Presents for people who don't want 'things'

(64 Posts)
iheartdusty Sun 29-Sep-13 21:38:21

I'd love to hear your suggestions, as nearly everyone I buy for is in this category now, mostly adults over 40.

Charity gifts/ goats etc are always a possibility, but please add your other ideas!

So far I have come up with:

Magazine subscription.
( eg this new cycling mag on special offer, 3 issues for £5)

Theatre vouchers
National Art pass
Cookery course
Food foraging course

Tinlegs Sun 29-Sep-13 21:39:27

I read somewhere recently that it is experiences we treasure into old age, not things. A meal out, trip to the theatre, day at the races.....

carolmillen Sun 29-Sep-13 21:42:20

Experiences are best I think but photo books go down well in our family - great for special occasions.

We often make up our own hampers too - home made lemon curd, jams etc.

laughingeyes2013 Sun 29-Sep-13 21:42:51

I'd say an experience day. You used to be able to buy a voucher in Argos or boots from about £50 to £300 depending on the experience. If I remember rightly it varied from one day candle/ jewellery making or art & craft day, to massages or balloon rides or even helicopter/flight lesson etc.

Sorry, but I want experiences even less than I want things, unless you know me very well indeed and preferably have checked with me beforehand - I have more than once past been given vouchers for experiences that I wouldn't want to do and it is really embarrassing to deal with, at least with unwanted objects you can discreetly charity shop them. Magazine subscriptions if agreed in advance, but I don't read many now (send more time on here instead).

Vouchers and edibles all the way here. No to candles and smellies either <ungrateful>

Tinlegs Sun 29-Sep-13 21:50:41

By experiences, I didn't mean those packages you can buy. I meant a promise of something that would be an experience. For example, I have bought my family theatre tickets and we are buying MiL a trip somewhere she has always wanted to go (Barra!). For my DH's 50th, he was given a trip away. I paid, the children agreed we could go, granny babysat.

Another 50th gift he got was a meal out with friends to an amazing restaurant.

These would, clearly, rely on knowing the person well. But then I don't tend to buy Christmas presents for strangers, or acquaintances.

iheartdusty Sun 29-Sep-13 21:52:26

yes, edibles are a good option - but no-one wants sweets or chocolates or biscuits because they are trying not to put on weight. I do buy a lot of bottles of various kinds, oils, fancy vinegars, local wine and champagne, but half the family don't drink, and don't really do much experimental cooking.

everydayaschoolday Sun 29-Sep-13 22:00:21

National Trust annual membership
Leisure centre/Gym membership
if for youngsters: term of swimming lessons, piano, ballet, whatever

Lurleene Sun 29-Sep-13 22:06:13

Cinema gift card?

iheartdusty Sun 29-Sep-13 22:11:16

cinema is a good one for a family

iheartdusty Sun 29-Sep-13 22:41:44

other things I've remembered giving in previous years:

graze box for 3 or 6 months, or a voucher
annual membership to a nearby place, eg Kew Gardens
Time Out guide to restaurants, or pub guides

My family are all keen on edibles, we all love to cook and like a nice bottle of wine or some chocolates for Christmas.

What's a graze box?

everydayaschoolday Sun 29-Sep-13 23:19:14

not had it myself, but a work colleague subscribes

StupidFlanders Mon 30-Sep-13 00:13:56

Do you have to buy something? I have bluntly told all of my friends that now we have families the presents stop and everyone was relieved.

What we do is go out together for a dessert to "celebrate" christmas.

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 16:02:01

These are family, mostly BIL and SIls and my aunt, all very lovely people, scattered all over the UK and busy with their own lives and families, so taking them out for a meal (etc) won't really work as a gift, but there is a firmly established tradition of gift giving.

