The Symbolic Communication Of Gift Giving

Have you been given a gift that has filled you with joy? Or perhaps you’ve been unlucky enough to receive something that left you feeling deflated and upset since it didn’t meet your expectations. But why would this irritate you? It’s the thought that counts, and that’s precisely it. When you look deeper into the matter, it’s because we attach symbolic meaning to gifts. This means that a gift you are not overly enamored with can be interpreted as thoughtless despite its altruistic motives.

When we receive a gift that we know the person did not consider who we were or bought something without thought can be an awkward experience for some people.  What do we do with these gifts? It is also a hassle to return them and worry that the giver will find out.  Such gifts often turn into clutter and ultimately contribute to world waste.



How To Give The Right Gift

A gift can still be a surprise even if you ask the receiver for some guidance if you are really stuck. It’s not a bad idea to have the receiver help you by talking in broad terms about what they might like. If you feel the need to be subtle — fine, use a third party to relay the information. But the easiest way to avoid having anyone plaster a fake smile on their face and feel the disappointment vibe is to creatively seek gift hints.
There are two basic strategies to avoid disappointing people. The first is to remember that gift-giving is rarely about what you like, it’s about what they like. And figuring that out can require doing a bit of homework which is to perhaps ask for a long list of ideas from the receiver or someone that they are close to.

It seems so much easier and a slam dunk, plus environmentally friendly to just give a clutter-free gift in which the recipient can have the pleasure to choose what to buy with a gift card or gain an experience that is so much more meaningful than any monetary item can emotionally fulfill.

Most people like to open gifts which makes the gift-giving season fun, however, the wrong gift or poorly planned out one is a buzz kill no way around it. You can always make a clutter-free gift fun to open by taking the time to wrap it nicely. How about placing a gift in a small box, then using four other bigger boxes to nest it inside. The recipient will have fun opening box after box until they get to the gift card. Accompany the gift with a heartfelt card that took you an hour to write. There is so much more meaning in taking time in the gift presentation card and selecting a gift card that will get used versus a generic candle.





Gift-Giving Process

The giving and receiving of gifts is part of life, especially around the holiday season. While exchanging gifts is a fun transaction for many families and friends, it can also be a stress source. We have people on our shopping list that are impossible to shop for because they are too particular and nothing seems to please them. Some people are hard to shop for because we do not know what size clothing or accessory size to get them and the last thing we want to do is offend them by buying too big a size. The personal nature of gift-giving and the sensitive feelings of people can lead to misunderstandings or hurt feelings.

To remedy such awkward situations, we tend to buy generic gifts. Items such as liquor, candles, socks, ornaments, cologne sets, lotions, room mists, glassware, mugs, knick-knacks, stationary, pens, housewares, etcetera are some common ones.

It is always best to enclose a gift receipt for anything you give someone, so the receiver can exchange the item if they do not want them. Nowadays, more than ever, stores have strict return policies, and you are at their mercy without a gift receipt. So chances are, you’ll receive a smaller amount in credit than the actual cost, especially after the holiday season ends.

Recycled gifts are not considerate to give, as all you are doing is getting rid of your clutter and passing it onto someone else. People know that your gift was not new, and worse, not thoughtful. Commonly, you can be judged as stingy. When money is tight, it is best to state that to a host, friend, or family member. You can explain that this year will not be suitable for exchanging presents. There is no shame in being forthcoming about your financial situation, given the state of the poor global economic conditions that are not your fault.


Why Buy Clutter-Free Gifts?

The trend today is minimalism. Home organizing, decluttering, and living with less stuff and room is highlighted everywhere in the media. I would guess that most people would take a gift card or cash over any present that equals the same amount of money. The only exception would be children, who love rushing to wrap presents and open them. Then, of course, there are those adults who enjoy the same fun.

The bottom line is to know the person you’re buying a gift for well enough to understand what makes them happy. Using only your judgment on how you will gift-give without considering a receiver’s tastes or needs is an act of control and selfishness.

