It's the most wonderful time of the year! The time to focus on those we love, to reflect on the blessings of the year and our hopes for the future. Yet sometimes it seems we spend countless hours selecting a gift for each person on our shopping lists, only to be left feeling like we are giving just one more thing. One more thing that will take up space in their closet. One more thing that will sit in a drawer. One more thing to serve as a daily reminder that we already own too many things. This year, we decided that the gifts we give will be meaningful, they will bring joy, and they will NOT get lost in a junk drawer. These are a few of our (non-cluttering) favorite things:
1. Something charitable. Lots of organizations help you host awesome events - turn your annual holiday party into an opportunity to give back! Make food to take to a shelter, or pack toiletry bags to donate. It's a great way to help others and spend time with your loved ones. Visit our Giving page for more ideas!
2. Something small. I love these perfume rollerballs. I don't leave many things out on my bathroom counters, so most mornings perfume is something I go without. So many great perfumeries are making their fragrances in these easy to take everywhere rollerballs. Perfect for traveling, your gym bag, your car, your purse...endless possibilities.
3. Something to drink. A bottle of wine is always appreciated. Buy a case of your favorite wines to keep on hand for last minute gifts. But if you want to really impress your friends, make a batch of this cranberry cocktail. Pick up these bottles for just a few dollars from your local craft store, add a rosemary sprig and some twine to create the perfect package. Get the recipe here.
4. Something that recurs. I love using The Bouqs to send flowers to loved ones. Set up monthly or quarterly deliveries, and they will feel special all year long. You can also schedule deliveries to recur on special occasions, such as Mother's Day or birthdays! These are not the old-fashioned floral arrangements of your past - they use sustainably grown farm fresh bouquets and hand-crafted, custom designs by local artisan florists. Another favorite is a monthly coffee delivery from Dean & Deluca. Their coffee is delicious and the packaging is gorgeous.
5. Something zen. Taking the time to stretch, spin, or zone out is so important for your well-being. Gift Classpass to your loved ones and they can choose their own group fitness classes, even while they're traveling. Another personal fave is Headspace, an app for guided meditations to calm your mind and help you gain perspective. Our kids love doing the meditations, and I have noticed an awesome shift in my daily focus.
6. Something kind. Know someone with a new baby? Plan a night out for them. Babysit the kiddos, and treat them to a grown-up dinner and cocktails...or two or three. Don't live close enough to babysit? Have dinner delivered, schedule a housecleaning, or hire a massage therapist to make a house call. The key is to just do it, because I know moms and they'll tell you they don't need help with anything.
7. Something to grow. I love keeping herbs in small containers in the kitchen. They look beautiful, they smell great, and they provide easy access to fresh ingredients while I'm cooking. Try basil, oregano, & thyme for something classic, or go with rosemary & mint for something yummy. (Bonus: fresh mint leaves steeped in hot water makes a perfect cup of mint tea!
8. Something to eat. Love to bake? There are so many delicious baked goods this time of year. I always love pumpkin bread, but I just came across this recipe for lemon zucchini bread that is unbelievable. For clutter-free packaging, wrap the loaf inbeautiful wax paper and tie with bakers twine. You can add a sprig of rosemary or lavender for color. Another great idea is to create a gift basket with bread, a local honey or jam, and a gorgeous tea towel.
9. Something to do. Museum memberships are an awesome gift. The recipient gets an entire year filled with new exhibits, gallery openings, afternoons spent soaking up some local culture. My favorite museum in Los Angeles is LACMA (great art AND a great bar), but there are so many to choose from depending on your loved ones interests...Natural History, the LA Zoo, Peterson Automotive, or KidSpace just to name a few!
10. Something to hear. So many of my favorite memories are of listening to live music. My husband and I jump at every chance to attend a concert, and it's always amazing. If the music is terrible, you have a great story to tell afterward! And if the music is fantastic, well, that's just everything. I am a big fan of the LA Philharmonic, with its two stunning music venues (Walt Disney Concert Hall & The Hollywood Bowl), and the non-classical lineup of touring bands (Aerosmith! Dolly!) will keep you entertained all year long.