3. posted by Erin Doland on

    @L — Actually, a lot of people use credit cards at this time of the year and rack up debt. I’m trying to discourage that behavior. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

    Now, if you have an insane amount of money, obviously don’t spend it just because you can 🙂

  4. posted by Mike on

    As someone else pointed out earlier (but their comment no longer appears here), the link for the 2010 Gift Guide directs you to a page where comments are closed and the link is to the 2009 Gift Giving Guide.

  5. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Mike — Link fixed! It now comes back to this page, as it should. The purpose of that page is a round-up of all of the posts in the 2010 Guide. So far, this is the only post in the Guide.

    The other comment disappeared because we thought we fixed the link earlier … but, um, oops! We take down link and other correction notifications once they’ve been made. Or, well, in this case, when we thought they had 🙂

  6. posted by Lose That Girl on

    I really hope people close to me pay heed to such an idea this Christmas. Less can definitely be more. Needless shopping in the spirit of giving is bad for the wallet, the planet and our sanity.

  7. posted by Living the Balanced Life on

    We have been trying to focus on giving experiences or supplies this year. My 4 grown kids all have tools of their trade or hobby that they can’t afford or won’t buy for themselves, so that is one thing we are doing. Also going to consider buying from a local small store or crafter for gifts.

  8. posted by Susan in FL on

    Our teenage grandchildren and adult children (who all live over a thousand miles away from my husband and I) will be receiving a check in a card from us. We really don’t know what they need/want. The dollars seem to always be used and besides they all have a standing joke going about what their present will be “this year.” Why disappoint them?

  9. posted by Joke Tribe Funny Jokes on

    Now this is one area that I can dive in head first on.

    Firstly, I sincerely wish that we in these United States were a fair amount less consumer driven. For, after all, it is this consumerism that has driven our lives into clutter. And I would hope that you are solidly amongst the group of people who TRULY feel that Less Is More.

    So it’s a little ODD to see you champion gift giving as something that is in keeping with uncluttering. That’s something that, to quote a little Star Trek, “doesn’t compute.” (Or at least I think that’s where that came from.) Personally, I’d rather see you stick to the Unclutterer theme. Because I think it’s within that realm that you hold your greatest power.

    To speak of this on a personal level, my family hasn’t exchanged gifts since the youngest of us was in their 20’s. And I truly prefer it that way, for it alleviates my mind of the Clutter of the inconsequential; the worry about finding an amazing gift for someone I love. A gift that may very likely NOT satisfy their worldly desires to the level that I would hope it might. Instead, the Joy that I find in sharing The Holidays with those I love is the Joy of the time spent together. The Joy found in walking for an hour or more in Nature’s beauty. This is something that doesn’t take the efforts of the world’s corporations to make possible. And it likewise doesn’t take much monetary investment to make possible.

    So I would like to offer my thanks, as well as my support, for the efforts that you make with the resource that is unclutterer.com. I know that you have changed MANY peoples’ lives for the better, and I wish for you to continue on that path.

  10. posted by WilliamB on

    @Susan in FL: my grandparents used to do that. In return I would get something specific – no using it to pay bills – and tell them about it. I got something I wanted, they didn’t have to shop, and we had a nice chat or show and tell about the gift.

  11. posted by Natalie in West Oz on

    i tried to ask my family please no more gifts and they got offended. So I guess I have to keep putting up with books on subjects I’m not interested in, perfumes and bath products I cant use (allergies)and dolls I dont like (I collect only certain dolls). BUT what I have learned from this site is that I dont have to keep those gifts I dont like or dont want or cant use! Yay.

    Shame of it is, the offended parties also insist I continue to buy them gifts. i hate that. I’m sick of spending my money on people I dont see (and dont like when I do see them). I also resent the time that goes into choosing and mailing gifts that I didnt want to buy in the first place – and the emotional energy that goes into ignoring the sense of offence that I chose the wrong thing.

    The nail in the coffin is my family’s attitude towards christmas day itself. As the only Christian in the family it offends me that they make such a dog’s breakfast of a day that really means something only to me! Surely if I, as the only person who celebrates the true meaning of christmas, can see past the commercialism and consumerism and ask that if be kept very simple, why cant the rest of my family respect that?

    bah humbug! : )

  12. posted by Jennifer Macchiarella on

    Gift idea for “grown up” families: My family draws names, and then makes up baskets of consumable items. Usually that means food, but whoever draws my name often includes magnetic notepads, and if I draw my dad I put in a used paperback book. Some years we have a theme: everything has to start with the same letter, be from the same country, have the same color on the wrapping, whatever. The baskets (or brown paper sack if my dad draws your name) are fun to open, and anything the recepient doesn’t like can easily be regifted. It’s a great way to try new things, and it’s less stressful than trying to find a gift for someone who has everything.

  13. posted by midatlantic hiker on

    Every year, Santa leaves a state park pass for the upcoming year in our stockings. It’s the best because it doesn’t take up any space, and encourages quality family time together being outdoors and appreciating nature.

  14. posted by Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design on

    Here’s how my husband and I handle gift giving. I create a gift catalog for my husband. It includes a list of the items I’d like as a gift (good for birthdays and anniversaries, too). Since I know my husband well (he hates mall shopping/loves on-line shopping), I include the website link to the item and include the size or color desired (if applicable). I email the list to him, and he can then click on the links to go to the item. Everything is in order of desirability and there are items of various price ranges. He compiles a wish list for me as well. We can email them to family members, if they ask. Everyone gets exactly what they want/need, and no one feels like they have to be a mind reader to guess what the other person would like, what size they wear, etc. No one gets a gift they didn’t want; no clutter of unwanted gifts is created.

    Besides a physical gift, we give our nieces a donation to http://www.Kiva.org and http://www.Heifer.org. They get to decide whom to loan the money to (Kiva) and whether to send bee hives, chicks, etc. (Heifer). They receive and they also learn about giving. They’re always excited to tell us how they distributed their charitable gifts and they track their Kiva micro-loans throughout the year.

  15. posted by Terry on

    I have a very wealthy brother-in-law (70 years old) that spends two weeks with us every Christmas. This year I am going to put all the family photos that my husband has onto a DVD for him. These date back to when his parents were married (1890) to the present. His daughter said she would install them on his digital photo frame, which he loves.

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