Tis the season to be Eco
There is no avoiding the holiday rush this time of year! The stores are abuzz with last minute gift shoppers, the car parks are full of angry drivers fighting over the closest car space, and grocery stores are packed to the rafters with Christmas treats and consumers. With all the flurry and stress you can be forgiven for prioritising your sanity and leaving your gift shopping to the last minute. Procrastination about gift shopping can actually work in favour of your bank balance and the planet. These are some last minute gift ideas that are thoughtful and won’t create clutter.
Gifts for Kids
We all know that kiddies are some of the most festive souls. Once Santa has delivered the wish-list goodies, Uncles and Aunts, Grandparents and friends of the family can struggle to find something to contribute that’s not going to be a token disposable plastic gift that will lose it’s novelty after the holiday break. These ideas should be well received and won’t be cluttering up the house or landfill as the decorations are packed away in the New Year.
- Theme Park Passes: These days out can be really fun for the whole family, they create memories and wear kids (and adults) out pretty decently! Many theme parks offer special deals this time of year with ‘multi park’,’multi entry’, or ‘Year’ passes. Beware- don’t offer passes to parks without checking with the family members first. Some parent’s don’t love the idea of their kids on rollercoasters and often a gift of an aquarium or zoo pass won’t go down well with a Vegan family.
- Cooking lessons: Have a look online for kids cooking schools near you. These can be fun ways to teach kids some of the essential skills they will need to develop to be independent and healthy.
- A herb or veggie garden: If you live nearby the gift recipient why not head to the nursery or farmers markets and pot up some kid friendly herbs or spices and gift them a living present that will reward them later. If they plants die they can always repot something else later.
- Active adventure vouchers: Most places have jumped aboard the ‘adventure’ boom and offer activities like mountain bike riding, indoor rock climbing, trampolining, kayaking, fishing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, skateboarding and more! Search what’s available in the gift recipients area and book a time for adventure or purchase a voucher for them to redeem at a later date.
When it comes to those nearest and dearest to us, Christmas shopping is usually one of two scenarios. Scenario one: you bought the present months ago and find them really easy to shop for. Scenario two: you regularly forget and/or put off shopping for them because it’s too hard. Whatever the case these tips can be add ons to presents you already have, or the perfect solution for those hard-to-gift people we know too well.
- A promise: Can you think of one thing your partner is ALWAYS asking you to do, stop doing, change, replace, etc? We all have our annoying habits! If your partner has requested that you pick up your shoes off the floor instead of leaving them in the middle (ahem…. I may or may not be the offender of this specific scenario) why not gift your partner the promise of this, and cement it with a official token. My example could be a new shoe rack with all the shoes neatly stacked on it!
- Quality time: At Christmas it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. While we run around trying to schedule in all the events, parties, and planning we sometimes overlook our romantic partners in the quest of ‘having a happy holidays’. Skip the grocery shopping and order online. Forget the christmas present shopping list and invent some ideas from here instead. Spend the time you regain doing something you both enjoy instead.
- Fine Dining at home: We all know that having our needs catered for and our faces stuffed with food out of the house is fun. But if you can’t afford to gift fine dining why not gift the opportunity to dine at home! Set up your own restaurant and cook for your partner at a time of their choosing. Add music, lighting, and set the scene.
- Book a Glamping get away: When Christmas is all done why not whisk your partner away for a night of fancy camping? Most areas offer a ‘Glamping’ (which is glam camping) option and this means all the fun of being on a camping trip without having to buy and lug the gear. Honestly… unless you are serious campers there isn’t much need to own all that camping stuff. Hire is the fun and non-house-cluttering way to go.
- Movie vouchers or a Netflix subscription: Got a partner who’s a movie buff? Why not indulge their film loving ways with a movie voucher? Netflix is also a great option for those who like a good documentary or TV series.
- Gym, yoga, or fitness memberships for both of you: If you like to spend quality time together and wish to have a fit and healthy year why not (talk about it first- it could come across as rude to just spring a gym voucher on your partner) sign up to sweat and/or stretch together in the New Year.
- Money box for joint dream holiday savings: Unless you can already afford to book the dream holiday (if you can that’s a great gift) purchase a nice money box or set up a savings account and deposit the first amount to go towards a dream holiday.
Got someone in your life with young kids or over scheduled teens? These ideas will be well appreciated and won’t blow the budget. Far better than gifting socks or a block of chocolate (what a snooze-fest).
- A Date Night Voucher: Offer to pay for a sitter or look after the kids yourself while busy parents can have a romantic night in, or shout them a dinner out!
- School pick up: Why not play Uber for the family and offer your pick up and drop off services for a period of time. I’m sure most parents would welcome a day, two days or a week of not having to ferry their kids around to and from sporting practice and school.
