Gift Giving Guidelines for 2015

Over the past few years, we have dramatically changed the way in which we consume in this family.  So much of what we own is second hand, and a lot of it has been spruced up to suit our style. I started a Facebook page last week to chronicle some of my projects – Flair Enough.  The name of the page implies a few things I am passionate about – fair trade, enoughism (we have enough, we don’t need to succumb to the pull of thinking we need more), supporting local, and working with one’s own hands to create something. I am saddened that we live in a society that, to a great extent, values the glitz of shiny packaging and plastic over the innovation of resourceful creativity.  I have enjoyed many projects where I reclaim something that was no longer wanted, and transformed it into something we use, enjoy and others always notice. The latter is never my motivation, but it always happens. Resourceful resonates with the people I know, because there is a fascination with many regarding the simple act of transforming someones trash into a delightfully practical addition to our home.

This year, I am going to try and focus on transforming our gift giving for birthdays,  births, weddings, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s days… My aim is to do one of the following things when it comes to giving gifts:

1.  Shop at home first – Use what we already have in our present box.

2. Buy second hand – Often times you can find new things that have been thrown away, or at the very least, a great quality second-hand item that can be repurposed or given flair.

3. Support local – A beautiful gift of flowers or condiments from the farmers markets, or pieces from local designers are a much better choice than mass produced plastic.

4.  Experiences – Rather than the standard fare of plastic, an experience is a great gift alternative.

5.  Make it – Handmade is a winner with me, and I believe this to be true for many.  To be honest, I am not sure of how well I will go with this one, because I do have a boom or bust reputation with all things handmade, be it crafty or cooking. Sometimes I nail it, other times, it is catastrophic. Like the time I posted a photo to Facebook of a caramel slice I made. I asked people to guess what it was. Lasagne they said.

I guess at the end of the day, I think we have enough of the stuff that they keep trying to sell us more of. I like to put a lot of thought into gifts, but I find that it is hard when others do not share the values that I hold to, so I then crumble under the weight of invisible expectations and buy the sub-standard gift.

I will leave you with this print I found at the thrift store on the weekend, which serves as a wonderful reminder to us.  I wonder if you will consider joining me on this journey?




Trashy Treasures

Birthday parties – if you have kids, you know the drill. Kids get excited because they know they get to stuff their face with all the food you rarely allow them to eat and they can behave pretty much anyway they like, because seriously, who gets told off at a birthday party?! Before they leave they receive a party bag, filled with even more of those things that we don’t want them to eat – red lollies.  Thanks for that.  Zing-zing the day away.

When I go to some of these parties the gift opening ceremony makes me squirm a bit!  Have you ever looked closely at the expressions on the faces of the kids as they watch the procession of boxes passing them by?  Gift after gift being handed to the same kid, and that kid doesn’t even share! They watch longingly and try to hold their emotions together and smile.  I know what they are really thinking, and it’s not “I am so happy that Fred is getting all the things I wish I had.” These kids do well to resist their urges to tear open the wrapping and do a runner with the loot. Bless those parents who save the gift opening until the guests have gone home.

We don’t take out a second mortgage to buy gifts for such parties.

Because there are so many parties to go to at the moment we are giving trash.  The boys have a prized possession, cute little trash cans that they received from our friend filled with sweets at Christmas.  They store all kinds of treasures in them.

We have been buying these little trash cans and the boys decorate them with stickers and fill them with stamps, novelty erasers and other fun things that kids this age just love.  So far they have worked a treat, and the lads love putting this gift together for their friends.

In saying all of that, it’s my birthday next week and I don’t want a trashy treasure can unless its filled with enough money to buy an iPad.