Ideas On What to Give Instead of “Stuff”

I truly adore buying gifts for my special people. I love to see their faces light up when they open it! In the past few years, I have been making a conscious effort to give more and more “Not Stuff” gifts. I’m not talking about the new ski boots your teen asked for, or the upgraded electric razor grandpa really needs, or the organic skincare products your BFF can’t get enough of. I’m talking about “stuff”—items that don’t get used more than a couple of times, that were funny and witty and quirky when you first bought them, that were a leap-of-faith purchase that fizzled. The stuff that ends up in the donation bag or worse, the rubbish bin, after a few months of taking up space.

Here’s our list of of gift ideas that aren’t just “Stuff,” and will hopefully be used and thoroughly enjoyed!


  • Babysitter — It could even be a gift of your time hanging out with the kiddos.
  • House cleaner — Many cleaning companies offer a one-time deep cleaning package.
  • Beauty — Mani/pedi, facial, brow wax/threading, etc. Just make sure the recipient has expressed wanting to do it.
  • Food delivery/Meal prep — Anyone having a major period of serious busyness would love a week’s worth of quick-prep meals.
  • Yard cleanup — Who wouldn’t love someone coming to prune back the hedges, weed, and rake up all the leaves and pine needles?
  • Professional organizing — We’ve got an insightful read on this, natch.

Memberships or  Subscriptions

  • Museums — Seattle has so many fantastic museums!
  • Warehouse club — A great gift for new homeowners or renters.
  • Local attractions — A few that come to mind: zoo, aquarium, indoor kid play or art spaces, the Center for Wooden Boats. Here is an awesome list!
  • Theatre — Whether it’s for a whole season, or a couple of shows, live theatre fans would cherish this.
  • Fitness — If someone has been interested in their nearby yoga studio, gym, dance class, etc., this would sure help them out.


  • Professional photo session — For photos of couple, family, kids, and/or pets.
  • Custom photo book — So many fun and meaningful ways to put one together. I have done many with Shutterfly.
  • Personalized recipe book — A sweet way to keep and pass on a loved one’s special recipes. Etsy has so many.


  • Tickets to a sporting event or concert, cooking classes, paint/pottery classes, escape rooms—there are infinite options. We’ve got a comprehensive list!


Happy shopping!


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