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Give Them A Three-Toed Sloth And Four Other Gifts That Aren’t Things

Skip the gift card and opt for something that’s a little more thoughtful.

Megan Baldwin · 11 months ago

Thanks for checking out our product recommendations! Just a heads-up, Camp may make some money if you shop from any of the external links on this page. Pricing and availability may have changed since this page was published.

Introduction: Presents, we love them, but as much as we’re all about the boatload of boxes under the tree, at this eleventh gift-shopping hour, the pickings have gotten a little slim. So we’ve put together a few low-footprint gift suggestions that are more thoughtful than a simple gift card. We’re definitely not suggesting you completely skip presents! Rather, we want to encourage you and your family to use this list of gifts that aren’t things as a jumping off point for a creative brainstorm about how to turn nothing into something worth giving.

Personalized Monthly Playlist


ljubaphoto / Getty Images

Streaming platforms like Spotify make it easy to curate a personalized playlist for the music lover on your list. Make it a monthly commitment, so it feels a little more meaningful. Not sure where to start? Think about topics that your recipient loves, like mountains or trucks, and choose songs suited to their specific interests.

Motivational Text Messages Written by Kids

Alistair Berg / Getty Images

Alistair Berg / Getty Images

Because 2020, we could all use a little extra encouragement. Have your kids author 30 uplifting text messages for someone special. Use an app like Scheduled to pre-program the month of text messages. We love this as a gift idea for a grandparent or relative that lives alone. 

Make Your Own MasterClass

Make Your Own MasterClass


Remote learning platforms like Coursera and MasterClass are surging as people scramble to fill free time with new skills and smarts. Get inspired by the bite-sized video lessons and have your family create your very own MasterClass. Choose a topic, like “Texting for Boomers,” and turn it into a quick tutorial that will make someone you know smile and maybe learn a thing or two (emoji usage included).

"Adopt" Them a Sloth


Juan Pablo Rojas Parra / Getty Images

Perfect for the animal-lover in your life. The World Wildlife Fund lets you symbolically adopt endangered animals like sloths, kangaroos, snow leopards, even a blue footed booby. Each adoption supports the WWF’s efforts to save these endangered creatures around the globe. Plus, you’ll get a cool stuffed animal and special adoption certificate.

A New Hobby


Tim Robberts / Getty Images

We all have a little more free time on our hands, so having a smorgasbord of hobbies feels super-important. Support someone’s curiosity and sanity with an unexpected lesson. Check out sites like Craftsy for paid crafting lessons in things like quilting, knitting, and cooking. And for the musically inclined (or not) person in your life, Fender hosts virtual guitar lessons. If cost is a barrier, or even if it’s not, odds are someone in your universe has supplies to give away. Keep an eye on your local Buy Nothing page to see if anyone has hobby-stuff to give away.