Only a few days left until the merriest time of the year. City centers are packed with people wandering around, lost and focused, in search for the perfect gifts. Or any gift. Because Christmas is all about those cute, pretty wrapped packages underneath a decorated spruce. And family. But definitely presents too. What do you get your sister? And your brother? And your mother, who has already so many cool things? Hmm... let's try the "what would I like to receive?"-technique. Oh, there's a promotion right there! Looks good. Budget? Fits like a glove! Done. Outta here. Now!
Christmas period makes us crazy. It's as if the world will end if you don't find that perfect gift. And so we end up buying something that "will do". Because showing up empty handed will be interpreted as being:
You know what's worse, though? Getting something you really don't need and don't like, at all, and then having to have to smile and say how happy you are with your gift. Lying basically. Because if you say the truth, the person will get:
- cut you out of her/his life (dramatic)
Some tradition we've created for ourselves. At least our economy is thriving because of it.
Here are a few tips on how to do Christmas gifting as a conscious consumer.
Only buy if it's exactly what the receiver wants and needs
You know that your mum needs a blender, she's told it many times, she needs it in her life to make smoothies. Go and get her a blender!
Don't guess what your brother-in-law wants, just ask your sibling!
If they don't know it either
Shame them first. Just kidding! Maybe your brother-in-law really doesn't want or need anything in particular. In that case, go for a nice bottle of wine or champagne. Neuhaus chocolates, or the ever popular macarons. Delicious, tasty things that can be enjoyed at any time.
What about writing a gift certificate for quality time with you? It can be a lunch or a dinner. It can be an afternoon of spa. A picknick when the weather is good. Organize a weekend getaway! The main focus here is to gift time. And not just any kind of time. Quality time! Fix a day, immediately, and organize something fun. A concert, theater, ... There's no better gift than spending quality time with each other.
Wrapping doesn't create any extra value, it only creates waste
It's fun, absolutely! It's so hard to imagine Christmas without wrapping paper and shiny ribbons. But we kind of live in a world where there's a serious problem with pollution and waste. Just think about it, will the receiver enjoy the present more because of the wrapping? No, of course not. And instead of feeling weird about not wrapping a gift, explain where you come from. Spread the mindset and inspire people to rethink some parts of traditions. Especially if they bring more harm than joy.
Voilà, that's all I have on this uber late Sunday night! Had a coffee around 6pm and now I can't sleep. So I thought I'd take this opportunity and blog :). And in case you're wondering what the link is between this post and the picture, I'll share that now. Doris, my fluffy pomeranian, in front of me in the picture was my Christmas gift back in 2004.
In some cases getting a dog, or a pet, as a gift ends up bad. People buy them for their kids, kids play a little, and then get on with their teenage life. The dog ends up in a shelter because nobody has the time to take care of her/him.
In our case it's simple: we adjust our schedules and our life around our furry family members. If we can't fly with them, we drive. If we can't take them with us to dinner, we make sure we're back home in time. When renting an apartment we make sure our two little ones are welcome. If not, we move on and look elsewhere.
So, be smart this Christmas, and make good choices. You will feel good about them, no doubt!