What are your plans for Christmas? I’ve just booked five relaxing nights at Champneys, all alone! I’ve left it late because I wanted to see how my leg was. I didn’t want to go and be unable to do all the exercises! But leg is starting to heal now. It feels different and it’s starting to look better, too.
For the first time ever, I won’t be with Evie at Christmas. After a year long trip around the world, her Daddy is back and is giving me a well earned rest. Of course I’ll miss her, but I’m excited to have a very different kind of Christmas.
So, all this time in bed has given me space to think about Christmas, gifts, why we do it, what we want from it, what we want others to get from it. I’ve come up with a few solutions that may help you have a great and expansive festive season.
A free Christmas
The world is in total financial meltdown, yet there are many people who are taking out those “payday loans” at massive percentage interest rates, to buy gifts for their loved ones. Why do any of us put our “security” at risk and get into debt for the sake of a present, when it isn’t needed and it might not even be appreciated? So we don’t let people down? So we can pretend to our children that everything’s OK and money hasn’t become more illusive than unicorn poo? To keep up with the Joneses? To save face? To feel good in the way that only retail therapy can make us feel good? Well, whatever the reason, it doesn’t make January feel great, when there is a debt that’s a struggle to pay off.
So what’s the alternative? To get real, to get creative and to get excited about all the possibilities that exist outside of the monetary system.
If you’re strapped for cash this year, how about doing these things that cost you nothing, zero ziltch, yet give the receiver riches beyond words?
Create a voucher system, where you offer something appropriate to your receiver, to be “cashed in” when they require it. For a relative, it could be an odd job or a month of making Sunday dinner for them. If your receiver is someone you know more intimately, you could give a series of super home spa treatments, including the scrubbing down and wrapping up stuff if you dare!
Not mushroom for rubbish gifts
Go mushroom picking with an expert. Get edible mushrooms, slice them, dry them in your dehydrator or in an oven that’s on a low setting, and pack them up in pretty jars or bags.
I love yew!
Pick loads of yew berries. Take the poisonous pip out of them, dehydrate them, thread them onto about 30cm of cotton, tie it and give as edible wild necklace sweets. Or if that’s too much effort, make bracelets, they’re smaller.
Pick lots of sage, lavender and rosemary from your garden. Tie them into small bouquets and dry for a few weeks. They make great additions to outdoor or indoor fires, to clear the space around you. Or they can be hung in airing cupboards, shoe cupboards and wardrobes to keep things really fresh.
We all have clothes we don’t wear any more. Get together with your mates for an evening and swaparama instead of buying gifts.
Write a poem, song or story for and about the receiver of your gift. If you’re super talented, record it as an MP3 and email it and you don’t even need to pay for paper and ink!
Clear your glut
If you have a glut of any foods that you’ve dried, such as apple rings or even beetroot, you can pack them up in brown paper bags and seal them with odd old ribbons.
A shoestring Christmas
These gifts cost a tiny bit, and the reward in giving is huge!
I’m dreaming of a white chocolate, from Evie’s Kitchen (book)
Raw chocolates, of course!
Make raw chocolates for your loved ones. How about pecans dipped in raw chocolate? Or dried cherries coated in white raw chocolate? Or what about truffles, rolled in raw lucuma powder with a dried wild flower on top? The possibilities are endless. You can wrap them up in coloured tissue paper and present them in an old jar with a piece of cloth on top, like olden days marmalade. I’m not biased. It’s true, people tell me all the time.
Adopt an animal
There’s always so much love for these animals, whether they are donkeys at a sanctuary or endangered tigers. It costs just a few pounds but you really make a difference.
A bling Christmas
This is the age of love, and so your gifts need to come from the heart. How about these suggestions:
Embrace raw chocolate superfood hamper!
Saying it with chocolates isn’t a new idea, but saying it with raw chocolates is fast becoming the thing to do. With all the chocolatey things that light you up, it may be hard to actually, erm… give this hamper away… Maybe get two? And yes, raw chocolate deserves to be on this list twice.
Buy rainforest land
No, not for your friends to live no, but land that will then be protected for ever from development. I’ve done this a few time for Christmas. I bought £500 of rainforest and sent a copy of the certificate to all my rellies.
Again, you can’t live on it (not without a big hassle) but you can buy it to protect it and you can go stay there and make it gorgeous.
So that’s it.
Those are my suggestions that will suit all pockets. Gifts of love, from the heart for a beautiful time of year. Have a gorgeous festive time, and do let me know what you get up to.