All I Want for Christmas Is…

Remember the Mastercard ad? The one where the toddler is having more fun playing with the box that her expensive toys arrived in, rather than actually playing with her new toys? Well, according to this research, perhaps she’s onto something?

In 2011, £594 million was spent on unwanted Christmas gifts in the UK – at least 1 in 10 of the gifts the average person received was not really what they wanted.

And 1.5 million brand new items were listed on eBay Boxing Day 2011.

Research by swapit.co.uk in December 2010 found that almost 90% of under 18’s would be happy to receive fewer presents to help ease financial concerns for their family.

It really hit home for me the other day when hubby made Tyson (3 1/2) a paper aeroplane. Tyson spent literally hours playing with it – mesmerised by hubby’s skillful handywork. He even wanted to sleep with it… and it’s still one of his most prized possessions.

So the message this Christmas is clear… As you agonise over what to buy your friends & family, know that they probably won’t like their presents anyway. So, how can you capture the true Christmas spirit and feel good about Christmas Shopping? Here are my tips:

1. Shop ethical. This guide gives you the low-down on every store’s social and environmental record so you can support stores who get it right and avoid those who don’t.

2. Buy a cow. Seriously. If you don’t know what to give your Uncle, how about purchasing a cow, or school resources, or a vege garden for a poor community in his name? There are a number of organisations doing this, like World Vision, Compassion and Tear.

3. How about donating some of your planned Christmas spending to a local food bank? Then if your aunty isn’t really into the ornament you painstakingly chose for her, at least you can feel good knowing that someone, somewhere is having a Happy Christmas thanks to you.

And don’t forget to carry out a Random Act of Christmas, if you get the chance. It might just change someone’s life!

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