Thursday, December 10, 2009

My two cents worth on Christmas gifts

Well I know I'm probably not the only one who has just realised that Christmas is really rather soon and that it would probably be wise to start thinking about gifts!
When I took up my pledge to not buy any new things, I knew that Christmas time was going to pose a challenge. I love giving people presents - its fun, and, if the gift is well thought out and meaningful to the recipient, its a great way of showing someone that you care about them. However Christmas shopping doesn't usually equal fun and warm fuzzies, it equals stress! - and a vague feeling of disquiet about the Christmas consumer frenzy all just having got a bit out of hand. And the thing is that while it may seem oh-so-very-moral-highground to not give people anything for Christmas other than a breezy comment that you've donated to a charity in their name...most people want something to open! So I've given a bit of thought to ways in which we can give the people we love gifts at Christmas time, without generating yet more unwanted junk that costs the planet, clutters the house, and will probably be destined for landfill in the not too distant future....

Mumarandom's thoughts on gifts:
* My favourite way to buy a gift is from a not-for-profit organisation such as Unicef, Amnesty International or Oxfam. If you check out their online catalogues you'll usually find a really interesting range of stuff, often including environmentally friendly/recycled products. And the added bonus is that you get that warm glow from knowing that your cash has gone to good cause - the gift that gives twice, so to speak. Oxfam and Unicef in particular have great stuff for kids.
* Someone very wise once said that everything in the home should be either beautiful or functional, preferably both. I think this is a good rule of thumb for gifts too. Nothing worse than being given an ugly knick knack!
* Why not pool your funds with other family members so that you can get someone one bigger and better gift between all of you? For a friend's 21st birthday I once invited all of the party guests to contribute to buying the party boy a set of golf clubs. Who knows if he still uses them, but it sure beat 50 cocktail shakers!
* Why not make your own? Even if you're not a creative genius, at the end of the day, its the thought that counts, right?? - well, I guess that depends on the recipient! I've been knitting a scarf for a particular relative for about 6 months now - no, I'm not crazily organised with my Christmas presents, it was meant to be for her birthday last June! Due to the fact I got a little overly enthusiastic at the beginning with the width of the scarf, and the recipient is quite tall (and therefore the scarf needs to be very long) its still not finished. I guess it seems a bit odd to give someone a woollen scarf in the middle of summer, so perhaps it'll have to keep til her next birthday. Hmmmm.
* I think houseplants make great presents. I've received a few potted cyclamens over the last couple of years which are really pretty, and just keep going on and on producing gorgeous blooms. These probably weren't that much more expensive than a bunch of cut flowers, but they've lasted a whole heap longer.
* A nice box of fairtrade chocolates usually goes down a treat. Oxfam stock a nice range of these.

By the way, I've had a few emails over the last week or so from people telling me that they're reading my blog and enjoying it. Thank you all, this means a lot - feels a bit bare and lonely sending messages off into the electronic ether without any feedback - or even knowing if anyone is reading it at all! What would REALLY float my boat is if you left a comment, and hey, if you like my blog, why not become a follower?

P.S. is anyone else just a bit excited that we've just launched our very own first Australian made hybrid car?? see link below to see the full ABC news story


  1. hey asha, i left a comment when i first visited your site (being a fellow blogger i know what a buzz it is to receive a comment and know which random people are reading your random thoughts), but somehow the comment didn't come up...did u receive it?

    anyway, i'm very inspired and hope to take a bit of your lead!!

    xo grace

  2. Today I found 100% recycled gift-wrapping paper (by Austpaper) in my local newsagent. Plain sandy-coloured (ripe for creative packaging) and much more affordable than the patterned stuff I saw in Greenstore yesterday ($2 for 2 sheets of 110 x 76cm vs $5 per single smaller sheet). Brilliant!