Christmas gifts: don't live in a material world

Alice Holmes offers some personal and meaningful alternatives to the traditionally materialistic Christmas gifts.

Alice Holmes
14th December 2020
The process of giving and receiving gifts is a highlight of the holiday season. However a major drawback from this tradition is the vast amount of waste produced by excessive buying and unwanted materialistic gifts. Alternatively, there are plenty of sustainable and ethical options for gifting this year- usually these are actually more personal and authentic, some of which are more budget friendly too! 

Baking:


Christmas and baking go hand in hand, and there’s nothing more personal and heart-warming than receiving a baked good on Christmas day. The possibilities are endless: gingerbread cookies delicately iced, homemade fudge, chocolate brownies, mince pies or even something as extravagant as a Christmas cake. The recipient will appreciate the time and effort taken, and process of baking is actually a fun, festive activity where you’ll enjoy yourself. 

Photobook:

All this takes is an old scrapbook and some printed photos, and you can create an authentic, handmade, personal present which is guaranteed to surprise and please your friends and family. Most people adore looking through old, fond memories and Christmas is the perfect time of year to sit and flick through old photo albums. Although this present may take some time and effort, the overall cost can be kept fairly low if necessary. 

Adopt an Animal:

If your recipient is particularly fond of a certain animal a great idea would be to adopt/sponsor this animal in their name. This is great for supporting charities and the welfare of the animals. They often come with certificates and regular updates on the chosen animal too, which is a nice gift to receive. 

The Wildlife Trust have adoption schemes to protect UK wildlife in your local area. You can select the species you wish to protect and adopt via the local Wildlife Trust website where you live following this link: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/adopt-animal For instance, Durham Wildlife Trust have the opportunity for you to adopt a Bottlenose Dolphin!

Alternatively, you can adopt various endangered species such as polar bears, jaguars, tigers, snow leopards and turtles via the WWF website. They also have opportunities for adoption gift packs. https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-as-a-gift

Pixabay @strichpunkt

Donate to charity: 

Plenty of money is thrown down the drain each year on expensive gifts which end up unwanted and unused. A positive alternative is to donate this money to a cause which really needs it. Doing this in someone’s name is the perfect feel-good Christmas gift. Many charities have the option to do this, however one example in particular is The British Heart Foundation’s sculpture in Sheffield called the Heart of Steel. This Christmas you can donate money and in doing so engrave someone’s name onto this sculpture. All profits go to essential research and the recipient of this gift will have their name engraved onto a sculpture which they can go and visit. You can find out more on their website: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise/heartofsteel?gclid=Cj0KCQiAtqL-BRC0ARIsAF4K3WG_gO654xRdlZX4wkx7ta6huvAsCsSdZSkBVDqX5P6viJLK2k8--T4aAtVlEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Tickets:

Often overlooked, tickets and experiences are a great alternative to a typical, materialistic present. The vast diversity of ticket options makes this a great present to specifically suit the recipient’s personality. There are a variety of options out there, from pre-booked tours to sports and concert tickets. Amidst today’s current climate with Covid-19 it is of course, more difficult than ever to book onto events. However, this doesn’t stop you designing your own ticket and promising to take your family/friend on a City Break once restrictions allow, for example. You can easily modify your planned experience to adhere to the recipient’s likes and dislikes. 

Featured Image- Pixabay @ silviarita

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