If you’ve ever read Little House on the Prairie, you’ll know how minimalistic Christmas shopping was in the Ingalls’ household. I can still recall my shock reading about the terrible gifts (or so I thought at the time) given to the girls by their parents—an orange and a penny.  

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realised they were onto a good thing. I’m a big fan of Christmas. I love the food, the smell of pine and the excuse to watch Love Actually, multiple times.  But the festive season also comes with things I don’t love–overcrowded malls, overspending, and the over-accumulation of needless stuff. If we are honest with ourselves, we all need a little help breaking free from it. That’s why I’m sharing with you my top five tips for better giving this Christmas. 

As Christmas zooms around the corner faster than you can say, Cindy Lou, it’s important to spend time thinking about the impact Christmas has on those around us and the world we live in. This includes the money spent, the waste generated, and the time we lose worrying about things instead of caring for people. 

I’m not saying it has to be all oranges and pennies. There are a few ways we can make this festive season a little less consumer-driven and a little more meaningful like the Ingalls knew how to do so well.  

Here are my top five tips for better giving this Christmas: 

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Someone getting creative.


1. Get your DIY on  

I’m a big fan of receiving a hand-made gift. Sure, it can be a bit of a time investment, but it’s also a great way of making someone feel loved and known. If you’re stuck for ideas, edible treats are a great place to start. After all, who doesn’t love receiving a decadent little morsel? Try pistachio shortbread, almond biscotti or a classic chocolate fudge brownie. Wrap it up in some crisp brown paper, and voila, Christmas happiness. 

2. Buy with a greater purpose 

Buy with a greater purpose by shopping somewhere ethical this Christmas. Trade Aid is the perfect place to start. Every product has a story and you can rest assured the people who made that gift were paid fairly. If edibles are on your list, Trade Aid chocolate is among the best, and treating yourself to some should be on your list too. Or if you want to treat someone’s wardrobe, consult the 2020 Covid Fashion Guide to help you make great garment buying decisions. 

3. Go sustainable 

Another great gift idea is a reusable item. How about a funky tote to keep in your handbag for impromptu supermarket trips, or an adorable keep-cup? Some cafes give discounts if you bring your cup and the receiver of the gift will think of you every time they drink their morning coffee. What more could you want? 

4. Gift your time 

Not all gifts require spending money. One of the best gifts you can give is your time. Why not make a voucher entitling someone to some good old-fashioned quality time? You can present it to them in an artistic way and lock in a date? It’s the perfect way to make your loved one feel valued and special this Christmas! 
 
5. Gift for Life 


For a gift that is both meaningful and unique, make a donation to a not-for-profit on behalf of your loved one. Tearfund's Gift for Life offers so many different gifts. You can buy a relevant gift for your loved one and the gift pictured on the card will go to a vulnerable family in the developing world in that person’s honour.  

 

Have a Merry Christmas and happy gift-giving! 

 


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