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 16:04:34

for example SIL and her husband do not want a photo book of our DC because they have their own DC, fond though we are of each other and our respective children, and it is always very enjoyable to get together.

champagnesupernovahg Mon 30-Sep-13 16:07:02

Cinema vouchers good <just seen already done - doh>
Find out who their babysitters are and are arrange a payment and they can set up a date between them?
Trip to the local panto if not too £££
Arrange a meal for the family to get together on a date that isn't xmas?

ZombieBelle Mon 30-Sep-13 16:17:25

how about adopting an animal either with wwf or through a nearby zoo?

the graze boxes are lovely, i get one every week and its a nice treat

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 16:17:57

I like your ideas Champagnesupernova.

(my SIL's DC are teenagers but it would work well for younger children).

Wine glasses - because who has a full set
Socks - I like comedy ones - it's the thought that counts.(it's now become an expectation)
A nice bread board - so you can go all Jamie Oliver when entertaining.
Or depending how zany your friends are, a massive Nerf gun.

YouHaveAGoodPoint Mon 30-Sep-13 17:59:14

Nice wine or champagne works well for a lot of people. It's a little boring but it is something nearly everybody enjoys.

I like the Arts pass/national trust ideas.

What about tickets to a sporting event?

If they live near a theatre can you pay for priority membership. Eg The National Theatre

Can you suggest not getting each other presents and just doing something nice together when you get to see each other in person?

Thinking about this a bit more, because I know I am in this category and hard to buy for. We are at the stage of being in our 40s and having "everything we need" but we have quite a lot of stuff that is old and could do with replacing. The wineglasses suggestion made me think of this. We actually have lots of those, but would love to replace various old worn out kitchen things - a lot of our house stuff is 15+ years old but because the ones we have are sort of adequate we never seem to get round to it. Why not ask if your relatives have anything they would like replacing with a newer set of? Pans, crockery etc perhaps. Or money towards updating furniture, rugs, curtains etc? Then the old stuff can be charity shopped so no net gain of clutter.

RedRedWyne Mon 30-Sep-13 18:41:37

What about a year's membership for tastecard? Sorry! I'm new and not figured out how to link but it is a card that gives you 50% off certain restaurants in the uk.

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 20:32:56

these are great ideas, especially the 'replace/upgrade' idea.

On Reastie's excellent bargains thread she has mentioned the spicery which I may well be using this year.

Just as a matter of interest WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes (one of my favourite songs, btw), do you like fancy soaps, hand cream, that sort of thing?

Yes and no! I like bars of soap and handcreams, but bubble baths, liquid soaps and most shower gels aggravate my eczema and I can't use them. Vouchers for Lush, Boots, Body Shop are most welcome so I can buy things I know will be gentle for my skin.

Re the upgrading - need to be careful when offering in case the person thinks you are saying their stuff is scruffy! Definitely don't suggest specific things in case it is their most treasured possession. This would actually work better when you don't seem them regularly as they know you can't be commenting on the state of their crockery!

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 21:11:34

yes, good points about not being tactless smile

Kikibee Mon 30-Sep-13 21:13:51

We were given theatre vouchers for the west end once, we don't live in London so we gave them away, total waste of in law's money and crap present!

Would rather have nothing tbh or summat homemade, although I am aware that I am in the minority on mn for that, I would never through homemade presents in the bin unlike some posters sad

Kikibee Mon 30-Sep-13 21:14:23

*not through, throw, sorry blush

YouHaveAGoodPoint Mon 30-Sep-13 21:21:22

My MIL all her adult kids and their partners and an expensive pillow a few ago. I thought that was a great present for people that don't want presents. They were expensive enough to be a special treat.
I really appreciated it.

mirry2 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:22:08

What about vouchers for facials or manicures (for people who like their beauty treatments)?
Bottles of wine are always welcome in our house but not scented candles. I just don't like them. Their smell and flickering give me a headache.

nbee84 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:27:58

We're not that far from London - just outside the M25.

Four times we have received theatre vouchers or tickets for a West End show. Train travel is expensive - tickets for 2 works out at £35 + £5 parking at the train station. And with the timing of the shows and the travel time you need to eat out and a 'reasonable meal' (ie not burger or pizza) will cost around £20 or so for the two of us. So our 'gift' ends up costing us about £60 - which could be better spent elsewhere really.

