As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3: More Clutter-Free Consumable Gifts

This article was written by in Consumer, Shopping. 15 comments.

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 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 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.

Email Email Print Print
About the author

Along with her partner, Sasha owns and manage six residential rental units. Sasha endeavors to support the causes and organizations she believes in through more conscientious spending practices. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

How do you know the soap is made from olive oil? After watching Fight Club I am scared to purchase hand made soaps.

Reply to this comment

avatar 2 Anonymous

With the majority of my holiday shopping being done tonight, these tips’ll come in handy. Cheers bud!

Reply to this comment

avatar 3 Sasha

Saving Freak,

I’ve seen her studio, so I feel comfortable knowing what she puts into her soaps. Also, she lists out all the ingredients here:

What’s scary is the amount of chemicals and harsh detergents which so many commercial manufacturers put into their soap. I hadn’t known until I started reading up on it.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Note: Use your name or a unique handle, not the name of a website or business. No deep links or business URLs are allowed. Spam, including promotional linking to a company website, will be deleted. By submitting your comment you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.