Last month, we invited you to join us in celebrating the 2nd Annual Gift of Nothing Day, a holiday that’s inspired by Patrick McDonnell’s book The Gift of Nothing and recognized on or around December 15.

On this special day, or on any day in mid-December that works for you, we encourage you to create a gift filled with “nothing” for a friend or family member!

How does it work? Decorate a box, then fill it with a from-the-heart gift like a note or a sentimental photograph. You can even blow a kiss into the package or leave it completely “empty.” Then, present your creation on your favorite gift-giving holiday. The goal is to share the gift of yourself with a loved one.

The Gift of Nothing Day is fun for people of all ages, and because of its sentimental message, it’s especially popular with parents and educators who want to teach children about the value of giving from the heart. Plus, there are lots of other creative ways to celebrate the Gift of Nothing Day, in addition to creating gifts! Here are a just a few ideas to help you and your family get inspired:

  • Bake yummy Gift of Nothing goodies. As a family, make a batch of your favorite holiday cookies. Shape them into squares and use icing and sprinkles to decorate them like holiday gifts. Then, if anyone asks what they’re made with, say they’re “filled with love!”
  • Fill a jar with messages of “nothing.” Get a mason jar. Cut colorful pieces of paper into strips. Ask each member of your family to write down things or experiences that feel like special gifts but cost nothing. (Examples can include “hugs,” “reading bedtime stories together,” “playing catch,” and so on.) Do this every day for a set period of time — for one week, for the twelve days leading up to Christmas, etc. Then, on a special day when you’re all together, take the strips of paper out of the jar and take turns reading them aloud (while sharing memories associated with each response).
  • Create posters to honor other gifts of “nothing.” On a blank piece of construction paper or poster board, draw a large, square holiday gift. Decorate it with words or images representing kind things other people have done for you. Gifts of kindness from others could include: “Our neighbor helped us plant a garden,” “Our dog Max gives me kisses when I’m feeling sad,” or “My math teacher helped me learn about fractions.” When your masterpiece is complete, you can hang it near your other holiday decorations to remind yourself of the many gifts you’ve already received.

Want to share your special moments with others around the world? Use the hashtag #TheGiftOfNothingDay so we can keep up with your images and posts! We might even feature your activities on our blog or social accounts.

Have other ideas you’d like to share? Planning to celebrate The Gift of Nothing Day with your loved ones? Email us at We’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.

Comments (1)

Last year I gave a very dear friend, whose birthday is in early December, the Gift of Nothing Book. (He had brought Mutts into my life.) He said it was the best gift he had gotten in years. This year he is having “A Mutts December”. Featuring Shtinky whom I love. He is recovering from a very serious car accident and we share Mutts daily to keep the fire warm and the feeling better, better. Not everyone understands the Gift of Nothing. Those who do – understand just about everything. My friend is this person.

Chloe Ross/Voolavex