Thoughtful Giving: 4 Clutter-Free Ideas For Gifting Children

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Dec. 13 2023, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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With the holidays right around the corner, many parents and families are anticipating an influx of new toys, clothes, and gadgets they’ll need to find space to store. And clutter can be a major issue as those items pile up from past holiday gift-giving. The clutter can pose major problems in the average household. A recent survey found that messiness and organization are significant causes of disagreements in many homes.

Forty-six percent of people surveyed said it “causes tension,” and 35% said it “causes arguments” in the home. Another survey found that almost 75% of people between the ages of 16 and 42 say they need a better organizational system at home.

After living with my in-laws for three years with two young children, and having virtually no storage space, I learned which gifts will keep the holidays exciting without completely overwhelming our space.

1. Activity Passes

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Source: Pexels

A few years ago, my grandmother started buying swimming passes for our entire family every year for Christmas. This was my first taste of the wonder of activity passes.

Since then, we have asked family members for bowling passes, movie passes, etc. You could also ask for passes for amusement parks, theatre productions, skiing and snowboarding, museums, or anything else with an admission price.

Keep your passes in the same place and enjoy free or discounted family activities all year.

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2. Gift Cards Or Cash

Some people say giving gift cards or cash shows a lack of care or consideration in gift-giving. But my kids love receiving gift cards and cash because they get a little financial independence.

Specificity is key. Avoid gift cards to big box stores because you will almost definitely end up with the clutter you were trying to avoid in the first place. 

We often make homemade coupons for our kids’ favorite restaurants and use them as stocking stuffers. We have also helped the kids brainstorm a specific item they wanted to save up for. That way, when they receive cash, they are less inclined to spend it immediately and decide to save it instead.

3. A Bank Account

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Source: Pexels

In the same vein, a bank account is an excellent gift for kids who understand the concept of money–even if it’s only a little bit. 

We decided to open an account for my daughter’s seventh birthday, and it is by far the best gift we’ve ever given her. 

Kids’ accounts are free at most banks. It only took me a phone call to make the appointment and 15 minutes to attend the appointment. I brought my daughter, and she got to sign some of the papers, which made her feel very grown-up. Plus, our advisor came prepared with stickers, making the whole experience incredibly positive.

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In the days leading up to the appointment, my daughter told family members that she was getting a bank account for her birthday, so many of them sent cash to be deposited or transferred money directly to her account after we set it up, eliminating most of the post-birthday clutter.

Of course, a bank account works for any special occasion or holiday. It’s also an excellent way to start teaching kids about financial literacy while also cutting down on clutter now and in the future.

4. Magazine Subscriptions

Kids love getting mail. A yearly subscription to a children’s magazine is a gift that keeps giving month after month. They are affordable and typically contain crafts, puzzles, contests, and new reading material. Popular kids magazines include:

Highlights: several age-based options from ages 0-12, $39.99/year

National Geographic Little Kids: ages 3-6, $26/year

National Geographic Kids: ages 6-12, $26/year

Ask Magazine: ages 6-9, $33.95/year

Sports Illustrated Kids: ages 8-14, $19.95/year

Girls’ Life Magazine: ages 10-15, $29.95/year

Magazines can pile up after a while. To contain the chaos, I recommend using one of two strategies:

– Recycle the previous issue when the new one arrives in the mail or

– Purchase a magazine holder from your local dollar store and empty it when it gets full

The holidays are stressful enough as it is. No one wants to live in clutter after it’s over. Protect your household’s peace and opt for clutter-free gifts instead of scavenging for storage space.

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By: Gizette Edis

Gizette Edis is a Canadian freelance content writer and a firm believer that–with some hard work–you can have your cake and eat it too. After becoming a mother, Gizette realized that she couldn’t pursue her career as a music teacher and be the kind of mom she’d always hoped to be. So, she began her career as a writer and has never looked back. Gizette works with a wide variety of brands and businesses, but she primarily uses her passion and skills to help femtech and women-owned businesses have their rightfully deserved time in the sun.

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