Consider the money you spend and the money others spend on you—all for stuff that defeats the purpose of your minimalism efforts over the last 12 months!

Then consider the energy and materials required to manufacture the stuff, the bags you take it all home in, the paper, packaging and bows you dress it up in and the likelihood it will end up in the landfill within the year. It’s time to stop the madness!

Don’t let the stressful traditions detract from the ones that really make the season enjoyable. Making memories and sharing meals with loved ones, giving your time or financial support to those in need, relaxing at home for some much-needed self care. Let these traditions guide you in the spirit of gift giving as well.

This year, commit to giving presents that will be useful, meaningful and appreciated. There are many (so many!) options for Yukoners to consider if you just think a little creatively. Here are a few ways to cut down on clutter this Christmas:

Gift memories: the Yukon is a year-round tourist destination for a reason! Look into tickets and passes that Yukoners can use to be a tourist in their own town. Museums, sporting facilities, performances; these give more than one way, as you are gifting an experience while supporting your local community. You can even find places like the Yukon Wildlife Preserve that offers an annual pass, so your recipient can use it over and over throughout the year.

Gift your time: There are dozens and dozens of Yukon organizations that need your help. You might be an individual seeking that feel-good effect of volunteering, or you can make it a workplace or family tradition to give back. Visit www.volunteeryukon.ca to see how you can get involved. Another way to give your time that will be immensely valued is offering childcare for a harried parent, or checking with our care facilities to see if there are good times to visit with residents.

Gift your skills: kids love to make coupon books offering help with chores, but bartering is a terrific way for adults to acquire things as gifts for others too. Think of what you have to offer and see if you can make a trade with someone, bearing in mind that your offering needs to equal what you seek. Although it’s the season of giving, don’t expect professionals to swap original artwork, healthcare services and the like for a batch of cookies.

Donate: the more thought you put into this, the more it will be appreciated. Personalize a donation in someone’s name by carefully choosing an organization that does work that is close to the recipient’s heart. Many charities offer tax receipts for certain amounts, which works as a little gift back to you as well.

’Tis the season of giving and receiving, and the busiest time of year for the majority of Yukon’s fabulous small and medium businesses. Consider shopping locally for the essentials. Trying out the strategies above when you’re stuck on the rest of your list should save you time you can use to actually enjoy yourself this December.