• Jo Hall

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

Did you know that in the UK last year over 5 billion pounds was spent on unwanted Christmas presents? Gifts that ended up being returned to shops and ultimately disposed of in landfill. That's a lot of people, spending a lot of money, on things their friends and family don't want! finder.com goes on to report that clothing and accessories topped the list of unwanted items at 25%. 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.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but one positive emerging from it, is the realisation that all of us need to start taking responsibility for the state of our planet. With this in mind, maybe it's time to bit more creative and environmentally conscious in our buying and giving, rather than buying items that may end up adding to the clutter in people's homes (eventually giving them more to have to dispose of)?

For the last two years, in the lead up to Christmas, I've written a blog on Decluttered Gifting, ideas for gifts which could be "consumed or used up". It's focussed on things 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 2020. Some ideas are local to Maidenhead, many supporting small independent businesses. Some are relevant UK wide. Wherever you live,hopefully the list will spark an idea, which can then be researched in your own local area.

Gift voucher to try a new sport or activity such as paddle boarding on the Thames with Paddleboard Maidenhead or candle making 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 a walking tour for a city not visited before, such as Oxford with Walking Tours of Oxford (click link to receive 25% discount code)

Voucher for a family photo shoot with Maylings Photography or a beach photo session with Bori Bojthe Photography.

Tickets for an event at Norden Farm, Maidenhead, or a theatre local to you.

Edible treats (these make great stocking fillers), in the form of cookies from The Funky Cookie Company, ethically sourced chocolates from Chocolates By Jacquie, Satted Caramel or White Chocolate Fudge from Rachael's Larder, or local honey from Coopers.

Treat someone to some pampering and relaxation with a voucher for pampering from Kari Taylor therapies, the gift of wellbeing from Shelley Mason, or a spa day at Nirvana Spa

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

Send a bouquet of fabulous Christmas flowers or a flower subscription from Pink & Perfect Florists, a wreath making kit from Lisa Darban Floristry, a plant subscription from BloomboxClub, seeds or bulbs from Sarah Raven

Sign someone up for a wine subscription from Grape & Nectar, a bottle of artisan gin from Cricketers Gin, Berkshire or subscription for Gorilla Conservation coffee from Moneyrow Beans

If you're buying for someone who's running their own small business (or thinking of setting one up), why not treat them a bit of support and inspiration with a voucher for a 3 month membership of the Business Confidence Club or a bespoke video from Face2Face Direct

Afternoon Tea at Cliveden or Danesfield House

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.

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

Personal Styling session with Image Consultant Maidenhead

Digital Magazine subscription or eBook gift certificate.

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 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!

If you missed my blog from last year, please do read it here as it also included some environmentally friendly gift wrapping and Christmas cracker ideas. One new idea for gift wrapping this year is Planet Wrapit (eco friendly gift wrap and tape).

Finally, if you have any brilliant ideas to add to this list, please share them with us in the comments below.

Jo Hall is a Berkshire based Declutterer & Organiser

For help with decluttering & organising your home Less Is More

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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. Jo will however receive a small percentage from any styling consultation booked with Image Consultant Maidenhead, if the name "Jo Hall "is mentioned at the time of booking.

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