This year, give gifts that won’t create clutter

LCM Lifestyle author Laura Carson Miller shares her philosophy for selecting thoughtful presents
Laura Carson Miller
Photograph by Tim Redman

A few years ago I boldly announced to my family and friends that when they gave me gifts, I’d prefer things that weren’t going to stick around for the duration—in other words, things that could be used up, recycled, or repurposed. I also said that I’d be giving such gifts myself whenever possible. My proclamation went over better with some than with others. Go figure.

People who are in declutter mode (raises hand) or downsizing to smaller living quarters will savor presents that can be enjoyed and then lovingly released. Certainly this won’t be appropriate for every situation, but it’s a good rule of thumb that benefits many of us, not to mention the environment. Here are a few of my favorite sources for such welcome gifts.

Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts
Photograph by Tim Redman

Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts
Long known for elegant floral containers, this Buckhead gift shop has a large selection of potted orchids. Orchids thrive with very little care, and live plants clean the air and add life to a dull office. Place the orchid, a box of fertilizer, and a luxe watering vessel into a reusable basket.

Sugarboo & Co.
Photograph by Tim Redman

Sugarboo & Co.
With locations in Brookhaven and Cumming, Sugarboo offers a clever assortment of unique notes, both blank and with inspiring messages. No need to write a novel—a short note speaks volumes. Select a little bottle like those at left and pick a sentiment to stuff inside.

Williams-Sonoma
Photograph courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma
Everyone with a kitchen needs dish towels (the store’s linens look great wash after wash), and even if your friends eat only takeout, they will appreciate chic salt and pepper shakers. Pair a sturdy loaf pan with quick bread mix. Or present drinking glasses as flower vases, vessels for votive candles, or planters of succulents.

Nadeau
Photograph by Tim Redman

Nadeau
This shop carries hand-painted trays, pillows, and other whimsical accessories—in addition to its signature affordable, colorful furniture. Invite friends to an annual accessory swap to give such objects multiple lives.

Cacao
Photograph by Tim Redman

Cacao
Who doesn’t like chocolate? Not only are the treats at this locally owned confectioner delicious, the packaging is rock star level! I recommend Salame di Cioccolato or sipping chocolate. Brew a shot of espresso, froth up some milk, and add sipping chocolate for a spectacular mocha.

Ona
Photograph by Tim Redman

Ona
Owner Jenny Bronczek stocks this inviting store at the Shops Around Lenox with a wide selection of gifts, candles, and spa products, including natural and organic options. It is my go-to for baby gifts. I like to give Noodle & Boo bath products (the bottles are recyclable) and baby booties from the Bearington Baby Collection.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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