The Art of Giftless Giving

I've read them all.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F$^*
The Art Of War
The Art of Life Admin
The Art Of Work
OK fine when I say *read I can mean several things:
I've cracked the spine and promptly returned to to the library coz it's a yawn (ahem No. 3);
I've listened to the express version on Blinkist (ahem No.4) or some I've literally read 3 times and still have no idea what the philosophical f^$^ it's talking about (ahem No.2).
BUT, you know, Art is subjective so I thought I'd have crack at defining a new art (without going to alls the trouble of writing a book).
WE all have the friends and family that "don't want anything", with the rise of 'Minimalism' and Marie Kondo'ing people want less 'stuff'. But we still want someone to feel good on their special day.
Enter "The (new totally made up) Art of Giftless Giving".*
*Although not technically the correct term as you're still Gifting but with a more thoughtful approach.

The Art

It's all in the Joy.
That includes you, the giver not just the giftee. So here are the general principles you can use to give yourself some gift-spiration for Giftless Giving.
  • Give Time
  • Give Love
  • Give in Honor
  • Give Memories
Simple, powerful ways to give.
Some gift-spiration for you below to use the principals in #foreals life.

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Give Time


  • Organize your friends b'day celebrations
  • Schedule + commit to regular date nights
  • Offer to babysit
  • Cook dinner
  • Make Coupons for your time (and your kids)

Is it your sisters birthday who's a stay at home mum - gift her time. Time to herself. Offer to babysit for an afternoon, if that's too scary organize a babysitter but offer to be there as well. Offer to take the kids on an adventure, or regularly to an event like library storytime.  

One for the kids, get them to make fun Coupons for family as gifts for giving their time eg. A Coupon that Grandma can use for a car wash and lunch date by the grand kids.


It's one thing we all lack, we all have and we all underestimate but we all want more of. Giving your super precious commodity to another is a sure way to melt your recipients heart.

Is it your over-worked BFF's birthday? Offer to organize a birthday dinner so she can relax and just show up and enjoy rather than be stressed with updating the Facebook group or positing the menu or texting the friends that always get lost.

Is it your anniversary? Give each other time to connect, put in your joint calendars regular 'couple time' and commit to making it happen. It could be a monthly movie night, weekly dinner date - making the time to organize these pockets of time to connect can speak volumes more than a physical gift.



Even a little thing like cooking dinner can mean a few pristine moments of time you're giving back to the recipient and THAT is priceless.


Give Love


WE all have an abundance of Love and can give it in so many ways it can be overwhelming. But it's the simplest form of giving and can be the most powerful.

Let's use Christmas as an example. We know that consumerism has consumed the essence of Christmas but we know it's a time of family, friends and for some, giving the years worth of love in one day. Rather than showing it in big expensive gifts show it with action.

Use the token Greeting Card as a place to tell them why you love them, what is it in particular you love, what you hope for them this year.

Do something you know that they love even if it's something you don't eg. read that book they always talk about and indulge them in a conversation; take them to the new restaurant they have been talking about for ages but never go to.


    • Use your words
    • Write lunch-box love notes
    • Do something they love
    • Take them to a place they love
    • Be available

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.

Kindness in giving creates love.

- Lao Tzu

Sometimes just letting them know you are there can be enough. We often don't reach out to lean on others because you know they are 'busy' but telling someone you are available can show your love and support minus the big price tag.

For year round giving of love write a stack of love notes for your family and kids and put them in their lunch boxes for a midday boost of the delicious love endorphins!

Give in Honour


  • Donating in their name
  • Adopting in their name
  • Supporting their cause
  • Host a fundraising event
  • Volunteer

Giving in someones honor combines giving your time and love by showing the recipient you know them and made the time to give something they will appreciate.

It can be as easy as donating to their favorite charity in their name, adopting/sponsoring their favorite animal - at the local zoo or in an animal protection organization.

If the recipient volunteers for a charity, support their fundraising campaigns, attend the events, buy raffle tickets - participate in helping them make a positive impact in the world. Even better, host a fundraising event for their charity or volunteer yourself for their favorite charity.

Doing something to share in the recipients values shows great honor to them and they will truly feel the true selfless gift of giving from you.


Give Memories

Who remembers what you were given for your birthday last year? Ask your kids, I bet they don't remember all the gifts that Santa brought them.

In the fast moving cluttered world we live in, physical gifts can give joy for such a short amount of time, giving memories can give much longer than the gift itself.

Nowadays it's easy to search instantly buy/book an activity that you could either do with the recipient or gift them solo that they'll remember and love forever.

Maybe your cousin is a closet dare devil, book them a tandem skydive; your friend is a craft-aholic - book her a craft class she hasn't tried before. For our family this year we opted out of physical gifts for the kids and instead had a special family day out at a kids fun park where they'll hold memories of the fun for years to come


  • Give new experiences
  • Make a photo book
  • Be present
  • Share stories
  • Create traditions


The grandparents love this one, make a photo book for them to hold and sit and talk about the memories captured. With the digital age printed photos are a thing of the past but there is no comparison to a everyone huddled around a photo book - chattering about your own personal real life adventures and sharing the stories that they hold - it's not quite the same huddles around the iphone is it.

Joining the recipient on their new experience means you are giving them the gift of your presence, undivided attention. For the kids this is what they want most.

The memories made are the stories they'll be telling their kids how 'it was the best birthday present EVER'. Sharing stories of your memories can also spark creating new memories together, create traditions - maybe our family Christmas gift will now be that we have a family day out at a different fun park every year, something the kids (and grown-ups) can look forward to all year.

What's Your Fav on the Giftless Giving list?

Let us know if you used any of the above ideas or tell us your favorite giftless gift below!

Until next time,

Keep Giving, Keep Sparkling

Sez xx

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