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Unbox your gift-giving for a tidy, joyful holiday

When helping people declutter their homes, I often hear, “I don’t really like this, but it was a gift from (fill in the blank), and it would hurt their feelings if I let it go.” The last thing we want to do is create disappointment and stress for those receiving our gifts this holiday season. It helps to remember that not all gifts must be material.

In his book “The Five Love Languages,” Gary Chapman lists five distinct ways of understanding and expressing love and affection:

  • Acts of service
  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch
  • Receiving gifts

If you don’t know which of these ranks highest for your friends and loved ones, it’s a great conversation to have. Here are a few gift-giving ideas to get you inspired:

  • A busy mom who most appreciates acts of service would be delighted with the gift of an afternoon of babysitting or delivery of a homemade meal.
  • A son who prizes words of affirmation might be very touched to receive a gift card with a handwritten note, spelling out how proud of him you are.
  • Gifts of quality time could include a coffee date with your girlfriend or a mother-daughter road trip in the spring.
  • A certificate for a spa treatment might be perfect for a relative who most values physical touch, and don’t forget to deliver it with a warm, sincere hug.
  • And for friends and family who love receiving gifts above all else, ask for specifics, and do your very best to honor those requests. Much disappointment has come from well-intentioned substitutions!

As they say, “It’s the thought that counts,” but let’s include in that thought an understanding of what is truly meaningful and brings joy to those on our gift lists this holiday. Cheers to keeping your gift-giving clutter free!

Heather Young of Tidy and Calm LLC is a certified KonMari consultant. She and her team use the KonMari Method™ to transform home organizing into a once-in-a-lifetime, joyful event. Reach her at

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