Every December before Christmas (and before each birthday), I do a big overhaul in our boys’ room and purge all the extra toys, etc., that they’ve either outgrown or don’t play with anymore.   It’s preparation for the influx of gifts coming on December 25th.

We tend to not buy toys for our boys and we try to focus on experiences instead of stuff. For instance, when our boys were born my husband and I made the decision that we wouldn’t give them stuff (“more plastic from China” as my husband says) for their birthdays; our gift is the party we throw for them. However, other family members and loved ones can’t resist and so our little guys get inundated with “stuff” for Christmas and birthdays anyway.

If you also want to avoid the Christmas clutter and are looking for some gift ideas for your kiddos and other loved ones, here are my top ten gifts that won’t add clutter this Christmas:

1. Membership: Give the gift of membership! It could be a membership to a favorite museum, zoo, amusement park, sporting license, etc. The gift of a membership doesn’t take up any space and you can enjoy this gift the whole year through.

2. Books: I know that technically books can create clutter, but we make exceptions for books. You can never go wrong with the books!
3. Classes/lessons: Gift someone with music lessons, cooking or art classes, and so on. Maybe there is something new they would like to learn or try and gifting them with classes can be a great way to encourage them.
4. Date Nights: Last year my Christmas gift to my husband was a coupon book of date nights. I made up one date night for each month and put them into a little scrap-booked coupon book. They don’t have to be romantic dates- you could do the same thing for your kids! Date nights are a fun way to be intentional about taking time for the ones you love.

5. Art Supplies: Art supplies are a great gift that encourage and spring-board creativity. Great for any age and any stage of life! If your art supplies are adding clutter, you should be finger painting a little more often 😉

6. Baked goods: Take the time to bake up some of your favorite yummy treats! Taking the time to make something yourself is a great way to show someone you care about how much you love him or her. And who doesn’t love yummy treats at Christmas?

7. Gift Cards: I know they can seem impersonal, but do you know of someone who doesn’t love receiving gift cards? Picking out a gift card to your loved one’s favorite restaurant, coffee shop, store, etc., shows that you pay attention to what they love. Maybe it could even be a gift card for the two of you to spend time together?!

8. Adventure: Memories are made when you get away from it all and take time to be together. Give the gift of a fun adventure: a train ride, a day at the beach, a trip to the snow, a trip to an amusement park, etc. It can be little or small, but adventures as a family are the memories you treasure for the rest of your life.
9. Child Sponsorship: One of my very favorite things we do as a family is sponsor a young boy named Beni (who lives in Rwanda) through Compassion International. For $38 a month we help provide Beni with education, school supplies, medical attention, food and an opportunity to hear the gospel. Child sponsorship is a great way to connect your kids with what is happening around the world. We have been given so much and it’s a great way to show your kids how to give back.
10. Compassion International Gift Catalog: If you don’t want to sponsor a child on a monthly basis (or even if you do!), Compassion International has a gift catalog you can buy from. You can give a family in a developing country various livestock animals, fruit trees, Bibles and more.  For the person who has everything, you can give a gift on their behalf to someone in need.