Yep, you read that right.
Our obsession for buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts needs to change. It’s a waste of money, a waste of resources, and a waste of time.
Gifts should be something they truly want or need. We all know the feeling of seeing something utterly perfect for a loved one, and we all know the feeling of frantically trawling shops for something and settling on whatever. One of those feelings is much nicer for the gift giver. We’ve also all been on the receiving end of a gift that clearly wasn’t thought through. It’s pretty awkward.
So instead of panic buying another Soap & Glory gift set or a DVD of Michael McIntyre’s latest standup, take a step back and consider giving them nothing.
I’ve put together an alternative Christmas list to help you give nothing, while still giving something.
Instead of a stack of presents to unwrap sitting under the tree, why not gift an experience? Making memories are better than Lynx shower gel, tell your nan.
Me and Matt have a pot of money that’s saved for us to do something together. Whether that’s dinner, a weekend away, or just a quick trip to the cinema. If there’s nothing we need or want for a gift, instead we can chuck some cash in the pot.
You can be more specific, book a table at their favourite restaurant, or a hotel from a weekend away. There are always bands or comedians or shows to see, grab tickets to something they’ll love.
We’re all so busy, all the time, and finding time for partners, friends, or family one-on-one can seem impossible, so give the gift of some time together, who doesn’t want that?
Help Somebody Else
Christmas is the time for family, friends, food, drink, and getting cosy. For a lot of us it’s also the time for feeling guilt for having all of that, while others have nothing.
Instead of buying something else that isn’t needed for somebody who doesn’t need it, why not buy something desperately needed in their name? Here’s a couple of great charities helping the most deserving.
Crack and Cider is a homeless charity set up by Scarlett Montanaro and Charlotte Cramer, two Londoners who decided something needed to change. So named because after speaking to a homeless neighbour he informed them ‘People don’t give me money because they just think I’ll spend it on crack and cider.’
Through the shop you can buy items that are desperately needed by rough sleepers, which are then distributed across London. You can also purchase gift cards to inform people that you’ve kept one of the most vulnerable members of our society warm in their name this Christmas.
Giving to charity can sometimes feel like a blind payment, with no obvious answer to where your money’s going, this way you know exactly what you’ve spent your money on.
(I’m hoping to work closely with Scarlett and Charlotte over the next few months and bring something similar to Bristol)
Prices range from £5 for an umbrella up to £60 for a whole warm and dry set (pictured above).
Choose Love – Help Refugees
You’ve probably seen some of the Choose Love merch on social media, with the likes of Chris O’Dowd, Dawn O’Porter, Paloma Faith, and even Dame Judy Dench rocking their tees (which you can now buy on ASOS with 100% of the profits going to Help Refugees).
This Christmas they’ve also set up a shop where you can buy presents that will be given directly to refugees who really need them. Nappies, hot meals, funding towards search and rescue teams in the water (friends of mine have worked in this field and once you’ve heard stories and seen photos of the people saved from the water you would want to give every penny to help), school supplies, or accommodation. If you’re feeling flush you can even buy the whole store.
Such a wonderful charity and a wonderful way of helping.
Prices range from £3 for a hot meal up to £320 for family accommodation.
Food banks are a depressing reality of modern society, but one that is so essential and I am so grateful the exist. I’ve discussed my personal love for them in the past and I will always support them wherever possible.
Lots of people have been doing the reverse advent calendar which is a fabulous idea (if you’re doing Christmassy bits though do get it in by the 15th so it can all be processed on time – January is a very busy time though so it will all still be appreciated then).
Throw a few extra items into your food shop and drop them off to a collection point, it’s so simple, so needed, and such a lovely thing to do in someone else’s name.
Check The Trussell Trust website for a list of what is needed in your area. And throw in a chocolate selection box, because it’s Christmas!
I don’t want to shame anybody’s Christmas, but I think we can all take a little step back and think about the way we shop. Don’t spend more than you can afford, don’t buy things that aren’t needed or wanted, there are so many ways to show your love.
Oh, and while I have you – don’t give your children hundreds of presents from Father Christmas, give them one. Give them as much as you want from you. When they go back to school they will talk about what he brought them. Not everybody can give their children lots of presents, those kids shouldn’t feel like this is because they’ve not been as good as their peers and that’s why he hasn’t piled them with gifts.
It’s really difficult to be skint at Christmas, you feel like a total parental fail, having to worry about them feeling crap too isn’t nice.
MERRY CHRISTMAS PASS THE MULLED BOOZE!