The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gift Giving

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The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gift Giving

I know what you’re thinking: cue the theme song… the Grinch is here. I promise I’m not! I love the smell of Christmas trees and candy canes, watching people salivate over elaborate feasts, and hearing cackles of laugher over Christmas crackers. Gift giving is my very favourite part- when done right by the planet.

Being an anti-consumer doesn’t mean you must sit around the tree, arms folded, eyes closed, as you flatly reject or give gifts (though that would make for a laugh). Anti-consumerism is refusing to give in to the idea that we must buy gifts for the sake of gifting them. No one needs more shit in their life than they already do, and Christmas has turned into one big shit-giving day that leaves rubbish bins filled to the brim, and storage cupboards bursting at the seams. It’s easier than you think to hit the unsubscribe button without your family feeling like you’re stingy. Growing, making, and planning gifts show your friends and family you’ve actually thought about them. Welcome, shit-un-subscribers, to the Anti-Consumer’s Guide to Christmas Gift Giving.

The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gifts

1. Grow a gift 

Gifting flowers, plants, or herbs is a great way to please that green thumbed friend of yours, brighten things up, or inspire green living. They are a long-lived gift, something they will enjoy far beyond Christmas day. Many years ago, I bought a ‘love fern’ for one of my best friends at high school. We still talk about it!

You have options:

  • Source the seeds a month beforehand. Raise it in a pot so that it is ready for the gift receiver to plant straight into their garden when Christmas comes
  • Buy an assortment of seeds and put them in cute brown draw string bags. Label them artistically and include instructions for how it thrives best
  • Find a unique pot from the second-hand shop and replant one of your own plants that will prosper well in a pot
  • Pop herbs into tin cans with soil, and hang in a basket or wooden pallet

The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gift Giving - Grow a Gift

2. Make a gift

It’s time to get crafty! I don’t care if you can’t knit, sew, or think DIY is just for girls. Making something doesn’t have to involve arts and crafts or baking cookies (although these are great ideas). You can equally pop to the tool shed. Think of something they need, or if in doubt, google. Making something usually saves you money, but adds so much more real value. These days everyone is so eternally busy. Giving someone your time by making them something thoughtful is going to show you love and appreciate them.

The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gift Giving - Make a gift

Here are some ideas:

 3. Plan a gift

The ultimate anti-consumer’s gift… doesn’t involve a gift. Say what?! I’m talking about an adventure, an experience, something that you’ve bought tickets to or plans tailored to the person you’re gifting. Bonus points for joining them in the experience and having fun together! If you’re not close, arrange for one of their best buds to go along too. A pair of socks, or a crazy experience? Easy answer.

The Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas Gift Giving - Plan an 'experiential' non-material gift

Think about what environment and activity makes them most happy, and go from there. Here are some non-material experiential gift ideas:

  • Day hike
  • Concert tickets
  • White water rafting
  • Camping trip
  • Bungy jumping
  • Trip to their favourite café
  • Dinner and a movie
  • Second-hand shop hop
  • Play tourist in your own city for the day
  • A day at the spa
  • Tickets to a sporting event
  • Rock climbing passes
  • Winery tour
  • Trip to the local dog rescue
  • Volunteer tree planting day
  • Spontaneous road trip
  • Snowboarding adventure

This year I will commence my spot in the living room, right in the middle of the wrapping paper pile, flattening folding and scavenging everything I can. My two-year-old niece will extend her arms out, already trained to give her rubbish to Aunty Kate. I’ll be gifting experiences, plants, DIY concoctions, and ethically made gifts. I’m hitting un-subscribe on Christmas consumerism. What about you?

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