As the weather heats up, possibly more than we’d wish it to, I’m wondering whether you’ve also had mixed feelings about gifting this festive season? I have to admit feeling conflicted over it for some years now.
In recent times, I’ve refined the criteria for what I buy myself and gift to others with a view to minimising impact on the planet - without being a complete Ebenezer Scrooge about it.
Here's the principles around buying that I try to stick to:
Gift Category 1 - THINGS (because sometimes we must)
Something that’s recyclable and/or compostable at end of life.
Clothes, bedding and homewares made from natural materials not only look and feel better, they’re better for the planet. Choose pieces you love and of high quality so that they will last for many years. When they are no longer useful, they can be donated or upcycled. If you can buy second-hand or upcycled, all the better.
Something that helps someone reduce waste
Helping others to reduce their consumption of single use plastic is always a good thing.
Useful and built to last - Buy Me Once philosophy
There are some things we all need. Like frying pans, food containers and coffee cups. An interesting company that focuses on selling products that last a lifetime has summarised 16 items that can be purchased once instead repeatedly. You get the idea.
I can’t go past the Winterwares ceramics for beauty, durability and usefulness. I’ll be stocking up on these for gifts this year (and secretly hoping I might receive my favourite piece - ie this one, dear family members).
Made by you
Some of the most treasured gifts I’ve received over the years were made by the giftee. Examples are home-made fruit cake, fruit mince pies, shortbreads, candles and I even received some home made beeswax food wraps one time (wonderfully made from upcycled fabric and still in use after many years). I love receiving things that are edible and useful, and if someone has taken the time to make them specially, then they’re all that more special.
Or if you’re short on time, simply gift a plant (maybe one you’ve grown yourself) and pot it in a timeless terracotta pot.
Seek out a pre-loved treasure
As a sworn devotee of op shops and flea markets, I consider nothing more exciting than coming upon a special something - discovering a beautiful bowl, teacup or piece of coloured glass can give me goosebumps. The serendipitous nature of the find makes it all the more pleasurable.
CATEGORY 2 - Not a ‘THING’ as such
Ethical gift card
Here I’m talking about altruistic gifts that help the climate or people living in poverty.
eg The classic Oxfam Unwrapped program that purchases gifts for people living in poverty.
or Carbon Neutral who plant trees in a biodiversity corridor in Western Australia (we buy our trees from them) who now sell e-Gift Cards that buy trees or carbon offsets.
Support the arts - gifting tickets to a live show or exhibition helps our increasingly strained arts community, and live performance is always so exhilarating.
Lessons in something - cooking, dancing, drawing, yoga, boxing, surfing.
However you choose to spend your festive dollar, I hope it helps to express the love and joy you feel from your loved ones, which after all, is the point of it.