5 ways to give without giving stuff this Christmas

Giving without giving stuff at Christmas? You’re probably thinking that it sounds a bit selfish. But think about it for a moment. By avoiding the purchase of that handbag, lampshade or ultimate dad-pack of socks and scorched peanuts, you avoid the shops. Which means you avoid those sharp-elbowed, grim-faced alpha-shoppers who are as adept at taking out your ankles with a trolley as they are at beating you to that final bargain.

There’s also the fact that your gift can’t be dug out weeks early from the back of the cupboard. And when you hand over your gift, you’ll be the one basking in the glow of thoughtfulness while your siblings squirm about giving gran another photo frame. And then there’s the issue of space. Unless you’re in the mood for purchasing a new storage rack (how romantic) or paying for an extra storey on the house, dialing back the material goods is something everyone will be thankful for. Unless your loved one is a closet hoarder.

But most of all, handing over something that won’t gather dust might make the world a better (less-cluttered) place, which has to be good karma. So here are five ways you can make un-giving an art form this Christmas.

couple cooking together

Remember writing IOUs for your mum and dad when you were younger? While it might seem childish, it might be time to whip out the coupon book again. Looking for a way to thank you neighbour during the festive season? Offer to mow their lawn during summer. Looking for a unique gift for your work mate or boss? Pre-pay for their morning coffee at your local cafe. Searching for something different for your partner? Think coupons for car washes, massages and home-cooked meals. Thoughtful gifts can make the biggest impact!

cinema tickets

It’ll take a little bit of sleuthing, a dash of cunning and some serious organisation, but giving a subscription to your theatre-loving mum or your football-mad dad will keep the kudos coming all year. Bear in mind that you’ll need to check whether the person getting the present can actually attend the shows. And grab a subscription yourself or check with some of their friends so that they’re not going alone.

Koala zoo

From tiny sea turtles and fledgling wedge-tailed eagles to echidnas, Tasmanian devils and sea lions, adopting an endangered species on behalf of your sister or brother will not only give them a warm, fuzzy feeling, you’ll be also be giving the next generation a chance to see the animal by sponsoring research and conservation efforts. That's why we've partnered with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for annual Aussie animal adoptions.

kids having fun

If your favourite sibling or friend has a bunch of screaming rug rats, the best present is obvious: a night of free babysitting. You might end up wanting to clamp pegs to your ears to dull the pain but you can bet that for the lucky recipient, it’ll be the most memorable evening of the year. 

mother and daughter scrapbooking

Yes, you could produce a bespoke card but surely you’ve moved on from Year 1 craft. Why not spend some time penning a witty song or poem about your nearest and dearest, recording it on your phone and uploading it to the net. Not only will it be there anytime anyone wants a laugh, but if you do it well enough you might be hearing from The X Factor.

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