Be it a birthday, holiday, or anniversary, gift giving is par the course for expressing how much you care about someone. There’s nothing like the gooey feeling that comes from surprising a friend, sweetheart, or relative with something they truly love.

But every now and then, the prospect of gift giving cause stress, especially if you’re weary of buying or receiving too much stuff. What starts out as a nice gesture becomes another piece of clutter or one more thing that gathers dust.

Fear not! Giving gifts doesn’t have to mean giving an actual thing. With a little creativity, there are plenty of ways to give without adding more stuff to someone’s life.   

Donate to a Charity

Does the recipient have a cause they are especially passionate about? Whether it’s nature conservation or funding for the arts, make a donation in their name. Don’t forget about local charities too: see if there’s a shelter or school who could use extra resources around the holidays.

Perform a Favor

We all have those “To-Dos” that have been sitting at the bottom of our list for ages. Be the person who makes them happen! Help out with a home project that’s been put off to the side for far too long, whether it’s cleaning the garage or organizing their paperwork. You might also consider gift certificates for home delivered groceries or cleaning services (for those weeks they’re really stressed out). 

Share an Experience

The new adage is “Spend money on experiences, not things.” So why not give the gift of an experience you can have together? Go on a hike, see a performance, or plan a special day full of the recipient’s favorite activities. Instead of accruing more things, you’ll both be accruing memories.

Give Them Knowledge

Classes are one of those oft-forgotten treats that your recipient might not think to get for themselves. Have they been meaning to try a new hobby? Or maybe their knee-deep into a subject and want to learn more. Think outside the box: try bird watching, digital photography, cake decorating, beer making…sky’s the limit! Be sure to check out local universities, libraries, and museums: these institutions sometimes offer classes in cool topics.

Try A Subscription Service

Sometimes your recipient doesn’t necessarily want more “stuff.” However, they might appreciate samples and tidbits of goodies they already love. Subscription services are more popular than ever: now, you can sign someone up for monthly deliveries of coffee, wine, soaps, candles, and more.