Clutter-free Holiday Gifts

By Renee Martinez, Founder of Raising Boys World

Christmas is a time of buying, and, come New Years, presents somehow just become piles of “stuff” laying around the house.  If you are still looking for a gift for your boys, here are a few holiday gifts  that will not clutter (and are also more eco-friendly).

Experience Gifts
Buy lessons for something your son would be interested in experiencing.  For example, wall-climbing lessons, fly-fishing lessons, glass-blowing lessons, etc.  I know one mother who bought her son flight lessons for Christmas, and it became an experience he will be excited to remember and share for the rest of his life – beats any toy that he would have played with for a few months.

Another nice holiday gift is taking your son out on a special evening. Why not take him out for a Christmas symphony or The Nutcracker Ballet? Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly, thinking your son would never be interested in sitting still for so long.  Emphasize it’s a special evening, and go all out by having everyone dress up (maybe even getting a fancy lunch/dinner beforehand), and you might be surprised by what a gentleman your son becomes.  This also makes for a great opportunity to practice etiquette (boys have manners too), but, of course, keep it fun.
Also, if your son starts to get fidgety during the performance, you can always take him out for refreshments and a short walk.

Charities provide fantastic opportunities for you to teach your son about empathy and kindness.  It can also be very empowering for him, and a great way for your family to give back. It is important that, when choosing the charity, you involve your son and include him in the process.  Let him help you research the cause, and build an interest.  Here are some ideas:

Volunteer as a family at your local Soup Kitchen or Food Bank.

Heifer works to end world hunger and poverty.  Pick an animal to give, and help a family make a better future for themselves, and help build their community.

World Wildlife Foundation Gift Center allows you to choose from a variety of packages, where you get something in return for your donation.  Find a species to “adopt”, and they will send you stuffed animal.

Games as Holiday Gifts
Alright, I suppose I should throw in one fun, kick-ass gift.  If you are shopping for an older boy, look up these websites that will instantly let you download (or send the recipient an email invitation to download) the games you would otherwise purchase at the store.  No packaging, no shipping costs, so you save and also help the planet a little bit.

Steam has all the games you would find at a store, and offers great discounts (especially when you have multiply boys to shop for).

If your son plays World of Warcraft, they have added a lot of updates and expansions recently – just in time for the Holidays.  Gift cards are available too.

For an older boy, Netflix  or Gamefly makes pretty safe bets as gifts.

If you have any other non-clutter gift ideas, we’d love to hear them.  Share them with us under comments!

The Holidays is a wonderful time for families to bond and re-connect.  You create the memories your sons will cherish for the rest of their lives, and even re-create for their own children in the future.  So, don’t let the stress and shopping get in the way, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday season!


About the Author: Renee Martinez consults and speaks professionally on social media marketing, integrated marketing communications, public relations and branding. She is the president of Ruby Marketing Communications (, a boutique marketing communications company that specializes in providing branding, social media strategy and integration, and creative services. Her blog (, provides resources on everything marketing and social media for her active audience. 
 Renee has contributed as a featured monthly columnist in the monthly jewelry industry publication, JCK on matters related to internet marketing as well as in InStore Magazine as a featured blogger where she writes about developing effective marketing strategies for the jewelry industry using social media. She is the founder of: Social Media Biz Summit (, the first large-scale SM conference to come to Buffalo, NY; #jewelrychat, a weekly twitter chat for the jewelry industry and Renee teaches social marketing courses at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY for the business school as well as offers small group social media marketing training and educational seminars for businesses in Western New York and beyond. Renee has dabbled in internet marketing arena since the early 90′s and is not ashamed to call herself a “marketing geek”. From chatting in AOL, “sharing” music on Napster, and teaching HTML classes before it was considered “cool” to developing comprehensive social media strategies, effective public relations campaigns and managing online communities (most recently Chevy Girls Buffalo).  She enjoys being able to help people find their voice online and to create buzz about their product or service that will give them the results they desire. 

Renee can be found on Twitter (@reneemmartinez) and Facebook (http:/

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