At this point, you’ve been gifted so many coffee-table books, you could probably use them to build an entire new table. So stop cluttering the homes of your friends and fam, and try one of these space-saving gifts instead. Their tiny closets and overstuffed drawers will thank you.
A Batch of Their Favorite Baked Goods
OK, so this one does in fact take up space, but only for a short period of time. Whip up a batch of their favorite chocolate-peppermint icebox cookies, a loaf of Grandma’s famous banana bread or channel your inner Ina Garten and try a brand-new recipe.
Free Babysitting Hours
Yes, parents love their little ones more than anything else in the world, but we’re willing to bet your sister and brother-in-law wouldn’t say no to a few kid-free hours courtesy of everyone’s favorite aunt. Add in a gift card to their favorite restaurant to make it a date night really worth celebrating.
Tickets to a Show or Event
Nab tickets to a hot Broadway musical, upcoming concert or local ballet production. It’s twice as nice seeing something spectacular when the experience is shared with someone you love.
Lend Your Expertise
It doesn’t matter that your mom has a degree in chemical engineering—she still can’t quite figure out how to set up her new Google Home. Lend her a hand by offering to set up all those tech devices she got last year or by typing up a handy-dandy usage guide. Tech not your forte, either? An offer to weed the garden, clean out the gutters or provide hair and makeup styling for an upcoming event will be equally appreciated.
Plan a Trip
Whether it’s a three-day ski weekend or an epic two-week safari, your BFF will appreciate getting to go on a surprise adventure. (Especially when all she has to do is show up with her bags packed and ready for takeoff.)
Repair Something Beloved
The odds of you finding a brand-new pair of shoes your cousin loves as much as her favorite worn-in booties? Slim to none. Instead, restore her go-to footwear to its original glory with the help of a cobbler. Cobbler Concierge makes the process super easy with fixed rates and a mail-in system. There are also professionals who can restore old photographs, repair rings with missing gemstones or fix old guitars and other instruments.
A Fitness Class Pack
Your sister-in-law has been dying to try boxing ever since she learned it’s the Hadid sisters' workout of choice, but she never seems able to justify the cost. Surprise her with a class pack to the gym of her choice. (No judgments here if the gift also includes a buddy pass for the generous gift giver.)
Sometimes it's the most practical gifts that are actually the most exciting. Thanks to companies like Minted, you can design personalized stamps to feature the names, monograms or even photos of your loved ones. Now every time they go to mail a thank-you card, rent check or pay bills, they'll be reminded of you and your spectacular gift-giving abilities.
Donate to a Cause They Champion
If your brother can’t stop posting to Facebook about the importance of protecting elephants from becoming a further endangered species, then perhaps it’s time to show him and his four-legged friends some support. Donating to a charity or cause, like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, someone is passionate about is a great way to show them some love and give to those in need all at once.
Give the Gift of Convenience
Sign your whole family up for Amazon Prime. Add them to your account (you can have up to four members on a single account) and watch their lives transform. Soon they’ll be using free two-day shipping to have clean socks delivered when they forget to do laundry (yeah, we’ve been there) and enjoying unlimited storage for thousands of photos of their precious cat Captain Fluffernutter.
Gift Cash the Classy Way
Giving money: To some, it’s a welcome gift, and to others, it’s beyond tacky. The trick here is all in the presentation. Instead of writing a check or handing over some cash, try a gift card to a local grocery store or certificate redeemable through a monthly cleaning service. In effect, you’re still taking a reoccurring cost off their hands, but without the offending possibility of insinuating they need help. Be sure to include a beautiful card (we're partial to these beauties from Rifle Paper Co.) and handwritten note for maximum effect.