Of course the holidays aren’t about gifts. Who said they were?? Gifts shmifts. We’re above that, right? It’s all about feelings and togetherness and kumbaya, man. Yessirree Bob it surely is. Still, I have the feeling that if a few gifts don’t cross a few palms there will be some questionable vibes floating around amongst the joy and the shortbread crumbs.
Having said that… there’s no rule about what the gift should be and between you, me and the lamppost, I don’t like shopping and most of the people I know already have too much stuff. (Books don’t count. We all need books.)
So for the past few years I’ve been moving to non-stuff gifts (except for books, which, just to make it crystal clear, are NOT included in the ‘stuff’ category, not in any land or galaxy because, among other things, and unlike stuff, they’re fun to buy).
I was, therefore, super chuffed when a friend recently sent me a list of “Out of the Box” gift ideas. Nothing especially mind-blowing, but that’s the point: to consider some of the basic things that everybody needs but don’t treat themselves to. Like new underwear, only better.
— gift certificate to an art supply store
— or hair salon, barber
— garden centre
— car detailing (someone to clean my car—they do that??)
— lawn mowing service
— snow ploughing
— ski hills/trails
— restaurants, cafes, diners, bistros, a really great mom & pop breakfast joint
— house-cleaning for a day
— window washing service for spring
— eavestrough cleaning for fall
— local art, pottery, scarves, jewellery, etc.
— subscription to local theatre
— membership to museum, gallery
— chimney cleaning
Lots there to appeal to mums and dads, grandparents or older friends/relatives who have mown enough lawns and cleaned enough gutters that the lustre has faded a little from those particular DIY jobs… and it helps support small businesses.
Then there’s food: homemade preserves, baked things (markets sell this stuff year-round), or (for people you really like): Community Supported Agriculture and similar farm programs that deliver baskets of fresh veggies all summer. There’s magazine subscriptions and favourite charities of course. And donkeys… You get the idea.
So here’s to keeping out of the malls and, as much as possible, supporting community and independent retailers, book shops… and always, always… FARMERS!