Today I tackled an AAGH zone.  The present cupboard (as opposed to the future and past cupboards) is both a help and a hindrance.

Yes, it is useful to be able to pick things up for friends and family, that moment when you see something and go “Yes!”  But there is also the temptation to buy random things in sales that you can “allocate” later.  I am often guilty of this.  There are a lot of children in our family and I have been wont to buy up books and toys in the sales and then wonder who to give them to.

Most things find happy homes, but there are a few items that have hung around for several years.  But still I have kept them in the vain hope that suddenly somebody will want the rather lovely carving set that came free with our knives.  A perfect example of the free gift you don’t want.  I still buy things when I see them and know that the person I have bought them for will love them and use them.  But all the other opportunistic purchases.  No.  Not anymore.  All I was doing was fooling myself I was getting a bargain when I was still being sucked in to the consumerist “need to have/need to buy”.  I bought two beautiful and very simple slipware tumblers for a friend.  They will suit their lifestyle and will be used.  They cost me 50P each in a closing down sale.  But who cares what the cost is?  They were bought with purpose and love not just because they were a bargain.

Then there is the wrapping paper.  Many years ago my mother and I wrapped all our presents in chinese and arabic newspapers.  Those were the days when Paris Match was exotic.  Since then I have usually wrapped presents in brown paper with red ribbon.  But that is still disposable.  We have moved on to bags, but the problem there is that you need to get the bag back in order to refill it for next year.

This is the current present cupboard.  The red box has presents that are allocated to specific people.  The pink file is my Christmas file, lists of presents I have given people over the past 10 years (with a lot of people to buy for it is important not to give a similar present two years in a row), recipes and decoration ideas etc.  Some crackers bought in the sale last year.  I think this ought to be the last year of crackers.  They are so very not zero waste.  Need to find an alternative.

The yellow bag has various things collected and made for Samaritan’s Purse  Christmas shoe boxes.

Soon it will be the Singers’ birthday.  They will be 15.  It is hard to have a mother who wants to stop buying when you are a teenager.  But I am proud to say they are on board.  Singer one doesn’t know what she wants for her birthday but she would like a really good pair of boots.  So we will buy boots in the autumn because as she says “there is no point buying something just for the sake of it when there is something I would like and use and can get later.”


4 thoughts on “present

  1. I have also moved away from gift wrapping papers – these days I use plain white tissue paper or plain brown paper. There’s still plenty of ribbon (or alternatives!) around and I have some cheap washi tape, too, so there’s still some personalisation and variety but it doesn’t bother me (too much) that it will all be binned. So chuffed to recently be able to wrap the pirate ship for my grandson in a spare bandana he can wear when he’s wielding his play sword! Zero-waste!!
    As for teenagers, my girls have been very good about our no longer buying gifts for the sake of it. Concert and show tickets go down well, as do festival passes. I’m planning to give my youngest daughter a few (rechargable) voucher cards to places like Starbucks or the cinema that she couldn’t affort to treat a friend to, otherwise, and small-sum voucher cards to shops she goes to without me, like H&M or other high street stores – these tend to last a while, too, once any birthday money has long been spent! Days out, their own choice, with the family are still popular, but not all teens will enjoy that suggestion ;o Special books or book sets have been well-received before now, and even a willingness to accept something like a new camera as a combined birthday/Christmas present, or combined birthday/graduation gift, either feeding an existing hobby or initiating a new, exciting one – I wonder what you will come up with for your Singers!!

  2. I either make them something I know they need, or I send them an e-card. Our family doesn’t have that many children, only and 8yr and then teenagers. The 8yr old is very happy to receive the e-cards and a quilt or something knitted or sewn. I like this. What a terrific idea! m.

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