Stores are crazed with endless return lines after the holidays for a reason. It means that millions of people buy gifts for people every year without considering the recipient’s needs. I have stood in these lines and donated many mystery gifts with tags removed to the Goodwill.

Clutter-free gifts are those that you do not have to return. These are gifts that the receiver usually enjoys and is relieved to receive. Buy them because you most likely save people time returning through the mail or standing in long lines. Only when they donate the item, someone wins.

What Are Clutter-Free Gifts?

Clutter-free gifts are usually not “things” at all. They do not take up permanent space in someone’s home. There are a couple of types of clutter-free gifts. First, we have experiences or activities, and then consumable goods will be used up, not adding any permanent clutter.

Think About The Recipient

Whether you are buying a physical gift or a clutter-free one, it is always important to try and come up with thoughtful gifts that you are positive they will enjoy. If merchants are selling items well below manufacturing suggested pricing, and you think you’re doing someone a favor by getting them a great buy, think again. It is not what something costs; the usefulness to the receiver is all that counts. What matters most is buying something that recipients will love, use and buy themselves. It is that simple. If you are stuck, ask someone incredibly close to them for advice and share your ideas with that person.

Clutter-Free Gift Ideas Experiences

All these clutter-free gift ideas related to experiences are worth mentioning. Here are top clutter-free gift suggestions:

Museum or Zoo passes

Water Park/Amusement Park Seasons Passes

Pool passes

Sporting Events Tickets

Summer Camp

Fishing License

Comedy Show Tickets

Theatre Tickets

Movie Passes

Concert Tickets

Festival Passes

Art Exhibit Passes

A trip, plane ticket, or voucher

Horseback riding lesson

Skiing passes

Ice Skating passes

Online Educational Courses: Business, Accounting, Marketing, Computer Podcasting, Social Media, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurial Studies, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Computer Graphics, Writing Courses, Editing Courses, Business Leadership, and Astronomy

Online or In-Person Arts & Language Classes: Jewelry Making, Woodworking, Musical Instruments, Cake Decorating, Drawing, Photography, Watercolors, Journaling, Knitting, Language Arts, Painting, Pottery, and, Embroidery

Online or In-Person Fitness & Sports Classes: Yoga, Strength Training, Cycling, Gymnastics, Spinning, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Lacrosse, Tennis, Volleyball, Pilates, Golf, Badminton, Table Tennis, Cricket, Archery, Fencing, Surfing, Rowing, Bowling, Shooting, Handball, Judo, Wrestling, Martial Arts, and, Self-Defense

Online Or In-Person Wellness: Yoga, A Meditation Apps, Nutrition Classes, Healthy Cooking Classes, and, Aromatherapy Classes

Self-Care & Services Gift Certificates: Massages, Facials, Spa Day Package, Manicure & Pedicure,Hair Styling, Make-up Items, Bath bombs, bubble baths, bath salts, oils, & masks

Soy Candles

Car Washes

Auto Detailing

Lawn Services

Landscape Design Services

Snowplowing Services


Professional Home Organizer

Oil & Filter Change

Housekeeping Services

Windows Washing

Painting Services

Subscriptions & Memberships



Satellite Radio

iTunes or Spotify

Audible Books

Digital Books

Online Periodicals or Newspapers

Amazon Prime

Hello Fresh

AAA Membership

Gym Membership

Consumable monthly subscription food boxes and services


Grocery Store


Gas Card


Home Center


Coffee & Tea


Specialty delivered breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Dried fruits, packaged dried meats, & nuts

Cheese trays

Cakes, pies, cookies, and donuts

Homemade preserves


Donate to a cause dear to the recipient

A digital file of all your favorite recipes

Plants or flowers

Pet food for their animals

It is essential to think through a gift purchase. When you receive a gift, isn’t it always touching when someone gets it right? It shows that this person took the time and cared about what would be meaningful to you. It is never about the monetary amount of the gifts. It is always about how well the person gets you and gives you something dear to your heart.

Clutter-free gifts do make the gift-giving task easy for many reasons. For sure, the recipient will probably not feel the need to recycle such a gift. They are practical, and that is always key and almost always universally acceptable.



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