Warning: Any best friends or family who don’t want to know what they are getting fro Christmas, LOOK AWAY NOW! For those of you who love the idea of alternative Christmas presents, keep on reading.
I remember when I was a kid, Oxfam released their first lot of alternative gifts. Buy a goat for an African family or the tools to grow their own crops. You know the kind of thing. Back in the late 90s and early 00s, it was all a little crazy and… well, alternative! Not buying a physical present for someone! Totally radical!
Nowadays, alternative has so many means. From the heavy metal music you listen to through to buying from Etsy, being alternative has almost become mainstream. Yet there is one area that still 100% deserves this title.
The Alternative People
Sustainability… Ethical-ness… Organic… Social Justice… It seems that instead of being separate causes now, they’re all overlapping. Today, it is difficult to read about environmental causes without overlapping with articles about poverty, health, or food. Pick any other topic and you can guarantee that there will be overlap with a whole range of themes and topics. This area of overlapping is where the truly alternative people live.
But what do you give an alternative person? Well, there is always the cute engraving on a tree trunk from Etsy. Or how about a bottle of elderflower wine from the local sustainable forager at the Farmers Market. However, there is just one problem with this particular breed of alternative-ness. Their interest in and love for whichever cause they are dedicated to also means they lose interest in “stuff”. The desire to own things often diminishes as they realise that the clothes/gadgets/food they love comes at a heavy cost.
I love jewellery! I am a total magpie. Anything shiny and silvery and simple is right up my alley. It was difficult to leave New Look without 2-3 new necklaces. Then I read about how metal is mined for jewellery. Overnight my magpie habit stopped.
The Real Alternative Gift
So what on earth do you get the alternative person with a conscience who doesn’t want to own more “stuff”? Well, you remember those alternative gifts from the 90s and 00s? They still exist! And more charities are doing so there is even a choice of which cause you can support.
Your best friend has turned vegetarian out of concern for global warming and sustainable consumerism? How about dedicating a tree to them with the Woodland Trust?
Those frustrating parents of yours, with no cupboard or shelf space left? Let them help someone else start a family with Present Aid’s Delivery Kit.
Know anyone who loves the poo emoji? Then this alternative gift from Oxfam is 100% perfect for them.
It doesn’t take much digging around to find the perfect alternative gift for every person. The question is why give to charity as a gift instead of giving someone you care about an actual gift?
The Gift that keeps on Giving
Give someone a new pillow and they might have a cuter sofa. The books they’ve asked for equals giving them hours of enjoyment. But give someone a dedicated tree in a woodland and you give them part of the solution to global warming. Or give a pile of poo to donate to a family in Africa, which will enable them to grow the food they need to live.
When you give your nearest and dearest a charitable alternative gift, you don’t just avoid giving them more “stuff”. You also enable them to contribute to the causes nearest to their heart. When you dig deep down into what it means to be human, there is a part of us that longs to give. There is also a part of use that wants, wants, wants. So make the decision for them to give. Help them to access the part of themselves that longs to make this world that gives.
Okay, there is that little part in your friends and family who will be gutted they didn’t get a “stuff” gift. So give them a little something. A poo emoji cushion for the poo emoji lover. Maybe a box of fancy vegan chocolates for the environmentalist. How about a nice bottle of something for your parents? For those friends who wouldn’t naturally think of alternative Christmas presents, letting them know you haven’t completely forgotten about them.
The Alternative Christmas Message
Every year we hear about the consumerism of Christmas. This year, send out an alternative Christmas message. ‘Tis the season for giving as well as receiving. So instead of buying yet another bath bomb or box of chocolates for your girl friends, dedicate a tree to them. It’ll last longer and give the whole world oxygen too.
Alternative Christmas gifts truly are the gifts that keep on giving.
The post Alternative Christmas Gifts that Keep on Giving first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.