Are you pissed off with –
- the subtle ( read: explicit) pressure of gift-exchange any festival calls for
- the ostentatious celebrity-weddings/parties
- vanishing of simpler days of gift-exchange?
And, looking for alternative ways to expensive presents?
Then hop along ‘cause I’m on the same boat. And listed down 11 alternatives that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
If you’re too embarrassed to own this “minimalist” approach, call it
“beta testing of Christmas gift-exchange tradition”.
Everybody will love it without getting offended!
Related read: No-gift Christmas
1. Campaign for “Humane” Christmas
Just declare (albeit nicely) in your social circle that this year- you’re pulling in money to giving foods to stray animals in your locality- thus putting a hold on “gift exchange” this year.
Rather, ask others to contribute. Label it as humane Christmas.
2. Teach a technical skill
Whether you teach your aunt the magic of e-wallet or your father-in-law the nitty-gritty of digital painting– teaching a technical skill to someone who is tech-jinxed ( *pointing fingers towards me, myself*)- is in the spirit of Christmas.
3. Teach a financial skill
Teach the close ones of about investment, the stock market and cumulative wealth generation- given you’ve sound knowledge about them in the first place.
4. Teach a life-skill
…Especially if he/she/<insert gender> a kid.
- Basic hygiene,
- first-aid care,
- money saving and
- easy household chores (don’t discriminate on gender).
5. Create a “basic healthy” hamper
Without gifting someone a tray of imported organic seeds (yes, they are bloody expensive in India), why not put together a basic, functional “healthy-living” kit?
I mean instead of expensive perfume, you can put together a kit consisting-
- hot bag,
- floss, herbal tea for cold & cough etc.
6. Do babysitting for few hours
This is I’m planning to do for my sis-in-law. She is a new (read: exhaustive) mother and would appreciate ( I hope) to have few hours of free time when the baby is in a trusting care.
Replace two-legged baby with four-legged one (sorry, can’t help being frivolous) and anyone would wipe tears of joy for your pet-care service too.
7. Gift second-hand classics
Do you have got paperback classic on shelf- gathering dust?
Turn it into hardcover, wrap it up nicely and present on Christmas to your bookworm friend, with an artistic personal note.
See, making a genuine reader happy is that simple!
8. Pledge to “buddy-do” something till next Christmas
How about buddy-reading 12 classics till next Christmas or kickstart/ exchanging notes/ keeping each other in the loop of New Year’s weight loss journey?
9. Give someone your attention
As I’m growing older, attention is something I crave more from the ones I love (geez, I sound like a mellow cat lady for sure).
As I want them, I’m believing in Mimetic Desire theory.
Whether it’s giving a patient ear to your father venting out about the government or listening to your aunt talking about “empty nest” syndrome, do it.
It’s just for few minutes (okay, 1 hour at max) and would brighten up someone’s Christmas.
10. Gift a subscription for something useful/ online course
If you’re in any of the metros in India, chances are you’d find some online book rental libraries in your city.
I Googled and found out that one of the drop-and-pick libraries in my city offers 10 in exchange of Rs. 600/month.
If you don’t have the “teaching” streak in you (many of us don’t), then gifting someone an online course would be wonderful.
All the MOOCs (including Udemy) offers discounted courses during the holiday season.
11. Barter/ recycle in lieu of gifts
This I did a year ago on Christmas. One of the popular bloggers on my timeline opened a Christmas second-hand gift exchange thread.
Obviously, most of us exchanged books.
Or, how about recycling things and gifting them in the garb of eco-friendliness? .
- hand-painted milkshake bottles as flower vases,
- totes from old newspapers etc.
Even if you whip up your DIY skill after watching countless YouTube videos, anybody with a heart would love a handmade product.
Did you love the gift-items I listed above? What’s your favorite “reasonably-priced” gift item for a loved one on Christmas? Do let me know.