It is that time of the year when people start feeling compelled to spend money: stock up on food and booze, decorate the house as much as possible, buy presents, even small useless things.
I have never been a compulsive buyer, I have always found shopping satisfying but only when I buy things I use, and in the last few years I have become even more practical, I buy less but better. Moreover I have never been that Christmassy so I am not at risk of overdoing it.
In a world where buying has become a compulsion that effects our environment and our society, it is not just important but also modern and clever to make different choices.
If you are not ready yet to give up this Christmas present thing and you are still wondering what to buy for your beloved, I would like to propose some alternative ideas.
- PLANT A TREE
In a world that needs to breath more, planting a tree is precious act of love. I have planted a few through the website Treedom
but there are a number of valid options on the net. You just have to pick a tree according to your budget, pay for it and then give or send all the details to the person you are giving the present to. This person will be able to follow the growth of the tree and monitor how much oxygen the tree produces.
It is literally a breath of fresh air buying a tree for someone.
- GIVE AN EXPERIENCE
Instead of buying a probably useless object or something people have an abundance of (which nowadays is most things), give a person an experience.
This doesn’t mean buying a hot air ballon trip but could mean organizing something nice with your beloved. For instance you could take them to the cinema and cheekily open a bottle of bubbles while watching the movie or you could take your mum for the best tea in town.
- DONATE TO A CHARITY
Donate some money to a charity that help kids, homeless or people affected by natural disasters is highly satisfying because with a small sum you can do a great deal.
Donating some money to a place you have been to or you would like to visit with the person the present is for an has been affected by a hurricane or tsunami for instance, is a particularly thoughtful present that your friend will appreciate and understand.
- BUY SOME FABRIC
Alex always makes fun of me when I propose buying some fabric as a present but if you think about it, it is a brilliant idea: people can use it in many different ways making their own or having cushions made for them, tote bags, shawls, tops, little decorative flags, travel bags etc. It can be easily stored and if they don’t like it that much, they can still use it because it is one thing to wear a pair of earrings you don’t like but it is another to have an underwear bag made out of a fabric you wouldn’t have picked.
- GIVE SOME SHARES IN A CROWD-FUNDED BUSINESS
This is my favourite because it is the most original. I am sure your friend will appreciate the originality of the idea as well as the possibility of having a small share in a potentially successful business.
One of my suppliers once told me he bought a friend of his 10 scratch card for every year since she had been born for her birthday . The birthday girl received 400 scratch cards and won nothing, not even 2 euros.
This is a totally different cup of tea. When you take part in crowd-funding you are helping someone realise a dream, in many cases you contribute to the making of a cool or useful object or service and in the best case scenario you invest in a potentially growing idea.
- BUY A BOOK
I think books enrich people and they can be such a personal present as well if you choose well. And after all if you’re enriching those around you you benefit from being around more enriched people, it’s a win win!
I hope I have convinced you to at least think differently about some of your Christmas presents and invest in something that could have a bigger impact on the receiver and less impact on an increasingly excessive materialistic world.