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The Whys And Hows Of Offering Preloved Gifts This Christmas

The Whys And Hows Of Offering Preloved Gifts This Christmas

 

Christmas, a time of over-spending and rampant consumerism - how did it become this way? I get that we have the opportunity to offer thoughtful gifts to the special people in our world, but why this pressure to buy the perfect gift, no expense spared? Surely this just leads to ridiculous expectations, anxiety-inducing debt, overwhelming stress and a mountain of gifts that are not really appreciated. In this time of climate emergency, buying new gifts in all that wasteful packaging is surely not the best way to bringing healing to this wonderful world in which we live.  

So what do you buy the child/partner/aunt/friend who has everything they need already?

Nothing new, that's my suggestion. Buy nothing new. The best gift we can offer each other is the gift of life, which is under serious threat if the climate emergency is not taken seriously. I know we don't want to think about that, especially at Christmas, but over-consumption and greed are at the heart of the industries that are destroying our planet and we have to face up to that and do something about it.

But how? That's really hard, isn't it? More than at any other time of year, the pressure to conform is massive. I feel it too. I don't want see disappointment on my granddaughters' faces when they open my presents. They're too young to understand my reasons. The shops are so seductive. They're so good at what they do. We get drawn into the magic of it all before we even realise what we're doing. The illusion of magic. The magic of Christmas isn't to be found in new decorations and beautiful wrapping and exquisite food, but in connection and laughter and time spent together. You really don't need a lot of gifts to make that work.

OK, yes, but how? How do we switch from buying new to buying preloved this Christmas time?

Prepare everyone in advance. Tell all the people you buy for that you'll be buying preloved gifts this year and invite them to do the same for you.

Keep the reason behind your choice in the forefront of your mind. Be really clear about why you've come to this decision and keep reminding yourself. Write it down if you need to and refer to it often.

Make it less about the presents. If your Christmas morning is set up to be all about the presents, then be imaginative and come up with a different routine - maybe a longer time around the table enjoying a good breakfast together or a morning walk. How about a treasure hunt for the kids to find some of the presents?

Make something or buy something someone you know has made. Supporting local small businesses who make handcrafted gifts, especially those that upcycle waste products into something beautiful, is a great alternative to high street purchases.

Have confidence in what you're doing and why you're doing it. Some people won't get it. Some won't like it even. You may get openly criticised. Be ready with your piece of paper with your reason written on it. You are not being a cheapskate - this is the most generous and thoughtful thing you can do.

Avoid the adverts. Avoid social media. Avoid the shops. That perfect Christmas doesn't exist in reality for anyone anywhere. Instead, spend some time browsing preloved shops and charity shops and treat it as an adventure. 

Be open to surprises and abandon the list. If you're looking for a specific item, then you may have to put in the time to visit lots of charity shops before you find it. You could always look online of course - eBay is your friend if you know exactly what you want. If not, browse with an open mind and see what delights are waiting to be discovered.

Think experiences rather than gifts. Vouchers or tickets for events are good. Even better, create your own voucher and offer your time to share a bespoke experience with the person.

Don't beat yourself up if you resort to buying new. It will happen. Of course, it will. Every little bit counts. And Christmas happens every year so you'll get another shot at it next year and the year after!

OK, so there's all the theory. Are you ready for some practical ideas? If you come into Green Heart Collective, these are the things I would be suggesting. If you don't live locally, check out what we have online or visit some of your local preloved stores and charity shops.

A book stack: rather than just buying one new book, how about choosing several on a theme (like chick lit or thrillers for example), wrapping them individually and then presenting them with a message like this?
A wellbeing kit: I'm thinking a book about yoga, yoga socks, some incense, a yoga blanket...all presented in a gift bag or box.

A cosy kit: start with a jumper maybe, and then build up the kit with a scarf, slippers or socks, a mug, a hot chocolate spoon, a fleecy blanket and a book.

A Christmas Day kit: a board game, book, jigsaw puzzle, wine glass, Christmas jumper, eye mask and Christmas decoration

A foodie hamper: work on a theme, so for example for vegans, we have savoury snacks and sweet treats

An antique treasure: a glass decanter or perfume bottle or antique picture frame with one of your own special photos in or selection of antique bottles to put single stems in..

 

A T Shirt: our Friend or Faux T shirts on Depop have been so popular and make a great present

A bundle of great clothes: Check out our Vinted online store for our existing bundles or why not create your own, building a capsule collection, great outfit or a top for every day of the week?

 

A quirky, funky item of clothing: Again back to Depop to browse our collection of funky, retro coats, tops, dresses etc.

 Now that I've started, I could go on and on and on....

It really just takes a little bit of imagination and thinking outside of the box to come up with something really special. You'll have to think about how you present it because it won't come in all that effective plastic packaging that we all love to hate, but you've got this. You can do it. 

I wish you every success. Do come in and have a chat if you want some more ideas or do share your ideas with us too.....

Happy Christmas, everyone!

 

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