Giving Thoughtful Gifts

Socks! Again! Why you shouldn’t have!

Christmas is a time of giving and loving but unfortunately the giving and loving can sometimes be a little misguided, especially when it comes to gifts. We have all had those moments where we open a neatly wrapped gift only to find out what’s inside is totally repulsive, an anti climax gift, or worst still, completely confusing. Which more often that not results in a case of ‘present face’ (see video above for examples). It is reported that Australians spend $789 million dollars each year on unwanted Christmas presents.  To put this figure in perspective, if we stopped buying unwanted electronic eye massage masks  for our loved ones we could collectively treat over 315 million people with antimalarials drugs.  Not only is this a much better use of our money, it also diverts unwanted gifts away from charity stores who get inundated with ‘stuff’ post christmas and diverts unwanted gifts from ended up in landfill.

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Give Gifts that People Want to Avoid Present Face!

It’s odd that in 2015 there is still a bit of a taboo around asking people exactly what they want for Christmas. Many of us don’t even feel that we can answer this question honestly ether because we feel rude telling people what we want, or we really don’t want anything but know that people will just think we are being polite when we say this. When we were children we would spend weeks working out what would be on our Christmas wish list. Sadly the older we get the less likely we are to be clear and direct with our wishes. This is often due to the fact we can pretty much buy anything we like now and have it delivered to our door. Christmas can be any day we want it to be all-year-round! How can we tackle this problem? Honesty and communication should work best. Why not sit down with family members (or if this isn’t possible use technology to collectively communicate) and discuss a gift giving strategy. You could ask each person to write down what they want for christmas and then delegate gift ideas based on individual budgets. Alternatively you could do a ‘secret santa’ and draw a persons name out of a hat along with a wish-list of items they might like. Buying for one person and one person only means you can buy a better quality present (like the beautiful bag from Mitla Moda pictured above) as you aren’t spreading your dollars so thin across many recipients.

 

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Sticky Gifting Situation?

There will always be times when you have to give a gift without much clue as to what the person might want. When you are in a situation like this it is best to shop for gifts that keep on giving. While an electronic eye massager might be a gift that keeps on giving for the odd few who like an eye massage, most people won’t fit into this category. You could purchase and item of everyday use that isn’t too personal. Things like wine, chocolates, and condiments might seems very impersonal but at least the recipients can use them or easily pass them on to someone else who will use them. Avoid ‘token’ gifts like candles, trinkets, ornaments etc. as these are very much items that are selected our of personal taste. You might think a ceramic pig with wings is adorable but your friend might not and it will end up at a charity store or in the bin and you will have wasted your time and money. If your friends have a sense of humour or quirky tastes you can opt to give gifts that are useful but a little left field like a box of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper with Christmas Wrapping.

Gifts That Keep Giving.

When someone says ‘I don’t want anything for Christmas this year’ take it literally and don’t buy them a thing. If you can’t bring yourself to do this by now buy a gift that keeps giving. Most charities will offer holiday gifting programs where you can donate money on behalf of the recipient and gift them a card to let them know about your thoughtful decision. Try to avoid any charity offers of trinkets like pens, rubber wrist bracelets, pins or other promotional goodies because there is a good chance the person you are buying for won’t want this item cluttering their house. One of my favourite places to shop for charity gifts is OXFAM Unwrapped where you can buy your buy your boss a pile of manure for $15 (that helps people grow crops in developing countries), some straight talk for your surly teenager (empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman in the process) or a  deep and meaningful gift of a well for your partner (nothing says I love you more than buying someone a well in Sri Lanka that will provide water to a whole village) . This is just one example of the many. Google a charity that fits with your values or the values of the recipient and donate today!

Is there a charity that you prefer to support at gift giving times? Perhaps your family has an alternate approach to gifting? Give us all the details below.

 

 

Author: Katie

Katie Roberts is a self confessed 'write-a-holic' Environmental Scientist with a passion for Sustainable Fashion.

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