I got a little carried away with consumable gifts in the food and drink category in my last entry, but that’s to be expected. This time around, my favorite ideas for non-edible consumable gifts:
* Soap and Bath Products – They make a great gift basket, but are easily used up, so they don’t contribute to clutter. One of my friends makes her own fantastic-smelling all-natural olive oil soap and bath products, and she had a home show this year where I bought soaps for just about everyone I know. I tried to select scents which I think each individual will love, and it should be fun to see how accurate I was predicting their fragrance preferences. And anything I don’t give away I’ll just use up myself.
* Massages, Pedicures, and Spa Treatments – Beauty supplies continue to be a popular gift, but they are a clear winner when combined with gift certificates for massages, pedicures, facials and other spa treatments. In my book, there’s no such thing as too many massages, and it’s nice to have some luxury to look forward to. Pick a local spa, or visit SpaWish.com for a gift certificate good at over 1,000 day spas across the nation.
* eSubscriptions, Media and Content – With all the interesting videos, music, and books available via iTunes, it’s hard to imagine anyone who owns an MP3 player not appreciating an iTunes Gift Card. I’ve heard great things about Audible.com as well, and electronic book and programming subscriptions start as low as $7.49 a month for the first 3 months with their AudibleListener program.
* The Gift of Less Mailbox Clutter – Starting around $5 a month, you can help a loved one get less mail and move to receiving and paying bills online with Paytrust. For someone who’s online enough to benefit from this but buried under their bills, this is a great way to help him dig out. E-bills are simple to set up, and for traditional mail, you have the recipient call all the companies which bill him and provide a new mailing address, then Paytrust will receive and scan all bills going forward. My partner and I are Paytrust users and it has transformed the way we manage our bills and rental properties. More on that in a future entry, but from a holiday perspective, it’s a fabulous gift for that overwhelmed person in your life.
* The Gift of More Time – Take a page from Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Workweek and help someone to “outsource” time-consuming or unpleasant tasks. Whether you supply a bevy of homemade frozen meals or set up a running engagement with a personal chef, your gift will directly benefit the recipient’s quality of life. Maid service, child care and gardening or landscaping services are gifts they’ll remember all year, and can be accomplished by hiring out or (more economically) by helping out and doing it yourself.
Low-clutter gifts can still be high impact.
iTunes Image Credit: Tanais
Updated May 26, 2009 and originally published December 12, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.