It can be easy to forget that what we have in our lives is secondary, always, to WHO we have in our lives… especially at this time of year when we are inundated by wish lists and gift lists that seem to weave to two (the who and the what) as if they are inseparable as if somehow what we BUY equates to how much we love. We are coming up to the time of year that instigated the Nothing New Project in the first place. Last year I watched as people placed priority on products over people, pushing past each other in shops to grab at cheap plastic stocking stuffers and knick knacks, things none of us truly need.
My reader has been flooded with wish lists and gift buying guides… what to buy for the eco-mama, what to buy for the person who has everything, what to buy for dads, what to buy for kids, what to buy for babies… or the far more egocentric – what to buy for ME for christmas.
I love giving gifts, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a wonderful thing to find something that is ‘just right’ for someone that we love, and to give it to them. There is something very special about giving the perfect gift. But I think somewhere in amongst all the crazy of this time of year we lose perspective a bit and we begin to buy for the sake of buying. We buy lots to show our love… We buy out of duty… We buy out of habit. But what if we could give gifts that come from somewhere a little different, and that is where this no-buy gift guide comes in. Where the gifts we give don’t come from shops, but they come from us. Gifts that we invest something more than just money, and in that process, we give something more than what can be held… we give a little more of ourselves, and in doing that, we connect a little deeper.
And isn’t that what Christmas all about?
In this fast paced work of hyper online connection we often forget how important it is to actually give each other our real life, hands on, time. Time is valuable to all of us, in fact for most of us who spend our lives rushing from one thing to another time is perhaps our most valuable of commodities (bar our health, of course). Relationships cannot truly grow, connection cannot truly be fostered, love cannot be truly shared unless we are together in person – together we can laugh and we can hold hands and we can wipe away tears and we can share stories and we can read each others faces and we can connect on a level that social media cannot replicate (no matter how much it tells us that it can). Our time is the number one gift we can give.
Presence instead of presents is what we are asking for (and what we will be trying to give) this Christmas.
Instead of going out and buying something for someone this year, what about giving them the gift of an experience. There are beautiful things that we can do for each other that cost little and when we invest our time and a little bit of creativity we can really give a gift that gives them great joy and happiness with wonderful stories to tell for the future – now isn’t that something that everyone we love deserves?
Idea inspiration: A trip to the beach, a road trip, a visit to the zoo, a day on a farm, a weekend away, a beautiful meal, a skill swap… etc.
If you want to give a gift wrapped under the tree this year, you could consider regifting. Not regifting in the traditional sense (taking an unwanted gift and giving it to someone else) but instead in a heartfelt sense. When we take something of ours that we love and give it away, something wonderful happens – we transfer our own feelings of love from the item to the person… Consider including a little handwritten story with the gift, a story of your connection with the item and what you hope that item will bring to that person.
Idea inspiration: A favourite book, a beloved piece of jewelry a favourite coat, a handwritten story, a beautiful photograph… etc.
A beautiful gift to give someone is to just go and do something for them, a silent favour, a little something that you know will make their life easier, a little something that will brighten their day – a little something that isn’t asked for, just done out of love. Have you noticed something that someone just hasn’t had a chance to get around to yet? Do you have the skills to do it?
Idea inspiration: Weeding a garden, delivering a home cooked meal, babysitting, a load of ironing, planting a tree in their yard… etc.
Another wonderful idea for a little gift to give on Christmas day is something that is handmade and with love. Gone may be the day of (you) making macaroni necklaces and snowmen decorations out of cotton wool – but there is still something very special about a gift that is made by hand by the giver with the recipient in mind. You can always play to your strengths and make something that you are good at with the loved one in mind. It’s lovely to know that you have been thought of, and considered, and time has been spent to make something just for you…
Idea inspiration: knitting, woodworking, handmade toys, jams and preserves, tinctures and salves, body products, baked goods… etc.
So maybe this year instead of rushing off to the department stores to do *all* of your christmas shopping… you might consider some ‘no buy’ options as gifts for those that you love – when we reconnect with the spirit of Christmas, we reconnect with each other. Instead of buying for the sake of buying – we have the opportunity to take a little time to give a gift that is something more… more than just something you can hold but something you can also really feel.
Our list is 100% no buy as we finish of our year of Nothing New with a final festive hurrah… maybe you could join us, even just a little?
Do you have any of these no-buy gifts on your list this year?