Tag Archives: Presents

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season.

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season

When we think about it; if it was any other time of the year and we were panicking about getting someone a gift or spending time with a friend, we would say to each other, “it’s only one day!” but when it comes to Christmas, the majority of us go into meltdown mode to make sure it’s the perfect time of the year. I wanted to discuss four pieces of advice that I tell myself if I start panicking about the holiday season.

  1. Having the perfect wrapping paper is not the most important part of the gift.

Listen, this used to be me. I had to have the prettiest wrapping paper and it all had to be the same type. I would get the matching tags and I would have to go back to the supermarket numerous times because I was always running out. If it was colourful, I was in but if it was covered in glitter, I HAD to have it. If we actually think about it for one minute; that wrapping paper is going to be admired for maximum 30 seconds and ripped apart (unless you are Monica, then you slowly unwrap it and iron it for later, but how many of us are doing that with each gift?). That’s it, that’s all that happens and it more than likely ends up in a bin at the end of the day. All that extra money on the glitter, the colourful pattern, it’s going in the bin and because the majority of that type of paper isn’t recycled, it’s just going to sit for years unable to decompose. 

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I’m not trying to guilt anyone, I promise I’m not, but once you really think about where that wrapping paper is going and what it’s being used for, something just clicks. It clicks that we don’t need to be really fancy; last year I used brown wrapping paper and I used regular string and it gave the present a minimalist feel. This year, I’m going to add ribbon to the present instead and that means that the paper will be recyclable, the tape I use is also recyclable and the receivers can use the ribbons afterwards if they want. This doesn’t apply to only Christmas, this is all year round and it means that you won’t have to rush round the shops looking for fancy birthday paper because you’ll have left over brown paper from Christmas and maybe a ribbon or two.

2) If you can’t attend every single event, people WILL understand.

Christmas and December in general in expensive; it’s the busiest time of the year and we want to gift our friends and family with presents that they will love. That comes at a cost and you still have to pay all your regular bills, so going out for a few nights over the month for dinner would be absolutely fine any other time of the year but around December, it’s a little harder and it can be hard to admit that to friends and family. You may want to go out and still catch-up over your monthly pizza night or have that weekly pub night, but if you can’t afford to or you have family plans, the people around you will understand. It’s a busy time of the time and you’re having to balance everything you would normally do as well as planning your Christmas and scheduling your family time around your work schedule (and your own family’s schedule). A catch up over a coffee on your lunch break can be just as effective or inviting a friend over for a home cooked meal can be just as comforting. These are things we should be doing all year around but I believe it’s so important to emphasize that if you can’t go out as often as you used to or you feel like you’ve committed to so many events, it’s okay if you can’t go to everything, and those that truly care about you will one hundred percent understand.

3) Quality over quantity is more important.

This has been a really important part of my Christmas gifting experience especially over the last few years and with my on-going journey with minimalism (or at least my very very slow journey with minimalism) I treat my present buying the way I want to be treated with gift giving. As much as fifty presents would love on the sofa on the morning of Christmas, am I going to get around to use all fifty? I absolutely love surprises and I love surprising people especially with gifts, and I believe the reason why I’m so good at gifts is because I do research. One of my favourite things to do throughout school and college was the research part of an assignment and it has stayed with me. Of course, if you ask someone what they want and they tell you; well you have hit the jackpot and you know exactly what they want, but we all have those people in our lives that we ask what they want for Christmas and they either say “Oh nothing, I don’t need anything” or “I don’t know, I’ll let you know” and they never let you know.

close-up-photo-of-gold-and-silver-christmas-ornaments-1669091.jpg(Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels)

I would rather buy fewer presents that I either know the person will love or is higher quality than buying five smaller presents. I think this is something that parents deal with quite a lot and especially now that almost everything is documented on social media; the living room is covered in presents or there was one woman a few years ago I remember being interviewed on TV who bought her children something outrageous like three hundred presents! I can’t imagine what it’s like as a parent because I’m not one yet but I can imagine that you want to give your children the most magical Christmas. You want them to go back to school and tell them about the amazing time they had when they were off on holidays and you want them to fit in with all their friends. Where does it stop though? Do you get yourself in debt over it? Do you push yourself so far that it means the first half of the year you’re struggling to get back on track over ONE DAY? Children might not understand the quality of a gift but I believe if it’s taught to them at a young age, they will appreciate it so much more. (I’m saying this as a non-parent but this is how I want to raise my future children. At least I have a plan right?)

