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Give More by Giving Less

Give More by Giving Less

If holiday shopping leaves you frazzled and broke, do something different this year. Give your friends and loved ones simple gifts that are personal and meaningful.

Holiday shopping is frustrating for many. Who hasn’t spent a frantic afternoon in a mall, buying  last-minute gifts and inevitably blowing the budget? The overspending and mass consumption that we engage in every year takes its toll on our stress levels, our wallets, and the planet. This year choose instead to give simple gifts.

Can’t we simplify the holidays so that we can enjoy ourselves? It is liberating to recall that the best gift is not the most expensive one. Some of my most memorable gifts have been handmade by friends, communicating a sharing of time and intention as nothing else can. Homemade gifts can be as simple as a batch of cookies made from a mix, or as involved as a hand-knitted sweater. Tapping into your own creativity–however limited you may perceive it to be–is also a valuable gift to yourself and beats standing in line any day!

A Holiday Revolution!

Many wasteful gifts are purchased every year because we feel bound by expectation or tradition. Paring down our gift list immediately results in more time for ourselves and makes less of an environmental impact. How about giving your friends permission to not give you gifts? Suggesting a dinner out in lieu of a material gift? Trading charitable donation certificates instead of votive holders at this year’s office gift swap? Initiatives such as Buy Nothing Christmas ( dare to suggest that we can celebrate the holidays without buying anything at all.

If skipping the mall altogether isn’t an option for you, buy gifts thoughtfully. Consumables such as food or beverages won’t end up at the back of a closet, while fair trade or green gifts bring a message of consciousness with them. Creative gift cards are one of my favourite ways to guarantee a useful gift: a cleaning service for a busy parent, an organic food delivery for your health-conscious sister, a spa treatment for a stressed-out friend. Bringing intention to our holiday purchases will help us retain our better judgment and make our gifts meaningful.

Reduce, Reuse, Regift?

Despite your best efforts to the contrary, you may still end up drowning in brand new clutter after the holidays. Take the shame out of reusing unwanted gifts by starting a new tradition: a mid-winter regifting party! Guests can be given names of recipients before the party, or it could be a regifting free-for-all. Leftover gifts can be donated to local charities, and you may leave with something that you wanted after all.

If the mania of holiday shopping threatens your sanity this December, just remember that the choice to simplify is in your hands.

4 Homemade Favourites:

  • personalized recipe booklets or calendars
  • spiced oils in hand-decorated bottles
  • cookies or other baked treats
  • framed photographs
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