Heartfelt Christmas Shopping Guide
Giving, as we all know, is good for the soul.
However, as we go into December, the questions I have for you are around the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ we give. When you think about those, is giving still ‘good for the soul’? And is it making us happy?
Big stuff for such a jolly time of year, I know! So please bear with me on this journey.
You see, consumerism is really starting to vex me. Perhaps the more minimal life my family and me are privileged to be living here in Wanaka is quietly teaching me new lessons. Perhaps it’s the ever more clear and conscious understanding of the planet’s resource shortage vs. waste excess. Perhaps it’s just that I hate having ‘stuff’ for the sake of having stuff – especially as it’s usually made at someone’s (or something’s) expense. More than likely, it’s a little bit of all three reasons.
Saying all that, I still like giving and I still believe it is generally a good thing if it’s thoughtfully done.
I like the excitement that comes from thinking about a really good gift that’s just perfect for whoever it is meant to be for. I like the thought and the effort that goes into finding or crafting it. And, of course, the delight at the end! I like everything about the process and the outcome.
I should mention, that this feeling could arise at all times of the year, not just at Christmas! Sometimes, for me, gifting is a completely spontaneous act. I can’t control when I might see or think of something that perfectly sums up a relationship, a memory or a person. But when I do, I feel a real, burning desire to share that with whoever might be present in my mind at that time.
My Nana was an extremely generous soul and I think I really understand her heartfelt need to give – and it seems to me most crafters feel this way too.
So…! Here we are in the run up to Christmas and I think it’s time to take a moment to think about giving. Here is my opinion on a thoughtful, memorable gifting checklist:
- Buy Local
We talk about supporting small, local businesses over large chain stores. This small act genuinely really makes a difference to an actual person. (Yes, it’s the person doing a happy dance in their home office…!). Being a small business owner myself, I love this idea just from that perspective. However, there are more perks! Consider these – staying local means your environmental footprint is waaay smaller, plus the money you are spending is going towards your community and making the lives of those around you (and your own) better. Because you are giving money to your local business owners, it is very likely to end up going to other local business owners they buy things from. And the schools their children go to and the local healthcare and local farmers and so on and so forth…you get the point. Basically, you didn’t hear it from us, but it makes you a superhero. And all you had to do was buy something amazing – that is super duper cool!
- Give from the Heart
If you made it this far into the post, you’ll know I really believe that if you can find that special something to give, go for it! But equally, I don’t believe in buying something just so you have something to give. Giving a present that is meaningful and loving is not about quickly finding something at the gift store that you think might be liked. Consider also, that a gift doesn’t have to be something physical that can be wrapped up. Giving your time, making a memory together, giving a helping hand or giving on behalf to someone who really needs it can be equally (and sometimes even more) appreciated. I’m always trying to think about how my gift is going to enhance a person’s life – there are so many different ways! A well thought out gift can relieve stress and emotional fatigue, can make someone who might be feeling lonely feel loved or can simply be a silly reminder of the uniqueness of a friendship. So if you ever find yourself looking at something in a shop on Christmas Eve and thinking to yourself ‘Well, it’s not perfect, but it’ll give them something to open…’ I would step away and consider just writing them a really nice, heartfelt note that tells them how much they mean to you – I know I would definitely value that more!
- Make it
I truly believe the best gifts are those handmade with love. Someone loves you enough to put aside some of their precious time and craft you something unique. How cool is that? It might not be ‘perfect’ by commercial standards and it may not be cutting edge. But it also won’t be packed in blister plastic and shipped halfway around the world at the expense of the planet. It’s made for you (and only you!) by someone who knows you and LOVES you. Now that is a gift!
- Gifts that keep Giving
Enduring gifts and nourishing gifts – those that help our loved ones slow down, relax, grow and flourish – are truly gifts that keep on giving. How about tending a garden nursery and gifting little baby plants, so your loved one can continue to grow and enjoy them? Or maybe giving crafting supplies, helping foster a mindful hobby and fuelling creativity? Perhaps passing on a cherished book (that can be passed on again) or sharing hand written family recipes…. There are so many wonderful things to share that will keep giving.
To finish this post off, I suppose what I’m trying to get across is that sometimes we caught up in all the commercial madness that surrounds Christmas and the whole experience starts getting stressful and unfulfilling. Advertising seemingly tells us that ‘stuff’ = ‘love’. But, as we all know by now, that is a complete and utter fabrication. Love is love. Love is kindness, love is simple, love is completely unselfish and just wants the best for our loved ones.
So, the next time you’re looking at your Christmas list, try to think of the person on the list and what they mean to you. What could you do for them or gift them that is going to make them feel special? Once we start thinking about gifts like that, I think we’ll be spreading a lot more festive cheer!
And on that note, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! May you receive and spread good cheer and love to all those around you.