It’s late November and everyone is frazzled and freaked by how close it is to Christmas. A month from now and before you know it you will be getting presents from the service station! I’ve tried to gift some earth friendly gifts over the years, and often they end up time saving as well.
Firstly, make yourself a list. You can often bulk purchase for sets of people and online ordering is a wonderful thing. Or you may get a surprise opportunity for an interesting present. For instance, you may be accosted in a shopping mall by a charming young fireman selling their calendars where they hold kittens and puppies. The poor dears couldn’t even afford shirts for the photos! (Full disclosure: I bought 4 that year).
Gift Certificates are always pretty good. Snap them up a few at a time when you are grocery shopping. I find general ones are much easier to spend – you don’t want to send people to a shop out in the middle of nowhere or they can’t find things they like. If all else fails, you can always buy groceries with a generic card.
Subscriptions are available for a lot of things now – magazines, survival supplies, book mystery boxes, makeup etc. You can now set up a subscription on Amazon for things, which I only found out the other day, as I promptly gifted myself a favourite face cream to arrive every two months!
Donations are also a great gift, particularly if you can’t think of something for them, or they are a bit of a minimalist who hates getting Christmas junk. These can vary from charities such as World Vision, wildlife carers and animal shelters. They often provide a nice card. Make sure you check out the charity online shops for other presents such as calendars (teachers like these), pins, clothes etc.
Things that reduce waste are also nice presents. These are things like a reusable coffee cup, cloth makeup wipes, reusable cloth menstrual pads (perhaps save this one for the close family), solid shampoo and conditioner bars, a box of hankies, or a selection of kitchen things like silicon freezer bags, beeswax wraps, silicon baking mats or storage containers. Or an e-reader for a bookworm – load it with all your books if you are an author – and if you know an author – buy all their books as a gift. (Not that I’m hinting at all!)
Or something to help get rid of waste. A compost system, a worm farm, or bokashi bucket for instance. Don’t forget the wrapping – bags that can be used again, brown paper wrapping that can recycle, or wrap in teatowels.
There are also a range of handy power saving devices. Solar power tech is getting better all the time, and there are many more things that are usb and/or solar charged. Torches, lanterns, blow up lights, small emergency radios and also solar phone chargers are all handy, particularly if you get power outages.
A personalised hamper is a minimalist present that is always appreciated. A small reusable container with some snacks they like, and then add in a few things they use – handcream, makeup, a special beer brew, a magazine, or some expensive pet treats they wouldn’t buy generally for their special furry friend. All consumed and little waste.
Or something that makes their life a bit greener. A nice indoor plant, a bee hotel, a few packets of seeds or bulbs, a microgreen grower or a small hydroponic light system. Or a trailer of manure!
Lastly, a gift of love – your time. An afternoon of gardening, a walk and a chat, a coffee. A plate of home baked biscuits or even a bag of groceries or a subscription for monthly toilet paper or something useful for someone you know is struggling a bit. This one gives not only to them, but makes you feel better too.
Anyway, hope this helps any frazzled present buyers. Any other ideas? Post them in the comments and spread the joy.
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.
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