It’s no lie that Christmas has turned into a very stressful time of year for most people who celebrate it. The tradition of giving presents has become one of the biggest parts of the holiday season and as a result, puts a lot of people in financial hardship. This is usually due to the guilt of not being able to provide the magical Xmas so many of our children have come to expect. On top of that, there is the environmental impact of buying people a whole bunch on crap which they don’t need and will probably throw away. Thus creating a cycle of consuming for the sake of consuming, then disregarding it in landfills.
I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty addicted to shopping. It’s my heroin. When I’m stressed or sad I buy myself something and revel in the release of those sweet, sweet endorphins.I’m trying to make an effort to stop this behaviour. SO this year, my partner and I are doing a gift-free Christmas. This should be relatively easy for us, as it’s just us and we moved to the UK some 4 months ago so have no relatives here currently. Having a gift-free Xmas is something a lot of people cannot manage, understandably, so here are some ideas on making the last minute holiday gift giving a little better for the environment and your wallet!
1.Give an experience not a ‘thing’. If it’s someone close and you have a bigger budget take them somewhere. Get a stay-cation in a hotel you love, go to an event. If you’re on a tight budget – try a picnic with hand made food you prepared with love.
2. If you absolutely need to get them a ‘thing’ have you thought about hitting up the local opp shops/thrift stores? a) you save money b) you are helping a charity at Xmas time and c) you’re recycling!
3. Band together with some other people, for example, if the gift is for your Mum get your whole family to chip in and get her something that she REALLY wants that might be worth a bit. That way instead of a whole bunch of junk she’s getting that thing she’s wanted for ever and will treasure.
4. This one might not be for everyone, but do they have a charity they support? Or a cause they harp on about? for me, it’s animals. When ever I have money, I donate to animal charities like the SPCA . If someone sponsored an animal in my name I would be very happy!
5. Make something they can eat! If Christmas is about anything it’s about EATING. so use that excuses and make your gift-receiver something home made: some jam, biscuits, a dinner, a cake… ideas are endless! And chances are if they are an adult, they will cherish some home-made food that they probably haven’t had in a LONG time.