4) At the end of the day, it’s ONE DAY.

Is it worth it to completely stress, stretch your budget to harm you for the next year coming and make everything perfect for ONE DAY out of the year? I can give you the answer right now and I can tell you it’s a firm no. We have another 364 days to buy gifts for each other, to show each other how we feel and show our appreciation for one another; the pressure for this one day has completely taken over on an entire new level and instead of looking forward to Christmas, it’s sad that so many don’t love the build up and the excitement of it all because all they see is the pressure to be perfect. 

As always, thank you so much for reading today’s post, I know it was a long one but it’s always a good excuse to make a cup of tea beforehand, right? If you have any feedback; please let me know in the comments, over on my Instagram or over on my Twitter. Also, I love Christmas themed posts, so if you have one that you think I would enjoy, let me know! Have a great week! ❤️

How To Plan For Christmas Gifts: Reducing My Gift Wrap Waste.

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During the Christmas period, I get great pleasure in wrapping presents. It’s like therapy to me and I could spend hours getting all wrapped up in it (Get it?) As I have become more eco-conscious over the past year however, I’ve tried to look at what I’m contributing to the environment so today’s post is concentrating on rethinking my gift wrap for the Christmas season and how I’m planning to change it. 

I was known quite a few years ago to get the prettiest paper and if it had glitter, then life was even better. It had to be all the same wrapping paper for every single present with the matching gift tags of course, and it simply had to be perfect. Now while I’m sure it’s like that for a lot of people, that’s something that was very important to me. I wanted perfection and it meant spending a lot of money buying new paper every year despite already having a roll or two left from the year before but I didn’t have the matching tags anymore, so what was the point? 

IMG_20171119_204325_714.jpg(Last year’s gift wrap: I still think it’s stunning but it’s a lot of money and waste just to look pretty.)

This year is very different and for a good reason; it amazes me how much my mindset has changed in just a year. I was so obsessed with having that perfect presentable look, but I don’t know why now. We all open presents within ten to thirty seconds, so does it really make sense to spend hours making sure every corner is perfectly sellotaped to an inch of its life? I pride myself on my wrapping; I do think I’m a very good wrapper, my mother taught me well so it’s not as if my wrapping will completely go down hill, it’s just going to be a lot simplier. 

I find it so fascinating about what we get ourselves wound up about. Last year, I had to buy a certain paper and tags from Tesco and it all had to be the same, and I can’t remember how many times I went back to buy more, and I couldn’t wrap without it. The amount of sellotape I used was shocking, and I would cut it out and let it hang on the table, just to make sure I had enough for each side. I would say I went truly overboard on that front. 

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This year I’m choosing to use brown paper and paper tape, both which I picked up from Teal who is one of the plastic free Northern Ireland locals starting up her own business (Here’s her Instagram if you fancy a peek!) I’m also going with the string around the present, I never used to do fancy ribbon on other presents but I think the string will add a nice little flare to the gift that will look lovely. (I’ll just have to get better at making bows!) I did think that the bows would work out better and I may take them apart at some point and see if I can do them better, but they’ll do for now. I’m also choosing to write people’s names on the paper rather than have a tag, because it takes so little time to do.

20181209_114216-01.jpeg(Admittedly, my bow skills are not up to the standard that I thought they were. It still has a charm though, right?)