- Pamper pack and a sitter: New mum and dad? Why not book one or both in for a massage and organise someone to watch the baby.
- Frozen dinner for a week: Are you a bit of a cook? Create a weeks worth of dinners, freeze them, and then drop them off at your friends with thawing and cooking instructions. These will never go astray.
- Homemade air freshener: Kids can get a bit stinky and having limited cleaning time can make things even smellier. Why not concoct your own air freshener spray (this recipe works for an air freshener- I use it in my bathroom, just scale up qualities for a larger bottle) for parents with babies and give it a cute, funny or catchy label- (we all know new parents love a good poo joke).
- Cleaning, folding, dish washing or ironing: All of us love coming home to a clean house and wish that there were magic fairies that did the cleaning for us. Be that magic fairy for a busy family and they will be thinking all their Christmases came at once!
Who can forget those days where fun was on tap but funds were almost entirely lacking? Uni is tough business for most kids and usually means scrimping on sleep to make ends meet, or eating nothing but ramen for three years in order to get to class on time. This group of gift recipients are likely to be the most appreciative of ANY kind of things you have to offer!
- Grocery voucher: Boring for most of us, but the most exciting thing you could offer a uni student whose doing it tough
- Pj’s or a voucher to an ethical sleep wear company: For the uni students that work hard to fund their studies and need something comfy to sleep in and/or wear to exams.
- Money for text books: Come end of January any student would be super happy to have any amount of funds (large or small) to put towards that massive text book expenditure!
- An IOU Dinner or laundry booklet: Short on cash? Why not make a little booklet or card with IOU’s that can be redeemed through the year. Students appreciate food when they don’t have the time or the cash to make it, and laundry for when the uni washers aren’t working or the study crunch hits.
- Stationery: Pens, pencils and pencil cases add up to the overall uni costs. While it might not seem like much of a gift there is a good chance it will get used!
- Phone credit or travel passes: These are a no brainer gift. Offer to top up travel cards for buses or trains, or shout a couple of months of phone credit or bills.
Adults you know and love.
Grandparents, your own parents, Uncles, Aunties and the like all appreciate gifts that aren’t going to clutter their hall cupboards. Peruse the suggestions below for something that will be the right fit for your adult loved ones.
- Personal Development Alone time: We all have those things that we really want to pursue but can’t ever make time for. Whether it’s a creative venture, personal reflection, or adventure trying to get the space and time to make it happen means it doesn’t always get prioritised. If you know that your Dad wants to learn guitar or your Aunty is keen on pottery making, find a way to help make it happen for them. It could be signing Dad up for guitar lessons and having someone come to teach him once a week. Or you could offer to do your Aunties gardening once a week while she goes to pottery class. Helping them carve out time for this, and being accountable to you for making the dream happen will give them the nudge they require to make their personal development goals a reality.
- Book vouchers: As long as the recipient has reasonable eyesight most of us can find a way to spend a book voucher! It’s a nice indulgence to lash out on a new read, either in e-book format or tangible!
- Music vouchers or premium streaming services: Music is so widely available online, giving the gift of a music service voucher or offering to upgrade the recipients online streaming account to premium for a certain amount of time (you could even offer it as an ongoing yearly thing and save on all subsequent Christmases) can make for a great gift for people who have it all.
- Magazine subscriptions: Despite the e-news obsession there is an increasingly large and awesome collection of magazine publications available. Find one that your recipient might like and sign them up for physical or electronic deliveries.
- Local produce hampers or farmer produce delivery schemes: Pick a hamper of condiments, wine, chocolates or other goodies for a one-off delivery, or check your local area for home delivery of locally grown fruit and veggies for regular delivery.
- House maintenance time: Handy with a hammer and nails? Like doing some gardening? Share your skills and passions with those you love by offering your services in home maintenance. This is ideal for people who might struggle with their house upkeep due to work schedules or ageing bodies. A delivery of this is as easy as writing ‘I’m gifting you two-day of house painting’ in a card or an email and following up to make sure they redeem it!
- Concert, comedy, or theatre tickets: A no brainer for those who like to go out and see a live show. Also a great option for partners and uni students!
- Cake (or lunch) and coffee: If you know some elderly people the gift of time and baked goods is always a good idea. Either buy something to share or make it yourself and schedule in an hour or two for chats. You could offer this once a week or a few times a year to someone you know needs some company. This is also a great option for busy business folk! Bring a lunch and cuppa to your hard-working best friend a few office blocks over once every two weeks. She will be thanking you for it all year.
- Potted plants: Greenery is one of the easiest gifts to give. Even if the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb you can choose easy care plant varieties.