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NDG | Give Less, Love More, Make Memories Not Garbage!

Updated: Apr 12

Every year my family makes a decision to give less gifts than the year before; last year we decided to do a draw for the adult gifts so we only had to buy 1, aside from presents for the children. This year we decided to do away with adult gifts altogether, in the spirit of the season we will be donating money to charity instead. Our gift to each other is our time; looking forward to salt cod for breakfast on Christmas morning, cozy cups of afternoon tea, followed by glasses of red wine by the fireplace after our human nuggets go to bed. My family isn’t strapped for cash, we’re all comfortably middle class, we have everything we need and then some, but it seems that over the years we’ve all grown less and less comfortable with the idea of ‘stuff ‘. According to a Facebook thread on the Bad Moms Facebook group, a lot of families are beginning to feel the same way.

Gifts can be meaningful, they can be helpful, or meant to surprise and delight, so by all means give those gifts; but perusing Amazon or Walmart to find something/anything to give, because you feel an obligation to, is not only a waste of money and time, but is also just downright irresponsible. We buy gifts for the children but even then, the toys end up in the corner within the week, so buy the 1 thing they want more than anything and give them things they need. Stockings filled to the brim with silly plastic trinkets, single use packaged goods like cosmetics and candy, what’s the point of all this stuff? There is a reason we give so much, giving actually makes the giver happy, but perhaps we should be focusing less on the amount that we give and more on the quality of the gift. Some families have rules to Christmas shopping like a maximum price per person, or the 4 gift rule: something they want, something they need, something to learn, and something to read; others stipulate the gifts must be handmade or second hand. These rules reduce spending, keep Christmas within a reasonable budget, as well as make the buyers more conscious of what they are giving.

This year, review your consumer habits and think about giving things that have less of an impact on our planet and more of an impact on the receiver. I like to pop into Encore Books(5670 Sherbrooke St W), the local 2nd hand bookstore, looking for children’s books and have often found books that look brand new.

Making gifts is a good way to go, and you don’t have to be particularly crafty to do this. There are so many resources on the internet for easy DIY gifts, and if you don’t know where to start, head to Pinterest and search ‘DIY gifts’. One year I made my brother and father a homemade after-shave from Spiced Rum which they both loved. Coop La Maison-Verte(5785 Sherbrooke St W) is hosting DIY gift workshops for the holidays, follow them on Facebook for updates; your fee will include materials so you get to learn something new and take away a gift for someone on your list.

Another thoughtful and responsible idea is to give experiences rather than things; pay for music lessons (check out NDG Music School) or swimming lessons at the Community Centers or the YMCA. Finally, give responsibly and sustainably and try to shop locally; choose products that are not packaged in 8 different layers of plastic and foam, choose fair trade organic chocolate over Nestle goods. Often these items are more expensive but the quality is superior, so give less and let that be OK! Make memories not garbage!

Happy Holidays NDG!


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