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For Friends and Family

We all know that the best things in life aren’t things. And most of us have heard of the various studies that show that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects. (There’s even a study demonstrating a link for women between depression and the amount of stuff in your home.) So, in addition to being environmentally wasteful, all those gifts have the potential to make your loved one feel depressed!

So how do you express your love without “stuffocating” your loved ones? Below are five of our favorite gift ideas.

Also, check out our More Fun Less Stuff Gift Catalog for hundreds more creative and meaningful gift ideas.

1.    Personalized Coupon Book

Download our free coupon book, and give your loved ones the gifts they really want. Give your mother a coupon for an afternoon volunteering with her at her favorite charity. Give your best friend a coupon for an evening off. Give your kids the gift of a late bedtime. Give your significant other a coupon for no dish duty or whatever chore he or she detests most. Get creative and make one coupon for each month of the year. So many ideas!

 2.    The Gift of Nostalgia

 For significant others, a fun gift idea would be to try to recreate your first date (unless it was a total disaster!). If you saw a movie on your first date, find the movie and plan a night in. Did you eat Mexican food? Look up the recipe online, and have a cooking date. If you’re married, you can pop in your wedding video and re-live the fun. For old friends, you can pull out a favorite movie or music mix from your childhood. Or find old letters and notes, and create a mini-scrapbook (or just bundle them up with a nice ribbon if you’re not the crafty type).

 3.    A Gift They Need

Pay close attention to conversations with friends and family. Take note of whether they mention something that would improve their lives. Have they bemoaned the state of their closet? Help them set up an organization system. Are their Christmas lights still up? Offer to help take them down. For many people, taking a nagging task off of their to-do list is one of the sweetest gifts you can give.

 4.    Give A “Heart Attack”

This group Valentine is thoughtful and incredibly simple to pull off. Cut out construction paper hearts, and give them out to each person. Each person writes down what they love about a family member or friend on the hearts. Younger kids can dictate to older kids or adults. How could you not enjoy receiving a bunch of handmade hearts filled with heart-felt compliments?

5.    The Gift of Learning

Has a loved one been wanting to learn a particular skill? If so, see if you can arrange for a few lessons. See if you can save money by bartering with another friend: for example, if your wife has been wanting to learn to play the guitar, ask your guitar-playing friend if she would give lessons in exchange for a week of home-cooked meals. 

For more great gift ideas, be sure to check out SoKind Registry and get inspired to give more fun and less stuff!

And we would love to hear your favorite gift ideas! Please share your thoughts in the comments or email your ideas to us at newdream@newdream.org.


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