I’ve been learning more about minimalism over the last year too and while you might be thinking “If you’re into minimalism, why have wrapping paper at all?” or “Isn’t presents against minimalism?” Both vaild questions of course but 1) I’m not going to NOT wrap my presents because I believe we can still have gifts nicely wrapped without being harmful to the environment and 2) Presents are nice and you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds to make sure you have a good Christmas; presents are meant to be meaningful and have a purpose and that’s exactly what I’m doing with my purchasing this year. Minimalism isn’t about taking everything away; it’s simply about looking at what you buy and what you have around you and finding a purpose for it. For me, it’s all about practically and it’s something that we should all be aiming to achieve. 

20181209_114518-01.jpeg(Not the neatest, not the prettiest but all I used was string, brown paper and paper tape so you can’t be bad to that. Not everything has to be Instagrammable.)

I was doing some research into the statistics side of things and I found some interesting articles. In last year’s Independent, I found an article that talked about Britain throwing the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper away. This article from IOL talks about what can be recycled and what can’t, which will be a handy tool to help you figure out your recycling bins after the Christmas period. It’s always best to check with your local council but this will get you on the right path. Finally, this article from Halifax Today is a really nice one to end the post off with. It talks about more than just gift wrap; it’s more about your impact overall. Now, I don’t have a real Christmas tree but I’ve been using my Christmas tree since I bought it two years ago and I plan on using it for many years to come, and why not? It’s in great condition! It’s a shame that when I do have to replace it, I won’t be able to recycle it but hopefully by that time, there will be something else I can do with it. The article also talks about going outside and spending time with friends or family; Christmas can be overwhelming so it’s important to get some fresh air during this time.

Hopefully you take something away from either my post or the articles I have linked to because I think it’s something that we all should take into consideration more, but it can be hard when there is so many other things going on at this time of year. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it. 

(Blogmas Day Six) SS: Sunday Saves (#32)

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It’s Day Six of Blogmas! I have to say, I really love Blogmas. It’s that added extra pressure to have posts up which is a real motivator. I definitely want to try and aim for three posts a week after the New Year; sometimes I like the habit of one post a week but I want to constantly add more content.

So back to Sunday Saves; all month I’ll be sticking to a theme for each Sunday post. Today I’ll be talking about Christmas presents. We’re still far away enough from Christmas that you can still go out and buy your presents without too much pressure, so this fitted in perfectly.

1. Freya’s Nook (Blogmas #4 Stocking Gift Ideas)

Freya’s post is simple. Simple is good however when you’re trying to think of stocking stuffer ideas and all you can think of is socks, lip balm and chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great ideas; get a pair of cosy fluffy socks and you’ve just made me a very happy girl. Stocking stuffers can be tough but Secret Santas can often be worse especially if you don’t know the person. Freya has you covered from sticky notes, slippers, candles and even jam!

2. Based on Blog (Blogmas Day 2 | Gift Guide: Bloggers)

Do you have a blogger friend? Or are you a blogger but have no idea what to ask for? (Although everyone should have their Christmas list written by now!) From the pricey end of Apple Macs and DSLR’s to the budget friendly planners, stationery and phone cases. I’m sure you’ll find something for you or your friend with Anu’s gift guide.

3. Laura Hadley (How To Save Money When Buying Christmas Presents)

Laura has some great money saving ideas when it comes to Christmas presents but to be honest, you could do this for birthday presents too. Planning ahead is what I used to do and I found it so helpful. Setting a budget however, is a completely different story. I never feel like I have enough for someone or I’ll see something and I’ll get it, then I’ll see another thing and another and another and another. I think if you’re looking for a few ways to cut corners (money wise) with Christmas presents or you’re just looking a few tips, definitely head over to Laura’s post.

Thank you for reading today’s Sunday Saves! It’s just two more Sunday’s until Christmas, it’s all becoming so real! If you’ve missed any of my other Blogmas posts, you can find them right here.