FavoriteThings Mon 30-Sep-13 21:31:14

I had a drawing done once of my dads dog . That went down very well. Have to get in early with that one though, as the artist has his work cut out to get them all done by christmas. [really this is a "thing", but a bit different?]

Ragwort Mon 30-Sep-13 21:34:41

Why not just ask people what they want? confused.

I am with one or two others on this thread in that I just don't want anything else in my life grin. And yes, I have at least four or five sets of nice wine glasses!

Fortunately my parents, siblings & ILs are all in agreement and we no longer 'exchange' gifts - if we the opportunity arises we share a nice meal or similar.

Agree that theatre/cinema tickets can be of little use unless you live near a theatre or cinema (our nearest cinema is 40 miles away grin); one year I did give my mum a manicure voucher but she confessed years later that she'd never used it !

I don't like scented candles or any sort of beauty treatment (well, I've never had any beyond a haircut, but think I would hate it). But, they do seem to go down well with a lot of people.

The dog drawing is a nice idea smile. Book tokens?

Dilidali Mon 30-Sep-13 21:43:36

Go ape vouchers.
Harry Potter world.
Drawing lesson.
Upholstering/sewing/card making one day courses (I had an indian head massage one, it was lovely!)
Hockey game tickets/ice skating.

Hope that helps smile

iheartdusty Mon 30-Sep-13 21:49:31

more great ideas, thanks

Stinkyfeet Mon 30-Sep-13 21:59:32

Gardening vouchers have always gone down well with my mum and mil.

kiwik Mon 30-Sep-13 22:42:54

I'm notoriously difficult to buy for according to my family (I'm not - I like loads of things!). I was given this last year, which is fab if you like experiementing in the kitchen:

moodyblues Mon 30-Sep-13 22:50:30

I bought a voucher for tea for two at seaside resort hotel (20 miles away from our home town) for my inlaws.

They visit the resort regularly so I knew it wouldn't annoy them to travel there. They got the tiny sandwiches, tiny cakes and tea with a lovely sea view all for the princely sum of £20.00!

They used it this summer and had a lovely afternoon - or so they told us!

Follyfoot Mon 30-Sep-13 22:51:24

Do any of them like walking? One of my DH's favourite presents ever was a year's subscription to Ordnance Survey mapping. He can mark things on the maps and print off the exact sections he wants. Think you can also download your routes to gps. Its only £20.

YouHaveAGoodPoint Mon 30-Sep-13 22:58:46

FollyFoot. That's a good present, I would love that myself.

I have been inspired by another thread How about a Personalised Number Plate. grin grin

The OS one sounds really good Folly - I'd like that and I think so would my brother.

Follyfoot Tue 01-Oct-13 21:57:07

Glad you like the idea, he's enjoyed it so much that he has it as a birthday or Christmas present from someone in the family every year now. More info here:

SunshineAndPeardrops Thu 03-Oct-13 09:38:07
fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 11:15:50

Cinema vouchers went down really well with my DSDs - also got them tokens for the local milkshake bar which had them hopping with excitement. Unfortunately they loved it so much they now have unlimited cinema cards (one paid by me in exchange for fortnightly babysitting grin) so can't use that again! I may do more food related vouchers in the future though - they tend to stick to mcDs as it's the cheapest but I think they'd appreciate something a bit nicer.

Personally I would love to have a restaurant voucher to somewhere nice as DH and I hardly ever go out to eat properly.

fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 11:17:19

Oh and DSS was happy with a ticketmaster gift card (he's an adult so no worries about people having to take them to the show he chose with his gf)

fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 11:26:43

It is a 'thing' but I'm asking for art this year. Am on a mission decluttering our home and in the process of ditching loads of Stuff I began to realise what really makes me happy. So from my parents I've asked for a framed print of The Snail by Matisse smile

You have to really know the person's taste to do that though - DH and my parents have been spot on in the past but they are the only people I really talk about art with.

