Home, Garden & Lifestyle

Thinking Outside the Gift Box

Let’s face it, gift giving can be tricky, And while it may be ‘the thought that counts’ when it comes to the recipient (and our budgets), how often do we consider longevity or the environmental impact of the gift? While some gifts make our hearts sing, many don’t. Some end up in charity bins or ‘re-gifted,’ but many eventually end up in land-fill. 

On special occasions we want to show our loved ones we care but how can we do this while also ensuring little environmental impact and making sure our money is well spent? Think about what surrounds gift giving. It’s the sharing, memories, stories and smiles. Without sounding too clichéd it’s about giving the gift of happiness. So, let’s look outside the gift box for some eco-friendly, sustainable and thoughtful ideas.

The Gift of Memorable Experiences
Movie or show tickets, high teas, zoo passes, theme parks, beauty treatments and ‘time’.

The Gift of Learning
Art, music or circus skills workshops, personal trainers, foreign language, dancing or surfing lessons, indoor rock climbing, yoga, martial
arts, cooking etc.

The Gift of Consumables
Think about what your special someone uses a lot of and make up a small reusable basket or container of supplies, and make sure you do your research for brands, sizes, model numbers etc. they use.

• Babies/new parents: Nappies, lotions, formula, baby food, teething rusks, gels, bath products.
• Students: Ink cartridges, printer paper, staples, label tape, USB sticks.
• Gardeners: Packets of seeds, gloves, seedlings, potting mix etc.
• New learner drivers/car enthusiasts: Car washing or detailing supplies
• Artists: favourite art supplies.
• Dancers: shoe ribbons, shoe laces, hair fixings, tights, make-up and eyelashes.
• Musicians: Guitar strings, picks or leads, drum sticks, (check which they use)
• Athletes/swimmers/sports people: reusable water bottles, energy bars, Chamoi towels, sunscreen, zinc cream, swim caps, ear plugs, flippers, golf balls, tees, tennis balls etc.
• Health fanatics who love their juice or smoothie machines may love a crate of fresh organic fruit and vegies from the markets.
• Coffee fans may like coffee filter papers and packs of freshly ground beans.
• Craft or hobby supplies for a person with a particular hobby.
• Miscellaneous: prepaid phone cards, music or App gift cards or camera SD cards.

The Gift of Time, Care and Assistance
Wrap yourself up in a bow and give someone your time. 

Set a time limit e.g., 1 week, 1 month, weekend, fortnightly or once a month for a year etc.

• Parents of young children: babysitting or helping parents with anything that needs doing around the house; shopping or errands on their behalf. Picking kids up after school or extracurricular activities.

• The elderly: dog walking or washing, chores, reading or playing an instrument to, play a board game or charades with them, take them out of the house or care facility for a day (if they’re able), car cleaning, lawn mowing, window cleaning, help with computers, or help with errands like shopping. Offer to drive them to doctor visits etc. Visit them with your dog, cat or another small pet. Or just make a commitment to visit them more often for a chat.

• Carers: Give them time off and take care of their special someone for them. Offer to make them dinner or lunch, shop or do some chores for them. Make them a phone a friend card so they know they can count on you for emotional support. Offer to fill in when they themselves are sick.

• Depending on your skill level or expertise: offer a manicure, hair-cut, massage, facial or do someone’s make-up for a special occasion.

The Shared Gift – something for a couple or a family

In some cases to make your dollars stretch, it may be more economical to buy a more worthwhile ‘group’ gift rather than several less quality small ones. 

Gifts that will bring people together like computer or board games, online movie subscriptions (Netflix, Disney), family passes to the movies, a show, event, theme park, balloon ride, whale watching or festival. Make them a picnic hamper, with a road map a selfie-stick for their phone and a scavenger hunt that leads them to a great picnic site for some great family photos. 

The Gift of Subscriptions, Memberships & Donations – of interest to the recipient

To save them paying for it themselves!

Magazines, comic books, movie or game site memberships, podcasts or online sites of interest to the recipient. Science or sports club memberships for kids.

If they’re struggling to make ends meet, maybe you could offer to pay a bill, or for groceries, a haircut, an outfit for a job interview or anything else you can afford to help with.

Tax deductible gift certificates in the form of donation or sponsorship to a cause suitable to the passion of the recipient. Check out sites such as Oxfam, Karma Currency, AWLQ, RSPCA, WWF, World Vision, some of your local community, wildlife or environment groups, including . . . Gecko Friend Memberships!Oh, and lastly if your budget is really tight this year and you need to avoid the embarrassment of being unable to purchase gifts, you can always set up an arrangement whereby you print off some of these ‘Holiday Gift Exemption Vouchers’ courtesy of adbusters.org. Right click on the image to save the image to ‘downloads’.

Image Credits:

  • Gift of Memorable experiences – Popcorn & movie tickets: Annca via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Gift of learning – Kid surfing: Jcsaenz via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Gift of consumables – Art Supplies: MustangJoe via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Gift of Time, Care, Hand with clock face: Geralt via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Gift of shared experiences – Family on chair-o-plane carouse: ADD via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Gift of donations/subscriptions – Comic book stand: TuneChick83 via Pixabay.com CC0
  • Holiday Exemption Voucher: adbusters.org/
  • Feature photo/banner: ©Angela Miller-Davis, Less Equals More 2021

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