Wondering what to give your loved ones this Christmas? Are you searching for something more inspiring than the overpackaged, overpriced and overproduced offerings weighing down many a retailer’s shelf?
Breathe has the answer. But first, make yourself a cuppa, sit down and get ready to think carefully about the person you’re buying for, how much you care about them and what they’d really love to unwrap come Christmas morning. Being more mindful about gift choices can make the whole experience more joyful, heartfelt and meaningful to everyone involved – and far from costing the Earth, your choice of gift might help to save it.
Here are 10 mindful Christmas gifts whose sparkle will last long after the baubles have been packed away for another year:
Handmade with love
If you have a talent for crafting and creating, a gift made with your own beautiful hands is likely to be loved and treasured. Whether you sew, knit, paint, sculpt, write poetry, make jewellery or work with wood, make your gift as unique as the recipient. If making isn’t your forte, then choose the next best thing. Buy handmade gifts from an independent artist or crafter. There are some amazing creations out there and your purchase supports the artist, too.
A book of memories
Gather some pictures and mementoes from your friend’s life, drawing upon the good times you’ve spent together, and present it in an album. All it takes is time to create, but you’ll be giving your friend a lasting treasure of memories that they can fondly look back on in years to come.
Feed the soul
There’s nothing quite like delicious, lovingly baked treats to share at this time of year, especially when they’re produced by you in your own kitchen. Use the finest ingredients to make mince pies, truffles, handcrafted chocolates, mini- Christmas cakes, and cookies, and present them in a lovely gift box with festive decorations. Of course, you’ll have to sample your bakes before handing them over… to make sure they taste just right.
A world in a terrarium
If you enjoy gardening, even on a small scale, think about creating a terrarium – a tiny garden world in a closed glass container. This makes an enchanting gift, especially for anyone who doesn’t have a garden. It brings a piece of nature indoors and it can be hugely satisfying building a magically mini green world that will eventually take on a life of its own.
A mindful journal
Give a loved one a beautiful journal, which they can use to explore their thoughts, feelings and ideas. A daily writing practice, even if it’s just a few lines, can be deeply healing and revealing and is an effective way of finding a fresh perspective on life. You could, of course, also treat yourself to a journal.
With so much money and natural resources spent at this time of year, a recycled, sustainable, organic and eco-friendly gift is a welcome alternative to commercial products. Browse online for earth-friendly web stores or visit your local organic or fair-trade shop for gift purchases. If you’re resourceful and on a budget, visit charity or second-hand shops and recycle and upcycle unique vintage finds.
A magazine subscription
Buying a magazine subscription for a loved one is a wonderful year-long gift and there’s a raft of specialist titles to suit most interests and hobbies. Dare we say it, but you could even consider taking out a subscription to Breathe for a like-minded friend or relative. It will give them plenty of inspiration for mindfulness, wellbeing, creativity and escapes, and they’ll think of you every time the latest issue pops through their letterbox.
A wellbeing hamper
Choose a selection of natural mind, body and spirit treats to create a nurturing wellbeing gift hamper. You can carefully tailor them to complement your loved one’s age, gender and personal faves and include items such as organic soaps, aromatherapy blends, soothing hand creams, reviving shower gels and soft skin lotions. For the foodies in your life, a nourishing and healthy food hamper full of treats from a local farm shop or independent producer will go down a treat. Don’t forget to top off their unique hamper with a homemade gift tag.
Not sure what to buy someone who says they have everything they need? Find out what projects, community concerns or charities they support and make a donation on their behalf. If your loved ones are nature-loving spirits, you could consider planting a tree or woodland grove in their name.
An experience to remember
The best presents you can give are often those that create long-lasting memories. Treat a loved one to an experience you know they’ll love and treasure – think about something they’ve long wanted to do or a hobby they haven’t had the time to explore. Whether it’s a concert or theatre ticket, an afternoon of pony trekking, a ride in a hot-air balloon, a guitar lesson, lunch in a beautiful location or an overnight stay in a tree house, these experiences are a lovely surprise.
For a truly extra-special gift, an experience that takes time, energy, thought and love is hard to beat. And it can cost next to nothing. Breathe’s idea of a heavenly gift? A night of shared stargazing, complete with a hearty supper, flasks of hot coffee (or something stronger), homebaked cookies, comfy recliners and toasty blankets and beanies – all while reminiscing with a dear friend under the galaxy’s captivating constellations.
Making time to care
It might seem a little weird, but don’t forget to smile. It’s one of the loveliest gifts and when it comes from a stranger it can turn a miserable day into a magical one. Your equally stressed fellow shoppers, sales assistants and transport staff will thank you no end. And if you have a smidgeon of time to spare, think about starting a conversation. Take a look at ‘Duncan says… #justsayhello’ to catch a glimpse of the happiness it could bring.
So, instead of heading out to vie for pavement space with the Christmas crowds, make your presence count over the festive season – and beyond – by sharing laughter, encouragement, support, good cheer and love with family, friends and the wider community.
Mindful season’s greetings from everyone at the Breathe team