• Jo Hall

Experience Over Stuff this Christmas - more than 30 ideas for clutter free & good conscience gifts

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

5 billion pounds is the amount the UK spends on unwanted Christmas presents each year, gifts that are returned to shops and ultimately end up in landfill. That's a lot of money being spent on things our friends and family don't want! finder.com goes on to report that clothing and accessories make up a whopping 25%, a quarter of all unwanted gifts!

Apparently friends are responsible for giving over 30% of unwanted gifts, followed by parents. Maybe we're not as good as we thought we were, at predicting other people's taste! The fact is that most of us have more stuff than we need in our homes and in our lives generally and unwanted (or unused) Christmas gifts, just add to household clutter.

There's been much talk about the state of our planet in 2021. Climate change, waste and the role each and every one of us needs to play in taking responsibility, to make positive change. Experts agree that whilst reusing and recycling is good, it the isn't the answer.

The more effective solution, is that we buy less, use up less natural resources and stop adding more and more waste to landfill.


With this in mind, it's time to be more creative and environmentally conscious in our buying and giving, instead of buying items that add to clutter in homes and ultimately need to be disposed of.


This is the third edition of my blog on Decluttered Gifting, ideas for gifts which can be "experienced, consumed, or used up". It's focusses on gifts that don't hang around much beyond the end of December; as they're eaten, drunk, burned (in the case of a candle), enjoyed for a defined period of time (flowers/plants), or based on enjoying an experience.

Here's the list for Christmas 2021. Some ideas are local to Maidenhead, Berkshire, many supporting small independent businesses. Some are relevant UK wide.

Wherever in the world you live, my hope is that this list will spark ideas for the sorts of things, that can also be found in your own local area.


Gift a voucher to try a new sport or activity such as ice skating lessons for the whole family at your local ice rink, or an introduction to bee keeping with Oakdale Bees, or a family falconry experience at Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre


The chance to explore the best of the British great out (and indoors) with National Trust Membership, RHS Membership or learn about our history with a Windsor Walking Tour (also works well as a fascinating armchair tour, for those less mobile).


Tickets for an event at Norden Farm, Maidenhead, or a theatre local to you. Spend time out together at a family friendly festival like Camp Bestival. or Shynefest.


Make some memories by giving vouchers for a stay at Goxhill Meadows Eco Friendly glamping site, or hire a camper van from Quirky Campers and plan a road trip.

Surprise your partner with a vineyard tour and overnight stay Tinwood Estate.

Biscuits teas food hamper items
Edible Treats - Henley Larder

Edible treats (these make great stocking fillers) from Henley Larder. Ethically produced chocolate from Tony's Chocolonely.

Set a loved one up for sustainably sourced shopping in the new year with a gift voucher for a local zero waste, refill store like Filling Good or an Oddbox fruit and vegetable subscription


Treat someone to some pampering with relaxation sessions from A Peaceful Heart, Feetdbfirst, or a rejeuvenating Thames Lido Package


Help someone clear their printed photo clutter and preserve memories with the gift of a video book by Henley Scan


Send a bouquet of fabulous Christmas flowers from Lisa Darban Floristry, a fabulous plant from Patch Plants, seeds or bulbs from Sarah Raven. Who could you surprise with a voucher for a garden design consultation with Growthfully?

Sign someone up for a wine subscription from Grape & Nectar, a bottle of artisan gin from Cricketers Gin, Berkshire, a coffee discovery session from Moneyrow Beans or a years supply of gelato from Agosti Gelato.

Book Afternoon Tea for two at a fabulous historic house like Cliveden or Danesfield House


Buy a Cinema voucher or Netflix Membership


Give the gift of a calm and organised living space with a voucher for Less Is More decluttering & organising service (in person or online), or help someone take the next towards a perfect wardrobe by booking them in to have their "colours done" with a personal stylist.



Donate to a favourite charity, plant someone a tree with The Woodland Trust or sponsor an endangered species on someone's behalf.


Digital Magazine subscription or eBook gift certificate make for clutter free reading.


If you really can't avoid giving toys, make Christmas last all year round and choose the sustainable option by signing up your family to a Toybox subscription.


Still stuck? Have a look at LastMinute.com Experiences for experience gift ideas UK wide.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility not to request more than we need this Christmas.

If we want the gifts coming our way to be consumable or experience based, or at the very least second hand, made from repurposed materials and/or from sustainable sources, we must communicate that wish to our friends and family (well in advance!).


Happy clutter free (and good conscience) Christmas shopping this year and if you have any brilliant ideas to add to this list, please share them with us as a comments below this blog.


Jo Hall is a Berkshire based Declutterer & Organiser

If you would love to have a really good sort out but don't know where to start, or maybe you've made a great start with it, but have since lost your way, Jo can help!


Jo works with clients in person (locally) and remotely anywhere in the world, on all types of decluttering & organising projects, as well as having DIY online resources available. Please do get in touch to fix up a no obligation chat: Less Is More


For decluttering & organising ideas and inspiration:



Disclaimer - Jo was not paid to mention the companies featured in this blog, nor were any of the items or experiences gifted to her in return for being featured.

975 views0 comments