I know my blog is about “stuff”. Vintage fashion, homewares, furniture, weddings all equal lovely things, but that’s just it – they are just things. When I first met my husband he showed me that gifts don’t have to cost but actually the ones filled with thought mean the most. Our first Valentine’s Day he potted up snowdrops from his garden and planted them in a terracotta pot, wrote me a poem and made me a ginger cake in a heart shape. I remember these gifts more than anything he has bought since – I was so surprised and moved. This is the man who presented me with a tree when he asked me to move in….he is such a keeper!
So to buck the “stuff” this festive season how about giving some of these alternative yet more meaningful gifts this Christmas.
Make something that will make someone smile. Make a cake, make a bird house, make a cushion, the list is endless. We can all make something, even if it is a pretty recycled jar full of sweets with a handmade label and bow.
Give your time
Time is so precious and by giving some of it to someone else, you can give them some freedom. Give babysitting tokens, give 10 hours a year to help in someones garden, give dog walking hours. Create a voucher saying you promise to help within the next year – and make sure you keep to it.
Give your thoughts
Write a letter not an email or text. Share how you feel, share a joke, share a thought then wrap it up to be opened when someone needs a lift. Remember the days when you received a love letter and how that felt. Go do it!
Give your music
Create a mix tape and record it onto a disc. How old school huh? OK, create a playlist with all the tunes that mean something to you and them. Or simply record an album that you love and they haven’t heard of…share the noise!
Give your wisdom
We are all an expert in something so why not share it as a gift. Give a free guitar lesson, show someone how to crochet, give a yoga class or help someone understand how to organise their photos online.
Give your unwanted
Have a clear out and share your unwanted with someone who needs it. Donate children’s books to the local doctor surgery, old toys to a charity, jumpers to a homeless charity – or even give that vase that your friend has always loved to them as a surprise. I guarantee they will be overjoyed.
Just finished a great book? Don’t put it on the shelf but pass it on to someone who will love it too. Or buy a book that you’ve wanted to read for ages, but buy two copies, then you can talk about it as you both read it.
Print out old photos and frame them in a collage with dates written underneath. Create a scrapbook filled with memories and write where you were at the time and how you felt. Remind them of the good times but leave empty pages at the end for all the good times to come.
Pick some flowers and pot them up for someone; spring bulbs are great for this (remember those potted snowdrops) If you have been prepared, then you could give homemade jam or chutney from your garden picked earlier in the year.
The best thing you can do this year is to put your technology away and have a conversation. Maybe set some new house rule for using your phone while together such as no phones in ned, at the table, during a film etc. Have a cuddle, have a laugh, seize the moment without photographing and sharing it!