How Do I Encourage Clutter Free Gifts?

Dear FlyLady,

I love the idea of clutter free gifts, and my son’s interest in traditional toys is fleeting. How do I encourage family to give clutter free gifts like gift certificates to the bowling alley or his favorite stops (we ride bikes a lot around town) and not come off as pompous? When people ask, I can always let them know, but we have family members that just buy things to pacify their need to buy a gift for him without even asking. These are the hardest for me to deal with, since my son is Autistic, and most of these gifts are from people who choose not to spend time with him. My worry is that if I send out a message early that it will seem as if I am expecting them to buy gifts – just worried about the wording mainly.

Thank you for helping me regain some sort of structure to our lives. My home is lived in, but generally presentable.

Sincerely –

Dear Darci,

Your family cannot read your mind. If you want your child to have clutter free gifts then you have to tell them. You can do this with a simple Christmas letter. In this letter you can explain that he is growing up and has new activities that he loves to do. Include pictures of him doing some of these things. If you want them to purchase clothing and outerwear they will need to know sizes. Believe me, this information will be appreciated by grandparents.

Tell them in your letter that your family has decided to give clutter free gifts. You may even want to give them examples. What is the worst thing that can happen? They get upset and don’t send anything at all. That is better than clutter.

Just this afternoon I was informed by my son to not spoil my grandchildren. That means I need to clear any purchases with them. I always do anyway.

When my son was little, I asked the grandparents to keep their gifts simple. If they wanted to give more they could get him a United States Savings Bond. This turned out to be a blessing for my son, when he and his new wife decided to buy their first home. The savings bonds became their down payment.

Your idea of giving and receiving clutter-free gifts may not happen this year but you will set the example for the future. Just be appreciative and next year you can pack up the unwanted gifts to donate.


pumpkin14(1)We have some great clutter free gifts in our FlyShop: Calendars, water bottles, Rubba Scrubbas and purple rags, just to name a few. The water bottles have been very popular this week. There are going to be a lot of happy hydrated people this Christmas.

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