Before you hit "check out" on any of the year-end sales online or pick up something on impulse because you're tight on time... Always remember that meaningful, well thought out gifts make the biggest impact.
The Christmas gifts I remember were handmade or thoughtfully picked out - a handsewn doll from my mother and a book from my father (who endearingly went to Books Actually at their original Ann Siang Hill location and asked them for help to pick a book for 16-year-old me! - He left the shop with a copy of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"... aww!)
When it comes to year-end gifting, I stick by this motto:
- Shop early, shop small, shop local
- Gift experiences over things
(And this year, I've added another line - shop secondhand!)
1. Shop (rather, plan) early
Take a leaf from Santa -- make a list and check it twice! Planning gifts early means you won't shop on impulse. That's a big plus! Pay attention to your recipient's lifestyle, personality, and needs, and find an item that fits them.
I just want to add here that we don't have to SHOP at all. For example, I once admired my grandmother's assorted button collection and a box of old coins, and was given it a few weeks later. It was my prized possession for awhile! It means a lot when we hear and remember something so simple as a passing comment.
2. Shop small & local
Before we had our own website, I was an Etsy seller. I loved the community in those years and discovered new small brands and small home-run businesses every day! As a small business owner myself, it really is true what they say -- every time you purchase from a small shop, an actual person does a little dance! I do still mentally acknowledge every single website order with a "OMG thank you!"
Needless to say, 2020 is hitting small businesses hard and choosing to support small homegrown shops creates jobs within your own community!
Supporting local businesses is great for the environment because they often have a much smaller carbon footprint than large companies.
3. Shop secondhand
I LOVE seeing the secondhand and swap options grow in Singapore. Besides shopping on secondhand apps or sites like Carousell (where I'm sure many unsuitable presents sometimes end up), here are a few of our local favourites:
For clothes: The Fashion Pulpit or Swapaholic
For books: Thryft or Books Beyond Borders
4. Gift experiences over things
On that note, the gift of time spent together is always the best!
Experiences could be a nice home cooked meal, a picnic, or a special dinner out. Experiences could also be an afternoon spent swapping at a clothes swap (or swapping from each other's closets!) Or purchase a gift card from a small, local shop so your "giftee" can pick out the item of their choice from a shop you would like to bring awareness to.
Our gift cards have been popular gifts this Christmas and it's wonderful to see people find our store and pick out sustainable lifestyle items thanks to a recommendation from a friend.
If you need help picking out a gift for a friend, send us a message through Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help walk you through some options!