A very popular post on the blog last year was a clutter-free gift guide, and that is why we decided to bring it to you again. The 2018 holiday gift guide edition brings you some new and old experiences and services in the area.

I love putting this guide together because, during the year, I see so many people struggling with clutter or even just finding space to store new things could be a battle.

gift ideas

Let’s remember that “less is more” and if you are here it is because you are looking for alternatives to conventional gifts. You probably are on the journey of decluttering your home and don’t want more stuff around or just want to gift your loved ones with meaningful experiences. These items won’t just make your holiday shopping easier but also be appreciated by anyone on your list.

Of course, there are good practical gifts {items that people really need}, that is not what I am talking about here today. I just want to get your attention to not spend your time and money shopping for “stuff” that is cute but will just take up space in someone’s house.

If you are in the process of creating a shopping or your own wish list, think of providing good memories and stories that everybody will remember for years to come. I have learned to enjoy gifts that don’t create clutter, don’t take valuable space in people’s lives and are useful. Following are some great ideas and some even greater options if you live in Baltimore, MD, and surrounding areas. Let’s get to it!


Give the kids an opportunity to try a new sport, a dance class, music lesson, etc. Here in Baltimore two good places to check out are the Baltimore School of Music  and Baltimore School of Dance 

Giving or receiving the gift of experiences is a great opportunity for women to pamper themselves and enjoy some “me time” with something that they have always wanted to do but never get to themselves. Great ideas are massages, pedicures, painting classes, etc. One class I would love to attend is a macrame workshop by Myth and Moss. She is great at what she does and her work is fabulous.  Another option would be a photoshoot! I have thought about doing this for a while. Moms love taking pictures of the kids but are not always in the pictures with them. 

If the men in your life enjoy sports you could give them tickets to watch a baseball game in the spring, a football or a college basketball game, etc. You could also give the experience to play a golf tournament, try a new sport, watch a concert, go to a play, etc. If I were you I would definitely check out Ultimate Water Sports and Form Jui Jitsu Academy


Baltimore has so many cool places to take the kids to. I love taking the kids to the Maryland ZooPort Discovery, National Aquarium, and the B&O Railroad. These are great membership options! They make a great gift especially for little kids (0-2 years old) that don’t really get all the concept of gifts. 

How about giving the woman in your life a dedicated “me time” by enjoying herself during a yoga, fitness class or something else that she really loves? Give them a monthly or yearly membership to a great studio or gym. Check out the Baltimore Bar Method, they even offer an online membership class.

There are many options for memberships out there that would make many people happy. For those who love doing activities outdoors, a great addition would be a Maryland State Park Passport. The Passport includes an unlimited day-use entry for up to 10 people in a vehicle to Maryland’s state parks; unlimited boat launching at ALL State Park facilities by displaying this pass on your dashboard; and a 10 percent discount on state-operated concession items and boat rentals.


Bedtime in a Box is a nonprofit based in Baltimore. There are 4 different age level starter boxes (infant, toddler, PreK, and Kindergarten), as well as booster boxes that provide families with a replenishment of materials between each age group. Since they are a nonprofit, they also provide bedtime boxes to parents at no cost to them, by working collaboratively through other programs working with families such as schools, head starts, and healthcare organizations.

This Holiday season why not give the gift of self. The best version of yourself that is. Optio is a matched and guided accountability platform designed to empower women to live their best, most inspired lives! Optio is a Baltimore based company and women-owned. They are offering a holiday special where you will receive an extra $50 off when using the promotional code “HolidayGiftBundle”.  If you’re interested in Optio, but not quite ready to take the plunge and commit to your own success – I encourage you to take this FREE TWO question personality quizIt just might blow your mind.

An electronic subscription to their favorite magazine or newspaper is great. Another idea is monthly subscription boxes. For men, the choices are shaving club, clothes, snacks, etc. Do you have a coffee lover on your list? How about a monthly subscription to Zeke’s Coffee? This is a family owned, small batch coffee roastery in the Baltimore area.


Support local business by giving the kids a gift certificate to their favorite Restaurant, Coffee Shop, or Dessert Place. If you follow us on Instagram, you might know that we love The Charmery and we are there almost on a regular basis. One other place, also in Hampden that caught my attention this year is Sweet Side Cafe. Their play area is wonderful!

A better work/life balance is what many moms/women look for. Having an organized home alleviates stress and you can focus your time and attention on what matters the most to you. Di is Organized offers a variety of services to achieve anybody’s home organization goals.  You can gift somebody with our gift certificates or put them on your wish list.

Gift certificates for car maintenance, detailing etc. Have you checked out Doctor Auto, at the Townson Mall? They have a variety of services you can choose from.


Even small kids understand that other people and animals need help. You can check with your child how they would like to “save the day”. I am pretty sure they will feel like they have superpowers of some kind. This year, for our giveback gift we will help BARCS, a local animal shelter. We chose them this year for two reasons. First, we want to support local causes. Second, we just adopted our little “puppy” from there. They are awesome!

Thinking of asking for a donation in your name to support a special cause? I have a special desire to help other women in need. A well-known charity that we like to help with donations is House of Ruth. You can make donations in the form of clothes and money as well.   

Following the same idea of helping other people in the area, Sharp Dressed Man is a non-profit organization that fits men in Baltimore with recycled suits to help them get back on their feet and live a better life.

That is all! We hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!

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  1. Hi Di, I love this thoughtful post! We’re trying to cut down on “stuff” at our house, and I know a lot of my friends and relatives are, too. Some really great gift ideas here!

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