Crickey, if I see one more ad for “Gift ideas”, I’m going to scream. I understand it’s the season for giving and we all want to give our loved ones something nice, but the idea of scrolling through a list of random suggestions and buying a random gift just so you have something to hand over on the big day doesn’t sit well with me. These lists are created by advertisers with the sole purpose of selling you stuff, and usually stuff that neither your nor your loved ones actually need. I’m not a big fan of “stuff”, partly because I’m a very practical person and only buy things I need, and partly because my busy mind doesn’t like clutter, so the less “stuff” I have, the better. So, in the spirit of giving, here’s a list of alternative gift ideas that don’t cost much, don’t clutter your home and have some real meaning.
I know there are those who think gift vouchers are a lazy way out of gift-buying, but I think they’re a great idea. Maybe your gift recipient is saving for something expensive that your budget doesn’t stretch to, so getting them a voucher for the shop or website might help them on their way. If you know they’ve been stressed recently, treat them to a massage. Better still, make them a voucher for your own services. For example, if you’re a carpenter and you know they need shelves, make a voucher for “One shelving unit” or “A day of carpentry services”. If they’re struggling with their weekly shopping budget, get them a voucher for their preferred supermarket. It may not sound very glamourous, but you could be helping to keep food on the table, or enabling them to buy something a little “fancier” than usual for their Christmas celebrations.
I have a long tradition of giving food hampers. I never buy them – I buy all the individual components and box them myself. My mam used to have a big collection of wicker baskets that I would borrow (and later return!), but these days I use a cardboard box and just wrap it nicely. I buy items that I know the person will enjoy – an aged whiskey or a good wine and cheese that goes with it. I often make some of the components, like biscuits for the cheese or a homemade pâté. One year I made chocolate truffles with various coatings and put them in little gift boxes. The beauty of this gift is that you can control the budget, include items you know the person likes, and there is no “stuff” left hanging around after Christmas!
Apart from homemade food items, there are lots of other things you can make yourself. If you knit, maybe make a hat or gloves. They don’t have to be perfect – the person will love the gesture. A while back, a friend who’s good at woodwork made me a hollow tray for my laptop. I use my laptop on my knees all the time, so I absolutely love this tray. If you’re into aromatherapy, you could mix up a set of bath oils, body scrubs or creams to suit your friend’s personal needs. If you have good craft skills, make them a Christmas wreath for their door. If you’re arty, paint them a picture. Or put together a book or calendar with a selection of personal photos. Use your skills to create a truly unique and meaningful gift.
This list is far from extensive, but really just intended to get you thinking about meaningful gifts and encourage you to buy less “stuff”. I hope you find it useful!
Disclosure: This is absolutely not a sponsored post. I have provided some links just to save you having to look for recipes or items yourself, but they are not endorsements of any particular website or brand. They are not affiliate links.