The spirit of Christmas


While Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, there can also be heaps of pressure on us to spend money on gifts and presents. Sometimes this can put additional and unnecessary pressure on us at a time that should be about other things. This year there is a much greater push for Christmas to be more sustainable and more embracing of a commitment to quality time rather than quantity of gifts. So, here’s some tips to help you achieve that goal.

Give the gift of time. If you can spare time to babysit, garden, cook a meal or clean house for a family member or friend, then give the gift of vouchers offering however much time you can spare. New mums would love a few hours with their feet up and older family members always appreciate a helping hand in the garden or around the home. Plus, you may get the bonus of spending quality time with that person.

Bake or make! Who doesn’t love home baking, jam or preserves particularly at Christmas when people are popping in and there’s pressure to open the baking tins. There are some great recipes on the internet for home baked or made goods that will last in the cupboard and with some simple home made packaging they can look fantastic.

Second hand/Vintage! Who doesn’t enjoy a rummage around a second-hand shop or on Trade Me for a bargain. Sometimes you can pick-up brand-new items or fabulous vintage items for a fraction of the cost of new. Enjoy a few hours poking around the shops to see what gems you can come across.

Give Memories. Half way through the year it’s the memories that we treasure, not the gifts we got for Christmas. Come up with some great experiences where you and your friends or family can get together and enjoy a special time that might not cost a lot. A picnic on the river or a day at the park will mean as much to many people as an expensive present. So, give the promise of an amazing New Year experience to look forward to.

Upcycle. If you have old toys, books or jewellery that are no longer a firm favourite then maybe now’s the time to think about sharing them with someone else. There’s an old saying – one mans junk is another mans treasure and while we’re not suggesting you give away tired or broken items, we’re sure there are some well preserved items in your cupboard that you no longer love. Think how many times you have been given a second-hand book that has changed your thinking – that’s what we’re talking about here! If you live in Auckland try a Mercy Hospice Shop.

So, don’t feel pressure to spend money you don’t have.  Look at ways to give treats that will bring a different kind of joy.

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