22 November 2006

No-clutter gifts? Talk amongst yourselves.

Rookie Moms Heather and Whitney have started a list of gifts "that will not result in more stuff to put away, step around, or sterilize." Brilliant! Most of us have far too much crap decking the halls anyway.

There's always the old stand-by: the gift card at Amazon or [insert favorite store here]. (My mom used to eschew gift cards, saying they were cop-outs, and I can understand why, and yet they are undeniably fun for the gift-ee to use.) If you have any other ideas, please share them here or at Rookie Moms.

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Heifer International http://www.catalog.heifer.org is an organization that works to end poverty and hunger all around the world. You can give a gift of a flock of chickens, a heifer, goat, bees, trees, etc. in honor of someone - they get a no-clutter gift, and someone across the world benefits. Plus you get a cute card with a picture of whatever animal or trees on it! My daughter has been fond of giving water buffaloes lately.

For those who are reluctant to give to a charity in your name, suggest consumables. One family sends the other two of us gourmet cheeses, one family sends a Honeybaked ham and my family sends them both a Georgia pecan assortment. We share the foods over the holiday season with friends who come by and none of us deal with the "what should I buy her this year" issue, nor do we give something that takes up space without being used.

As for children, I have one set of grandparents give each of my children a magazine subscription- they enjoy receiving something in the mail every month.

Yes to Laura! FYI: Project Concern (http://www.projectconcern.org/) out of San Diego does the same thing and you can buy your chickens and goats right off the web site (like heifer.org). Our grandparents give the requisite mountain of gifts -- we can give our kids the gift of charity. We also keep a jar out and change can go in as we work toward the purchase of a goat. Or imagine this -- A microloan for a woman in Africa or a safe and healthy birth for her child. Does my kid need another piece of junk??!! NO! At six, we are still planting the seed in our daughter that not everyone in the world has the quality of life we have.

That being said, we love magazine subscriptions too!

My parents are giving us a one year family membership to the YMCA. In addition to the pool and classes, family membership includes a limited childcare benefit. A great opportunity for our toddler to play with other kids and for me to take a water aerobics class, or even get an uninterrupted shower.

I'd also recommend arts/crafts classes through your local museum or arts center.

Or perhaps gardening classes and a plot in a community garden.

Oooh Andi, I like how your family thinks! A one-year membership to the YMCA would be fantastic.

I am a huge fan of the children's museums and zoos this year.

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