10 Christmas gifts that won’t clutter closets

Christmas Presents

Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m sure you’ve already been asked to provide your list to at least one uber-prepared family member. Or maybe you have some particularly difficult people to shop for and are trying to stay ahead of the game. Either way, you are thinking about gifts.

When you were a kid, making a Christmas list was the easiest thing in the world. You were given a catalog and told to circle what you wanted. Undoubtedly, by the time you and your siblings finished paging through, everything was circled.

But the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to put together a list. As an adult, most of the things you want you are able to buy yourself. It also becomes harder to buy for siblings and adult friends because they are going through the same thing.

This is where non-material presents come in handy. When brainstorming gift ideas, think about things that promote doing rather than having. I recently read an article that 20-somethings should be spending more money on experiences than material possessions. (Check out the article here.) Bonus? Your small, young adult apartments will remain relatively clutter-free!

So what kind of experience gifts can you ask for or give this Christmas? Here’s a list of 10 ideas to get you started:

1. Annual park pass

America the Beautiful

Do you or your giftee live near a park or open space that requires a day pass? Then why not get an annual pass? If it’s a place that’s visited often, getting a pass will definitely be a money-saver. It may even promote going to the park more often. If you think a road trip may be in the future, consider an America the Beautiful annual pass. It works with every national park in the United States!

2. Money toward a flight


Live away from your friends and family? Consider getting them (or asking for) money from a specific airline. For every Christmas my brother lived in Arizona, he gave each person in our family money toward a flight so we could visit him. It’s a very simple gift but also really thoughtful. Airline money is a concrete invitation to spend time together.

3. Gym membership


If you know someone who wants to get in shape, help them get started with a gym membership. This idea isn’t limited to the classic free weights and treadmills gym. You could give a membership to a yoga studio, a rock climbing wall or any other facility that promotes a healthy lifestyle.

4. Voucher


With sites like Living Social and Groupon, this gift practically buys itself. You can purchase vouchers for a variety of experiences at a variety of prices. Mix and match restaurant and wine tasting deals or go big with a hotel stay. The possibilities are endless.

5. Online TV subscription

Hulu plus

Who has cable anymore? With so many cost-efficient and convenient alternatives, cable is becoming an obsolete expense. This makes a subscription to sites like Netflix a great gift. You could also consider Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime.

6. Travel fund

DIY piggy bank

If you know someone who’s jonesing for a vacation, help them out by starting a travel fund. Giving money can be kind of boring, but if you’re crafty you can dress it up so it looks similar to the photo above. Create a fun savings container and be the first contributor. You could also ask for donations from other friends or family members.

7. Class

Photography Class

If you or someone you know loves learning, a class could be the perfect gift. You could choose a class such as photography, cooking or music lessons. Or you could pick something career-relevant, such as Photoshop, Excel or SEO. Knowledge is a very powerful gift; choose wisely.

8. Competition

Tough Mudder

Interested in doing a triathlon, marathon, or themed road race? Ask for registration as a gift! Instead of sitting around, wondering if you should fork over the hefty registration fee, you could be magically signed up by Santa. And then there’s no going back, so you better start training.

9. Concert tickets

Concert tickets

This is the perfect gift for the music junkie in your life. If you already know what bands and venues this person likes, you are halfway there! Now just start searching. This gift doesn’t have to be limited to concerts. Tickets to festivals or other events would also make a good Christmas present.

10. Dinner

dinner with friends

Paying for dinner or drinks can be a great gift for friends you don’t see very often. This is especially nice if neither of you have much money in your bank accounts. Getting together is something I’m sure you were planning on doing anyway, so why not class it up a bit by going out?

What’s on your Christmas list this year? Have any other non-cluttering gift ideas?


2 thoughts on “10 Christmas gifts that won’t clutter closets

  1. These are all such great ideas! I love giving and receiving experience gifts. Of course I like unwrapping a cute, tangible gift too, but nothing really beats the chance to make great memories. And who needs more ‘stuff’ anyway? (I especially like that travel fund container, such a cute idea.)

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