Deck The Halls With Boughs of (homegrown) Holly

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Christmas is the time for peace, love, understanding and giving gifts. There must be a hundred or more gift guides out there, Pour Homme, pour Femme, Pour La Bebe, encouraging you to consume, albeit on behalf of others. So how does one navigate the treacherous waters of The Present in an ethically and environmentally friendly manner?

# Oxfam Unwrapped is particularly popular on this front. Instead of buying your mum another waffle iron, buy her the gift of giving…as it were. In light of information such as this here article, I would definitely plump for the education aspect of these ethical gifts. Goats are VERY popular, but third world countries tend to need less animals using up the resources which humans could use and more education so they can, well, do more than subsistence farming.

# Buy someone a penguin. Also known as adopting an animal. I want a penguin! Or a panda! You get a cuddly toy and also, if you ever save up the cash to fly to the Antarctic and find your penguin, who’s to stop you taking him home? NO-ONE, that’s who.

# DIY presents. We all want to get people something they’re going to love, cherish, use and appreciate. Making someone a present is the best way to tailor it to their exact needs while also avoiding the Christmas crush and panic buying mini Bonsai gardens. (Okay, cute, but does anyone really do them?) Sew up a cushion for the friend with constant back pain, create a Robert Pattinson collage for the Twilight obsessed, write a Doctor Who fanfic starring your BFF, make blueberry, coconut and starfruit cupcakes for your friend with no sense of smell, knock up some juggling balls or poi for any attention seekers you might know… Kim has a great post with more DIY ideas.


# Support small local businesses, friends or bloggers with business aspirations. You get to choose who the money goes to, and pick up something unique and creative! Sarah Von has her calendar, Gala Darling has that podcast and OH, I don’t use Etsy much myself (because I try to avoid spending money as much as possible) but, it’s Christmas. If you’re not going to handmake gifts, let someone else!

# Give the gifts of action…
Got skillz? Gift them! Green fingers? Story weaver? Knack for re-wiring? Master juggler? Cue up your skills with your family and friends’ needs; an I O U for three hours of weeding might just make your grandparents’ year!

Pick any random, mind-numbing task and free someone else of it. Babysit for your neigbours so they can catch that movie; finish your mum’s filing so she can hit up the zoo; put your lazy friend’s bookcase together so they can get back to watching Lost; do your cousins simultaneous equations so she can party…

#…and/or experience.
Gig, stand-up, film, London Dungeons. What word can be added to these to make an awesome gift? …Tickets! For further awesomeness, pick somewhere to go or someone to see that you wouldn’t normally consider…
+ # Make Save the Date slips for your friends, then hold a Cupcake Extravaganza/ take them down the river on a dinghy/tell them to show up at a pub which just happens to be having a kareoke night…

# If you absolutely must buy something, then make sure it is something the recipient will love and use and appreciate and cherish forever. I don’t buy clothes anymore, but last year my cousin bought me a purple and black checked jumper which, well, I’m wearing it now. Long lasting, life-enriching presents means no quick turnover of goods. Other items in this category include books and music which open people up to new experiences, particularly if they’re less well known authors or musicians or on vinyl (regifting cds and books is acceptable too); items from charity shop Christmas ranges and products from ethical companies. I bought my Grandma a book of which the proceeds go to a dyslexia charity and the London library. Win?

I would prefer to give and receive nothing rather than purchase something I know will just be a token ‘here, it’s Christmas’ present (and, in fact, didn’t get my Dad anything for his 50th birthday earlier this year because he doesn’t need anything!) and there is always the option of deferring presents until something is needed. An I O U one Christmas present could come in incredibly handy during March when all you got for Christmas were scarves and no matter how you plait them together, they just don’t keep you dry in the rain…

What are your non-consumer tips for the Christmas crush?



3 responses to “Deck The Halls With Boughs of (homegrown) Holly

  1. my consumer tip is; CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME! Mwahahaaa!

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