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Clutter-Free, Stress-Free Holiday Gifting

Picture this.

Kim Smith (that's me) circa 2002-2015ish, sitting down at the dining room table to write the list of people she needed to purchase holiday gifts for. With 11 siblings, parents, step-parents, grandparents, various circles of friends, a boyfriend turned husband, eventual in-laws, and a pet to buy for, the list of names literally stretched down both sides of the paper she was jotting on. Are you overwhelmed just by the thought of that?

Now picture this.

This girl was one who suffered from debilitating perfectionism and because of this, she always felt the need to buy the best gift for each person on the aforementioned list. She would literally pour hours of thought, research, and mall-time putting together the most thoughtful presents and, in addition to that, getting top-notch, matchy-matchy fixins' to wrap each item up with. How overwhelmed are you now?

Although I've always loved the giving aspect of the holidays, the pressure I used to put on myself was extraordinarily draining and brought on more stress than happiness.


After my first child was born in 2015, I began to slowly pull away from all of the holiday gift-buying in order to preserve a more positive mental state. Of course I still wanted to show the people on my list that I cared about them, but I also needed to place a higher value on my time and emotional well-being.

So what did I do? I shifted to thought-driven gift card and experience giving as presents instead.

(...oh, and I cut some people off the list, too)

Not only is giving gift cards or experiences (ie. a massage or a trip to a favorite museum) perfectly acceptable as presents, but these offerings also provide a clutter-free option for the giver and the getter. That's a win-win in my book!

In order to be more organized with my clutter-free, stress-free Christmas gifting this year, I’m going to set aside about 15 minutes to dump my thoughts onto a copy of the Clutter-Free Holiday Gift List and to use this as a focused guide for all of my shopping (psst... you can grab a free copy for yourself at the end of this post!). Doing this will help me to determine which gift cards and experiences I will be offering as presents for my loved ones this upcoming holiday season and here's an added bonus... by using this resource, all of my ideas will be stored in one place rather than stacking up in my brain!


Here's how this process works:

  1. Take the time to write down everyone who you are buying for onto the sheet in his or her own box (column 1).

  2. Brain dump the hobbies each person has, as well as some things you know he or she loves (columns 2-3). This may include favorite restaurants, ice cream shops, shopping at a specific store, home organization (ok, just had to throw that one in there), etc.

  3. Review your brain dump and write down which thought-driven card or experience you will purchase for each person (column 3).

I used to think that giving gift cards would make me appear thoughtless or lazy, but I know I am neither of those things. By taking the time to list the things I know in my heart about each person, I am putting my family members' and friends' likes and wants first; I am able to treat them to something that will be more enjoyable and memorable than most physical items may ever be.


I know that using this list as a guide will help me to feel so much less stressed this holiday season. I'm also looking forward to how much more efficient and productive it will help me to be in regards to my holiday shopping; no more overthinking gifting to the point of mental exhaustion and overwhelm for me!

If you're ready to move on from the stress of overthinking and overbuying this holiday season, then grab your free copy of the Clutter-Free Holiday Gift List below!

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