Smart Christmas gift guide
When it comes to Christmas, it seems while we might be a little thriftier, we’re still a nation of big spenders. The latest retail figures from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) predict Australians will spend an incredible $46 billion on Christmas presents this festive season. And the ARA is predicting that particular categories such as clothing, accessories and footwear are expected to go gangbusters.
For many of us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the tradition of giving and receiving. But with statistics from Galaxy Research revealing 71 per cent of Australians received unwanted presents in 2015 – almost 21 million in total – maybe it’s time to cut down on the Christmas excesses, gift smarter and give a little-bit-something back.
Here are five ways to avoid buying unwanted gifts this Christmas and in the process, put some joy back into your shopping experience.
1. Shop locally
If the thought of heading to your nearest mall the week before Christmas fills you full of dread, it’s time to support your local community. Small local businesses and self-employed neighbours selling online rely on seasonal trade and are often a great source of unique and interesting gifts. From handmade jewellery, homewares and artwork, to locally produced artisan delicacies, you’ll find a merry wealth of genuine gift inspiration right on your doorstep.
2. Gift a goat
At this time of year, the large international development agencies such as Oxfam and World Vision offer an array of online charity Christmas gift cards. From contributions towards sustainable farming and sanitation projects to education initiatives, gifts such as these go towards reducing poverty both in Australia and overseas.
Oxfam Unwrapped is especially clever at combining quirky and fun Christmas branding with gifts that really make a difference. So you can gift a goat this Christmas, or a well, or a reading class. Starting at $10, there’s something to suit everyone. You can choose to send a personalised card, an e-card or even download a card to print at home (which is handy if you’ve left your shopping to the last minute).
3. Create memories
Gift vouchers for memorable experiences make great presents, as there’s something special about helping to create memories. Again, support your local restaurants, cinemas, day spas or even photographers by buying vouchers as gifts.
For maximum Santa brownie points, splash out on vouchers for a Red Balloon experience, or an Adrenaline rush for the thrill seekers in your family. There are literally hundreds of experiences at your fingertips from wine tasting master classes and dinner cruises to V8 racing adventures and hot air balloon rides. Experiences are available right across Australia. And for those who are Homeloans customers, your membership of the Member Advantage benefits program offers some great discounts.
4. Get creative
Making your own presents isn’t for everyone. But with just a little bit of effort, getting creative can be really quick and easy – and affordable. There are thousands of traditional Christmas treat recipes online for favourites such as truffles, chocolates and fudge. Head to your local $2 shop for some jars and ribbons and you instantly have a present made with love. Inspiration site Pinterest is also a treasure trove of festive homemade gift ideas.
Creative photo presents are always a winner too. Print off and frame some family photos or create a special photo album for a timeless and meaningful gift. Online sites such as PosterCandy even let you upload photos straight from your social media to create stylish collages.
Finally, gifts to educate and inspire are rarely a disappointment. From the latest bestsellers on Booktopia, magazine subscriptions, and craft kits to inspire new interests such as lampshade making, to the latest mind-expanding toy from Australian Geographic, the chances of a re-gift would have to be close to zero.
How are you going to gift smart this Christmas?
Comment your ideas below!