Apart from it a being a time for family gatherings, business/school dinners and the inevitable gain of weight composed mainly by roasts and candy canes, some of you might think that this time of the year got a little too commercial and that, to some extent, the whole purpose behind Christmas or Valentine's Day is to spend way too much money in super fancy presents. Sometimes it even becomes some sort of competition – which is pretty crazy considering this is all about being together and having a fun time.
Last year, I suggested the Secret Santa game at work. Since we were having staff dinner I thought it was a great idea to add something more individual from every person who was attending; we set a maximum spending price and did the draw. It was fun and simple and I recommend you to do it with your school mates, colleagues, friends, sports team…
Now coming back to the actual presents, I know it can be exhausting to step into the shopping mall with a list of names that just seems to have no end and burn your credit card in the process, wondering if they’re even going to use/like what you bought. This is not counting your Christmas Eve and New Year's outfits and all the party nights with the excuse of the festivities along the way. Because I’ve been there and January is a very boring month to also be broke, I suggest you to consider two different types of presents that cannot be found in any shop and might even be (almost) free.
Obviously I’m not telling you anything new, these gifts are experiences and self-made presents. I guess some people might think they’re not good at crafts or they can’t come up with a cool experience. BUT, there is a lot more to it than you think.
First of all, our family/friends will love us the same regardless whether we spend more or less money on them and in my case, experiences can last a lifetime and a self-made present is something I’ll always have a soft spot for because it’s just so sweet that someone actually took the time and effort to make something for me and there is no way I could underestimate that.
I came across a website once that very rightly claimed that a good gift is anything to nibble, sip, read, watch, learn, laugh, smell, relax, pamper, sweat and love. Nothing to dust.
An experience can be to take them to their favourite spot in town or somewhere from where you can see the sunset or sunrise, sign a pledge (and make sure to commit!), prepare a surprise party, book to do a weekend trip with them during the less busy months, experience vouchers always have some really good discounts, memberships for museums, zoo or botanical gardens, lessons of any sort, tickets for a concert or theatre… Just make sure you set yourself a budget, choose carefully and finally don’t get into any kind of subscriptions or memberships that will charge your giftee.
A self-made present can be a CD with their favourite songs or a collection of movies, a collage with pictures of you together or you can decorate a frame with one of them, there are plenty of ideas in the net to help you create awesome designs. For the ones who say “the way to a man’s heart it’s through his stomach” can get a basket, decorate it somehow and fill it up with food – sweet and simple. You can also your skills, if you’re good at cooking or painting it would be a pleasure to create something as a gift, just find the time to prepare and don’t leave it for the last minute!!
I came across a couple of great sites: here for 39 useful DIY ideas, awesome gifts in a jar here and here, a little more simple ideas for guys and this is a lovely present you can make with a dock of cards!
Check it out for something different and don’t forget that if you live in Brussels or Flanders tomorrow is the last day of bidding for our Huiskamerconcerten project for an unforgettable Christmas experience!
"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year" Charles Dickens