And it's daft really, I would never actually think to buy something like that for myself, even though the Snail has been a favourite for years.

I'm also going to get a framed poster of DD's favourite (starry night) although obviously she will get actual 'things' too, being 6 grin

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 03-Oct-13 11:51:59

Definitely not vouchers: you have restricted where they can spend money without actually going to the thought of choosing a gift.

DH and I generally buy each other tickets to something, but then we go out together so its not an imposed cost. Why don't you suggest you will treat them to a single pint meal out or in, with you doing all the work, as a family, it would probably be more appreciated than something you can wrap up.

The Spicery are very good for people who like interesting food.

DH was given a 3 month voucher for Christmas last year. Every month he got a spice kit with instructions and a recipe for a particular recipe. The recipes were all very easy to follow, the food was delicious and we tried some really interesting flavours.

He enjoyed it so much that he gave me the same thing for our anniversary (different recipes though).

I'd recommend it 100%.

Rooners Thu 03-Oct-13 12:00:36

I have a mother who hates being given things. So we agreed not to buy for each other. The children will make her cards sometimes or buy her something very tiny.

I honestly think that Christmas gifts are best kept for children, and if someone doesn't need anything then really what is the point?

I don't need anything either, well if I do I tend to get it for myself iyswim. When buying stuff becomes such a chore then maybe it is time to cut off from the obligation to spend, you're helping save the planet too.

fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 15:34:06

It just occurred to me that DSS (21) might enjoy trying a Segway - wonder if you can get vouchers for that?

GrrArgh Thu 03-Oct-13 15:35:49

Meal out
fine wine (mail order)

Lurleene Thu 03-Oct-13 20:09:37

Fuzzpig there are some Segway gifts to choose from here:

Buy a Gift Segway

fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 20:24:57

Oh that's awesome thank you!

Lurleene Thu 03-Oct-13 20:26:04

I'm already a member of English Heritage and National Trust but recently found out that the Historic Houses Association has loads of properties in my area. Membership could make a nice gift for someone like me who enjoys snooping looking round big houses but has exhausted the local NT / EH ones.

The houses are all privately owned and there are more to choose from than NT and EH put together. Here's the website:

Lurleene Thu 03-Oct-13 20:26:52

You're welcome Fuzzpig.

IsleOfRight Thu 03-Oct-13 22:57:21

Thinking about what I would like, I'd like things that I wouldn't think to buy myself but I would def use. Eg I have young kids and we make a lot of fairy cakes. A gift box of nice coloured fairy cake cases and cool sprinkles and a funky food colouring and edible glitter could cost you £15 or less and would be the idea family gift for us. In fact I have just come up with the idea now and am very proud of it - think I will put that together for some of the families I know!

iheartdusty Fri 04-Oct-13 22:29:28

that's a fab idea isleofright

iheartdusty Fri 04-Oct-13 22:31:40

just bought a voucher for the National Gardens scheme open gardens booklet for 2014, so they can open the voucher then the book will be delivered when it's ready.

IceCreamForCrow Fri 04-Oct-13 22:32:58

Amazon vouchers.

shrinkingnora Fri 04-Oct-13 22:54:10

Brewery tour at a local brewery.

iheartdusty Sat 05-Oct-13 20:23:45

calendars are consumable

some nice ones by independent artists here redbubble

or etsy

fuzzpig Sat 05-Oct-13 22:05:13

I actually hate being given calendars or diaries blush people only need one so you risk duplicating, and if it's not one I love, I don't enjoy looking at it every day! I prefer to choose my own [fussy]

Already got my 2014 diary from the Tate, tis gorgeous.

Been thinking more about vouchers for my DSDs, restaurant maybe but also I'm going to see if my local bowling alley does gift vouchers.

iheartdusty Sat 05-Oct-13 22:17:51

shock smile

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