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Alternative Gift Ideas

ALTERNATIVE GIFT IDEAS

ISSUE 4 | FEATURE

If you’ve ever found yourself wandering aimlessly around the shops looking for a gift for a friend or relatives birthday, read on – we’re inspiring a change of thinking with gift giving…

STORY BY:

KAREN LOCKE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY:

INSIGHT CREATIVE

DESIGN & LAYOUT BY:

VERVE DESIGN

Shortly before Christmas, while doing a quick scan of my Facebook feed, I read a familiar quote that I hadn’t heard in some time, and it made me stop and think.

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” – Dr. Seuss.

Good old Dr. Seuss, he really is the absolute coolest, right?

So I clicked on the link to this article by Becoming Minimalist, an inspiring blog that I don’t read nearly often enough.

It talked about the copious amounts of money that Americans are tipped to spend during the festive season. But more importantly, it suggested we all take a step back and rethink our expectations when it comes to Christmas.

“Unfortunately, the entire holidays shopping craze is based on unhealthy foundations. It finds its roots in a society conditioned to act on impulse and solve problems with purchases. It is spurred on by corporations appealing to the aspects of us that are selfish and self-centred. And the short-sighted philosophy fuelling the excess is the belief we can find happiness in our purchases. But the premise is wrong….Happiness simply can not be purchased at a store.”

Anyone else thinking ‘YES!!!’??

And seriously, when you think of how you feel about Christmas and what it means to you, what do you come up with? Some of the positive things might be getting together with family and friends, taking a break from work, seeing the magic of Christmas in our children’s eyes, indulging in delicious food, etc. Some of the negatives might be the cost, the stress of the season with so much to do, and for me, definitely all the shopping! Manic carparks, overcrowded shops, and angry shoppers! So what about if we cut back on the negative stuff and ramp up the positives? Focus on the things that we look forward to at Christmas and try to minimise our spending and over consumption?

Now here we are in March and Christmas has come and gone. PHEW. But wait, there’s more. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Baby Showers….it seems the list of occasions where we are expected to purchase gifts is endless.

Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself wandering around the shops looking for a gift for a friend or relatives birthday but with no idea what to buy? You wander from shop to shop, and inevitably end up purchasing something that you really aren’t all that happy with but, in the interests of having a gift to give, it will just ‘have to do’. What’s the point to all this?

So perhaps we need to rewire our thinking when it comes to gift buying… not just at Christmas time, but for all occasions?

There are lots of options for ‘gifts’ that don’t involve spending much money. You can still express love and gratitude, and enjoy the act of giving without actually purchasing a ‘product’.

So here’s a few suggestions for gift alternatives from us…

Gift vouchers for your time

With so many of us time poor these days, why not give the gift of extra hours? Maybe a voucher for babysitting? Or a voucher for lawn mowing and gardening help?

Gift your skills

What skills do you posses that the receiver may need? Are you a hairdresser? A photographer? Do you sew? Love to cook or bake? Why not make up a voucher for your skills? Give a free haircut or hairstyle for a friend’s next night out, give cooking lessons, make a birthday cake for a friend’s child, or take some family photos.

Homemade treats

We love receiving homemade jams, biscuits, chutneys, infused oils and sweets. You can make all these things yourself with a little time and effort. Use recycled jars with handmade labels. Gifts like these are perfect for friends, family, work colleagues and even teachers. Alternatively you could make a recipe book filled with your best tried and tested favourite recipes.

Cooked meals

When I had my first child I remember receiving a lot of gifts. Every day for two weeks the Australia Post courier would knock on my door with at least one package containing a gift for the new baby. It was lovely to know that everyone was thinking of us, but unfortunately many of the items I never used or needed. Want to know what my favourite gift that I received was? A dear friend showed up one day with a huge homemade lasagne, a salad and a basket of banana and chocolate chip muffins. Simply the best gift ever for a new mum. So why not make up a meal that can be frozen and easily reheated. Just be sure to check for any allergies and make it healthy and suitable for a breastfeeding mama.

Homemade crafts

If you’re good at sewing, knitting or another craft, why not make something with your talent? A couple of years ago I decided to sew my kids and all their cousins and friends their very own initialed superhero capes for Christmas. Admittedly I started to question myself somewhere around cape #12, but when I see them playing with them almost 2 years on, I know it was worth it. I used recycled fabrics so it cost very little, and they will last a lifetime.

Green gifts

If you have a green thumb, plants are a beautiful and practical gift. They brighten up almost any space and most importantly, they clean the air inside our homes. Get creative and use recycled pots, planters or quirky vessels to make something unique.

Gift an experience

Rather than spending hours shopping for a gift for someone you love, try investing those hours in your relationship with one another. In today’s world, time is far more precious and valuable than anything you can buy in the shops. Come up with an enjoyable activity and spend the day with your loved one… go hiking, pack a picnic, visit an art gallery, the options are endless.

If you have any other ideas for gift alternatives, we’d love to hear them! Email us at hello@confettimag.com.au or pop a post on our Facebook page