I'm not sure where October went but we're now 50 days away from Christmas and it's time to start thinking about presents. I'm not particularly well organised with gifts but if you want to give things that are eco friendly or home made you do need to plan ahead a bit. Since starting this blog I've been quite successful in my green gifts; previous blogs are here and here.
The most important thing with presents (whether green or not) is that they're wanted. There's no point giving an organic cook book to someone who hates cooking just as there's no point giving a gift day at a race track to someone who doesn't drive on principle. Gifts should be something people want or need, and the green part should be an added extra, just like I buy washing up liquid and if I can find an eco-friendly type it's an added bonus. It shouldn't be a way of showing off green credentials!
Over the years some of my green gifts have been a bit hit and miss, but others have been a big success. I've been surprised by how many comments I receive through January and February about bulbs that I've given to friends and family. During those dark months it's nice to watch something grow, it remind me of the coming spring. So bulbs are something that I keep on giving, but with different plants each year. This is a present that can be planned last minute but the sooner you plant bulbs the sooner they'll flower and planting at the right time will help strong healthy growth. I'll be looking for bulbs (which are actually quite cheap) over the next few weeks and planting them up individually for family and friends before the start of December. A good money saver is to buy packs of bulbs and then pot them up yourself in decorated jam jars or recycled flower pots rather than buying the post bulb and vase/pot packs.
If plants don't do it for your friends and families why not have a hunt for local produce. Whether it's creating a mini hamper of jams, breads and cheese from the farmers market or buying a calendar from a local artist local often means unique and I definitely have more fun discovering unusual handmade items in little local shops than trawling through the high street. This gift idea works really well if you're travelling to visit people over the festive season. Our local supermarkets sell locally brewed ales and popping in to bulk buy for a variety of male relatives just before the long drive north saves hours of stress trying to pick a suitable pair of socks for each! They get interesting beers they enjoy and couldn't find near them; and I can give the same gift year after year as the local specialities change over time.
There's always the option of home made gifts which I have done a lot of in the past. The problem with this is you need to make sure you can create quality, but also that is likely to take a lot of time. I'm still deciding what to make or buy this year but I really like the look of these hand made notebooks. I often get notebooks from friends as gifts (and give them quite often too) and I always use them. It looks like a fun project which can be personalised easily to suite different tastes.
The last ideas I'm planning on trying this year is the themed goodie bag. Whether it's a kit of baking equipment or a selection of puzzles and games; collecting up lots of different little gifts to suit an individual's interests is a fun way of making an original present. Presentation is everything so whether it's separately wrapping ten little gifts for a niece or pilling lots of goodies into a hamper and wrapping with a bow for a parent changing the wrapping to fit the receiver is part of the fun. It also means you can combine second hand objects with newly bought one to make up a much loved selection that will give enjoyment for months rather than minutes.
So those are my ideas so far. I'm sure by December I'll be rushing around the ships looking for last minute gifts still but if I can find a few well thought out eco friendly gifts for those who will enjoy them I'll be happy. And still, there are 50 days left to go after all.