To avoid 'Bah Humbug!' type accusations I restrained myself before Christmas and resisted posting a link to 'The Gift of Death', But I've done it now. Ha! It's an article by George Monbiot about the type of pathological consumption that is rife over the festive period, a wise and considered piece of writing by a favourite journalist. In particular he despairs about people buying tat that is designed to raise a smirk or two but is otherwise useless. Don't many of those Secret Santa present fall into this category?
I'm not going to come over all Grinch-like here. Giving and receiving gifts that have been chosen with care is wonderful. Lou is always surprising me with thoughtful little presents from his travels and I'm delighted. I'm easy. I'm a sucker for beautiful soap, lovely food and drink and pretty things for the house. Some of the loveliest things I've been given are those that people no longer have a use for themselves. I'm just about to receive a rocking chair from Red Mel that isn't a good fit with her new home. I'm very excited about that one.
I wonder if the Christmas problem can be rectified by accumulating presents over the year rather than being bought in a massive rush on a busy day in December. By starting to think about gifting in January there is plenty of time to make stuff or hunt down things for each person that are well thought out and fit with that William Morris mantra about usefulness and/or beauty. Here's something that I gave this Christmas that I think meets these criteria. I bought two of these wash bags that depict the scene of Brixham harbour. They're made in the UK and are exclusive to Doris, a wonderful local store. These won't be going in landfill anytime soon. Their recipients were delighted!