Give the ultimate gift this Christmas.
Forget the long list of presents to buy. Ditch the Christmas wish list. This year, I want to challenge you to be brave and different.
Personally, I’ve always thought that Christmas was a huge opportunity for shops to make heaps of money - whilst not really thinking about the core whakaaro around what christmas really is.
Some people get really anxious when the holiday season comes up, especially if you know that you can’t afford to make ends meet, let alone buy presents for people. After the record cost of living this year, I don’t blame you.
My brother moved over to the UK when I was about 8. Since then, Christmas has always been about seeing him. I’d trade all the gifts in the world to be able to hang out with my big brother. In fact, my small immediate family (my mum, brother and I) don’t always bother with gifts. Sometimes we find something that we think the other person will really appreciate, and if we can, we will get it. Other times, money is tighter and we won’t.
We’ve normalized this though over the past few years, something I hope to encourage you to do as well. Why? Because there’s so much more to Christmas than having to fill a rubbish bag with wrapping paper. Each year, 25% more household rubbish is created during the Christmas season, equating to roughly 25 million extra tonnes of waste.
Just for you, I’ve collected a few of my favourite ways to tackle the Christmas holidays. You don’t have to be as quirky as my family is with normalising no gifts at all, but there are a few things you can do to help ease some of the pressure this year.
Normalise talking about putea. I get that it can be tough in whanau where incomes and peoples financial situations are completely different. In saying this, we don’t know what we don’t know. Start having conversations very early on about how you wish to celebrate Christmas with your whanau. Remember that just because you’ve done things a certain way, doesn’t mean that evolution cannot occur. Kia kaha, kia manawanui.
My second tip is to buy things throughout the year. Personally, I like to buy gifts I find for people throughout the year. At the bottom of my wardrobe is a small box I keep them in. Each birthday, or kirihimete - I’ll go through the box. Even if it doesn’t sort all of the gifts, it does help by easing the amount remaining to get.
The other tip to plan for Christmas is to automate it. If you are a family who likes to travel for christmas, or you just wont otherwise be able to manage gifts - then a christmas savings account will work wonders. It could be $20 a week, which would turn into $1k in a year, everything helps.
Get involved in Christmas clubs. A lot of retailers are using some pretty cool rewards systems when it comes to Christmas clubs. Don’t miss out on a few dollars here, and a few dollars there - it can really add up.
Go handmade. My favourite thing to do for Christmas is to be old school creative, get in the kitchen - do some baking, make a gift, or even do something as simple as a letter. Get the kids involved, you can really have some fun with this one. Be creative!
If you’re still feeling like you just really want to spoil someone you love - my last tip is to at least shop local. By shopping locally, you are investing in a small local business. The business will be grateful for your support, and your loved one will have more of a quirky story than a generic gift.
If you’re still really worried about the Christmas season, please also know that it is perfectly okay to just opt out of traditional Christmas celebrations and do your own thing. You dictate how you live your life, you make the decisions sis! As I continue to grow, I learn more and more what’s important to me. Much to my 6 year olds shock horror, I no longer care for pretty and pink but will always opt in for aroha, manaakitanga and whanau.
Remember the important things this year and ignore everything else.
Te Kahukura Boynton
20 Years old, Podcaster, Blogger, Social Media Content Creator