Gifts That Take Up No Space

My family doesn’t need any gifts of things take up more space. Does yours? We don’t need more marbles or marble runs (the things that my son plays with constantly). We don’t need more games. I don’t need more kitchen stuff. My husband probably doesn’t need more CDs. I often try to think of gifts for others that take up little to no space because I know that others are also facing the “we already have so much stuff” dilemma, too. So, here’s a quick list of things that take up little to NO space to consider as gifts for December holidays and beyond.

pexels-photo-533604.jpeg (6000×4000)

Theater/Performing Arts Tickets

Just got off the website for a local theater company in Annapolis, MD. I don’t live there, but my brother and his family do. They are going to It’s A Wonderful Life Live Radio Play for Christmas this year because I just ordered them tickets. (This will NOT ruin the surprise. They know as I had to ask them if they were available! And they will have attended by the time this publishes.)

We had planned ahead last summer and purchased 2 sets of tickets for out family for winter and spring Children’s Theater of Madison that we will give our son for Christmas.

Local Madison Theater/Arts companies to consider (please be respectful of minimum age recommendations for performances):
Madison Ballet
Children’s Theater of Madison
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

There are also SO many smaller performing arts organizations that you could consider. Community theater, dance troupes, and music organizations help make the great Madison community vibrant.

Movie Theater Gift Card

There are often family movies that come out near December holidays. A Movie Theater gift card can be put to good use for both the movie and a treat or two at the movie.

Memberships to Local Attractions

Our son was gifted a Madison Children’s Museum membership one year for Christmas and another year we won an Aldo Leopold Nature Center membership. He enjoyed each outing we made immensely.
Local attractions with membership options:
Madison Children’s Museum
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Henry Vilas Zoo
UW Madison Arboretum
Cave of the Mounds

Charitable Donations Made in Gift Recipient’s Name

Some causes are close to your or the family you are getting a gift for’s heart.
I hesitate to suggest specific causes as each family has causes that they like to support. I do want to mention the Tis Best Charitable Giving Gift Card. You purchase a gift card and the recipent chooses from 300+ charitable organizations to use the gift card as a donation. You can schedule physical gift card, eGift cards, or print-at-home gifts cards to be sent.

Active Experiences

Make a creative gift card and plan to take the gift recipient for a day trip or a few hours trip. Pair it with ice cream or a trip to a special restaurant.
Laser Tag at Ultra Zone
Trampoline jumping at Sky Zone
Climbing at Boulder’s Climbing Gym
Ice Skating at many locations: Madison Ice Arena, Verona, Sun PrairieThe Shell, and more!
Roller Skating


Lessons/classes for something a child loves are a great gift. Make sure to arrange scheduling with parents.
Sport Interest
Martial Arts
Ice Skating
Horse Backriding

Edible Gifts

Humans seems to like food. I will never turn down a nice gift basket of homemade goods or a delivery of fresh fruit. Last year my in-laws sent us a food tower (specifically the Fruit Company 9 Box Tower from one of Costcto’s 12 days of Deals). There were nuts, pears, apples, small cookies, chocolates, and more. Most was tasty. While it took up temporary space, we did have to deal with all of the little gift boxes when we were done. Some got recycled and some got reused as packages for other presents.

There are many places that offer citrus gift boxes for December holidays. It is, after all, starting to be citrus season in California and Florida. Also, a gift certificate to a restaurant (while not edible itself) is thoughtful and usually appreciated.

Service Gifts

House cleaning gift certificate
Car detailing
Meal kit delivery (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, local to Madison: Shepherd’s Harvest, etc.)
Restaurant gift card

So, before you purchase a gift just stop and think a bit first. Ask a few questions first. Will it get used in a meaningful way? Does the recipient have room for it? Will they love it or will it just be another “thing” cluttering your recipient’s life?

The only gift from last Christmas that truly stumped us as to what to do with it was the nearly 1 lb candy cane my mother couldn’t resist giving my son. Mom, I love you, but no one (especially not an 8-year-old) needs such a large candy cane. No one. It’s still here and sitting on the top of the fridge. Who wants it?

Alecia Jacobson
Alecia is a native of Madison and loves that her children will be raised here too. She is a mama and stepmom (although she cringes at the label 'step') to six, yes six children! They range in ages from 3 months to 12 years, four girls and two boys. She considers herself crazy lucky to have a second chance at love and marriage with her husband Joe. Alecia is the owner and trainer of a local boutique gym. She spends her mornings training and her afternoons with her kids and on most days is the best of both worlds. She has a passion for women's health and uses her training as a way to go beneath the surface and help women and moms to embrace what is uncomfortable and be their best selves. Being able to witness women pushing their limits, setting and achieving goals is what fuels her fire. Women are capable of anything and getting a front row seat to their accomplishments is the best reward. She knows how important it is for moms to take care of themselves and makes it a priority to set aside time for herself. Every week she has a 'nonnegotiable' date with yoga and her other workouts. She has a love of racing and participates in local 5k's. Her children have taken on her love of running also. She coaches Girls on the Run and the boys Let Me Run program.


  1. Sounds like that candy cane is begging for some baking projects! Crush it and stuff it in a jar for hot chocolate flavoring and cookie decorating.
    Great local list – thank you!

  2. Great ideas! But you are right, Laura……I just couldn’t resist the candy cane????!! Love you tons. Hoping by now you just plain threw it away!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here