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Hack Black Friday with no-clutter gifts

I don't follow the crowd on Black Friday. Photo credit: Flickr/Craig Dugas

This post is #1 of a four-part series sponsored by Dell. See my other posts, and posts from other Babble Voices authors, at the Dell Family Tech page.

Let’s talk some Black Friday smack, shall we?

I’m as much of a deal-lover as the next guy, and I’m all for reducing the cost of holiday shopping. But Black Friday? Meh. Unless it’s a tongue-in-cheek part of your family’s holiday tradition, the whole thing strikes me as a blatant counterpoint to the spirit of Thanksgiving.

What can I say? I’m the world’s grumpiest shopper with an over-analytical, self-righteous streak and access to blogging software. I OWN IT.

Assuming you don’t have 4 XBoxes, 2 microwave ovens, and 10 Snuggies on your gift list, here’s my subversive recommendation on Black Friday: stay home. Even better, swap out some of the gadgets and goodies on your list for no-clutter gifts.

Every gift pictured here can be made or purchased at home. You may even be able to cash in on Black Friday discounts online. (Online shopping + holidays = good.) Even more online discounts will abound at your favorite shopping spots on Monday — now, ominously referred to as CYBER MONDAY which, to me, sounds like the day The Evil Robot Apocalypse begins.

But whatever. The point is these gifts allow you to avoid the crowds, reduce the clutter, reign in your spending and lower your stress. Most importantly, they will delight your gift-ees. Consider one or all for your loved ones this holiday season.

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  • A handwritten letter or card 1 of 6
    A handwritten letter or card
    This is my #1. The simple, heartfelt, handwritten letter. All you need is your favorite stationery, your best pen, your love and appreciation for the recipient, and some time to express it.
    Photo credit: Flickr/Liz West
  • Tickets to an event or an attraction 2 of 6
    Tickets to an event or an attraction
    Between tight schedules and tight budgets, it's easy to forego the joys of live music or theater, or to skip the local attractions you've always meant to visit. Solve that problem for your loved ones with a gift of admission tickets. Photo credit: Flickr/Julian Frost
  • Your kid’s art 3 of 6
    Your kid's art
    A hack within a hack. Your friend gets a beautiful, handmade gift and you get to declutter. My favorite gift: cut art into strips or rectangles and paste onto blank, white notecards. Bundle ten cards and envelopes together with a ribbon, and you've got a beautiful present. Photo credit: Flickr/Woodley Wonderworks
  • A massage, spa treatment, or some other treat your giftee would never buy her- or himself 4 of 6
    A massage, spa treatment, or some other treat your giftee would never buy her- or himself
    A classic gift that never gets old. The pampering feels nice, but the lasting gift is an hour or two of self-care. Photo credit: Flickr/Thomas Wanhoff
  • A homemade meal 5 of 6
    A homemade meal
    Never underestimate the gift potential of a homemade meal. My birthday gift from my husband this year was a dinner party in which I did no table setting, grocery shopping, cooking, or cleanup. I felt so loved...it was the best gift ever. Photo credit: Flickr/Lauren Michell
  • A donation in your giftee’s honor 6 of 6
    A donation in your giftee's honor
    Most of us already have more than we could ever need or use. How about focusing on the giving instead of the gift? There are so many ways to change lives for only a few dollars. Pictured here: a child drinks clean water thanks to donations collected by Charity Water. Photo credit: Flickr/Sacca

Are you a Black Friday fan or foe? What are your favorite no-clutter gifts?

Another simple way to reduce the cost of holiday gifting is to buy fewer gifts. At Parent Hacks, we recently talked about why and how to shorten the gift list.

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