As some of you might know, my better half and I have been having a massive declutter of our flat. We’d come to the realisation that we have accrued way too much stuff over the past five years. Both of us have the potential to attach sentimental value to any random object so we’ve spent the last week being ruthless. The end should be in sight in the next couple of days. As all of this was going on, I started to consider the upcoming Xmas break. One of my friends sat me down and asked me what gifts I wanted – all I honestly wanted was time and energy (neither of which you can buy). With this in mind, I started to think of alternative Xmas gifts – ones that won’t clutter homes:
I truly believe that everyone has something they can cook well, whether it’s toast or soufflés. Cooking for someone is an act of love. Before dementia impacted my grandma’s life, she cooked for anyone and everyone who stepped through her front door. My mum does the same and I too love the ability to make people happy with food. Last year, a colleague who is quite the talented baker made me a coffee cake for Christmas and it was such a lovely gift to receive. Remember – it doesn’t have to be big or fancy, it just has to come from you.
If you’re low on time, ingredients, etc., take someone out for food. One of my favourite things to do is share good food with someone I care for. Again, it doesn’t need to be swanky and expensive. A good coffee and cake or a three course dinner – whatever works. My other half and I always take each other out for something to eat on our birthdays and it’s never a bad experience.
This can easily be done cheaply or for free. Going to a gallery, museum, concert, etc. is a good way to treat someone and have some time to hang out together. I’ve started doing this more and more – my friend’s hen do, mum’s birthday and so on. Visiting different places is good for the soul in general so why not take someone with you?
You could either do this with someone or give a class as a gift. Learning is a lifelong gift and I’m not just saying that because I’m a teacher! There are so many things you could learn: dancing, cookery, languages, pottery and so much more. Also rather than finding an official class, you can ask someone who is an expert in their craft to teach. That talented baker I mentioned from work has taught baking skills. My sister has (tried) to teach me how to crochet. There are lots of learning opportunities.
If you have some cash to splash, you could book someone a spa day. However you can still pamper someone on a budget. Grab a couple of face masks, put on your favourite TV show and paint your nails – instant pampering session. You can use items you have at home like coconut oil and sea salt to make inexpensive treatments too. It still feels like a treat.
Pick a place and walk around it. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting of gifts but it’s actually quite lovely. It’s often the way I meet up with most of my friends: choose a place, walk and get something to eat. I love exploring by myself but it’s much nicer when someone’s with you. It gives you time to talk and catch up, as well as giving you the opportunity to find out about new places. You can adapt it so it works for you.
This is something my family did a lot when we were younger. We’d grab our favourite films, put on our cosiest PJs and make nibbles for a movie day at home. It’s cheap, relaxing and fun. If you’ve got a friend or family member who’s in need of a duvet day and some rest, this is a good idea. I often do this with my other half or my friend, Becky.
Now, I’m aware that many people might as the question, “How are these Xmas gifts?”. Thing is, for some, they might not be. All of these things take effort and organisation though. For me, I want to move away from material gifts because they seem more and more unnecessary. I also love being around people and doing things that make them smile and feel special. What do you think? How do you deal with gift-giving?