Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Conscientious Business Gifting

For many of you, the title of this entry has more to do with ethics than organizing. While business gifting frequently has an ethical component to it if you are gifting to clients or contractors, the issue I am drawing you attention to is prevention of clutter. Giving gifts that add to clutter in the life of another is just not a gift at all, (unless of course they hire me to declutter their world and then I thank you for the gift!)

In today’s era of “living the moment” and “finding a simpler life” and keeping clutter at bay, I recommend redefining the word consumable. The Encarta Dictionary defines consumable goods as “goods that have to be bought regularly because they wear out or are used up, such as food and clothing”. For the purposes of gift-giving, I have defined the word as follows: A consumable gift is one which by its inherent nature has a best before date or natural expiry date, wears out or is used up and permits the recipient an opportunity to enjoy for a limited time and then dispose of, without guilt”.

If this is a definition that appeals to you for individuals on your gift list, here are some suggestions to get your shopping started.

  • Baskets of food, home made preserves, including perhaps candles and some decorative paper napkins related to a a personal interest or characteristic of the recipient e.g. gardener!
  • A tribute donation to a charity which is already supported by the recipient or otherwise meaningful to them e.g. The Toronto Humane Society, The Cancer Society.
  • A sponsorship donation to a charity which has designed annual sponsorship or gift campaigns e.g. The Toronto Zoo has set up an animal adoption program. In the adoption package you receive a picture and information about your animal. World Vision has a gift catalogue from which you can pick an item that can be supported by your donation e.g. 2 rabbits to a family ($35), a harvest pack for 4 families ($35), a backpack with school supplies for a child ($25), help a family start a business ($100) or fill up a whole stable ($1200).
  • Gift certificates especially for a clothing store or movie passes. These gifts are great for the younger recipients on your list.
  • Candles, decorative paper napkins, coffee.
  • Performance tickets – the show is enjoyed and – poof! – no clutter.
  • A gift certificate for maid/cleaning service for a day.
  • A music lesson for someone who always wanted to play the ______ (you fill in the instrument).

You get the idea. Now let your imagination have some fun and enjoy the shopping experience knowing that you are helping to keep clutter at bay in someone else’s life. As always, reduce your stress by shopping on line.

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