It can be all too easy to become consumed with a little excess at this time of year. For some, Christmas is a season of abundance, and gift buying can often turn into a competition. ‘Who has bought the best present’, or ‘who has spent the most money’ are often internal, subtle questions that are inevitably tossed around, nulling the spirit of the season. This year, more than ever, I’m taking a step back from the commercial side of the festive season and really considering what I gift to my loved ones. I’m thinking quality over quantity, focusing on searching for that one special present that I know someone will love, rather than buying excessive throwaway stocking fillers.
Try to stay clear of generic gifts that offer no thought or consideration. When you’re choosing a gift for your partner, a family member or a friend, take the time to ponder what will really mean something to them. What could you give them that would put a huge smile on their face on Christmas morning? Be one of those people who prefer watching other people opening their gifts, to ripping open the wrapping on your own.
Give with intention, not just for the sake of it, thinking about gifts that will truly be treasured. A timeless jumper, head-wrap or cardigan may be kept forever, passed down to others as an heirloom piece. Buying from small, slow and sustainable brands such as Oubas feels much more special than panic-buying on the high street. A high-quality piece of knitwear is an investment; a gift that will keep on giving.
It doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot on presents for everyone on your list. Something small like a cosy pair of socks, a hand-poured candle or a notebook can be a valuable gift. Choosing to buy from independent shops and small makers, and really paying attention to the interests and loves of the person you are buying for makes a huge difference. A pair of hand-knitted socks are not the same as those hastily grabbed from the rail of a high street retailer.
I prefer to give one well-considered present to someone on Christmas morning, such as a beautifully wrapped knit, tied up with paper and string. Then, if you’re used to gifting stockings or multiple presents, you can carefully curate small, meaningful gifts to accompany the main surprise. To complement an Oubas jumper, I would give one of my favourite books for the recipient to read snuggled up indoors by the fire, a pack of their favourite herbal tea and a card containing the promise of a long walk together in the hills. Combined, this becomes more a gift of a particular ambiance or feeling. I would hope that the receiver of these gifts would begin to associate their new jumper with the smell of woodsmoke and the feeling of the wind blowing in their hair.
Think of your presence as opposed to presents this Christmas. Ending our long year of isolation and worries by really appreciating whatever time you can spend with family and friends - whether at home, on socially distanced walks or on Zoom. Try to be present and enjoy the individual moments that make up the festive season without putting all your focus on giving and receiving the perfect gifts.