15 Disposable Gift Ideas

Nomi and I

A few weeks before Christmas, I was talking to a family friend who was going away for Christmas.  She mentioned that she was going to buy her three daughters their presents after Christmas since they only arrived at their holiday destination a few days before Christmas Day and she didn’t want to buy the presents locally.  I asked if the girls give presents to each other, and she said that while they used to, they stopped primarily because she found it was just more stuff in the house.  I find that really sad, because in our family, the presents underneath the Christmas tree holds a mystery and excitement – not a mystery of what is under there for me, but an excitement to give the next present.  Kids aren’t like that naturally; in our family it was an intentional move by Mum and Dad to make giving more blessed than receiving.

On the other hand; who does want more things in the house if it is going to be just stuff?  It is a tricky thing at birthdays or Christmas, when you get presents that you really don’t want, need, or even know what they are for!  It can be hard and unmotivating, but I don’t think Christmas presents need to be junk, and they don’t need to take up more space in the house.  Here are fifteen ideas that avoid the junk and yet can come from the heart.

  1. An iTunes gift card for a movie or for music
  2. Add to or replace things they already have: a pair of sneakers that is well-used, a shirt or two to refresh their wardrobe, some funky stationary from Smiggle – or just add to something they like to do, such as craft supplies, sheet music, or sport gear.  The trick is for it to be practical and used, so giving the money as a voucher to go shopping together with later might be the way to go.
  3. Bake their favourite dessert,  muffins, or biscuits
  4. Give a voucher to do their jobs, wash the car, give free lessons
  5. Take them out for coffee (or ice cream)
  6. Add to their favourite collection: foreign coin/stamp/teaspoon – it’s something they really want, is already ‘taking up space’, and is destined to take up more space.
  7. If they have an iPad, iPod, or smartphone, buy an app they will like and use
  8. Pay for or send them on an experience – pay for the registration for a term’s worth of sport, take them on a camping adventure, buy two tickets to take them to a movie, a concert, or ten pin bowling.
  9. If they have a kindle – or a touch device that has the kindle app – buy an ebook from Amazon
  10. Find a creative way to give money outside of inside a card.  One idea I saw was to put some money in a balloon, add some confetti, and blow it up – just don’t let go!
  11. A TEAR Australia or Compassion gift card (you actually are giving a person or family in a poverty-stricken area a goat, school supplies, or something that will support their livelihood)
  12. A bottle of lollies, nuts, or chocolate– a friend gave a cork-screwed bottle full of M&M’s to Nomi for Christmas and she loved it!
  13. A bouquet of flowers
  14. A plant that they can, well, plant, in their pre-existing garden
  15. A magazine subscription that will be disposed of, or even better, digital version

No matter what your situation is, if it is important to you to give, you can find a way to work around any situation.  What ideas could you add to the list?


9 thoughts on “15 Disposable Gift Ideas

  1. Those are some really nifty ideas, Jess. Dad challenged us this Christmas to make gifts for each other rather than buy them. I used my ice cream maker to make everyone a favourite, customised flavour of their choice. Josie made little paper boxes and filled them will homemade toffees. Yum!

    1. YUM Jerome and Josie! What great ideas. It doesn’t have to be under the tree and it doesn’t have to last – the fun of the present is better than the pristine-ness of it.

    2. PS: good challenge by your Dad, too. I’m going to attempt to do that for a lot of my birthday presents this year, but I’ll see how I go!

  2. Good ideas, Jessica! Practical gifts are the BEST! And I agree, Christmas isn’t Christmas without giving to each other 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. I loved seeing so many photos of your Christmas day Jessica! You all love giving to each other. The intrigue is really big in your house!

      I love giving practical gifts. They are safer than… things. LOL. But I liked the challenge of thinking of some presents that were ‘disposable’ or didn’t take up much, or any, more space.

  3. Great ideas! My friend decided that buying presents took too long and too much money – so she wrote a song for her whole family! She said her dad even cried 🙂 It was really beautiful, just singing about what her family meant to her, with in-jokes for each sibling. Fantastic idea!
    And then she proceeded to give me my Christmas present – a song as well!
    A very personal and heartfelt gift, and it takes up no space 🙂

    1. That is beautiful, and clever, Mad! I bet it will be something you will treasure about your friendship forever. And it is something that comes straight from the heart.

      The other idea I had thought of is to write (or record on the computer) a card, letter, or note – sometimes, words can say ‘I love you’ more than any present can.

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