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Jackie Gower - Clutter-free Christmas

Author
Jackie Gower,
Section
Money,
Publish Date
Monday, 15 December 2014, 4:14PM

Let's face it, shopping for Christmas presents can be a nightmare.  We never seem to know what anyone wants and it feels like such a waste of money choosing something they may not even like out of sheer desperation!  Don't panic, there are plenty of great ideas out there – how about giving an experience, or nice food and drink, rather than things which will just clutter the home?  Here are some suggestions, I hope you find them helpful!

Parks are perfect.  For kids and teenagers, how about buying a ticket to a theme park or water park?  Instead of a five-minute wonder, or another meaningless knick-knack, you get to give a whole day's worth of fantastic fun and entertainment, not to mention memories that will last for years!

A gift that's all class.  For older children or adults, what about a voucher for a caricaturist class, cookery class or pottery class? One year I gave my eldest son a day at a kids' art workshop with a professional artist who taught him new skills and gave him the opportunity to work with materials he would never normally have the chance to use.  As well as having fun and making new friends, best of all he got to take home a fantastic framed picture, which still has pride of place on our wall 13 years later!  

Make your own vouchers. Home made vouchers can be as low cost and personal as you like!  For older people such as parents, what about creating a voucher promising to take them out for a day somewhere nice?  Or be like one clever grandma, who instead of buying the usual plastic clutter for her grandchildren instead gave them all vouchers for a fun experience, such as a trip to the zoo, or a picnic in the park.  You can make them to suit your time frame and budget, but most importantly to suit the recipient!

Food for foodies.  If you're a cook, why not use your skills to make up a hamper of delicious home made treats?  A jar of jam, pickles, or Christmas cookies will all be appreciated by any food fanatic!

Animal magic.  Many zoos or animal parks offer 'Zookeeper for a Day' experiences in school holidays, which make an amazing and unforgettable gift for any aspiring vet or Bindi Irwin.  My youngest son is animal mad and loved his day so much he ended up as a weekend volunteer helper!  Or why not sponsor an animal in need in the recipient's name?  Over the years we have 'given' everything from a donkey in a sanctuary and a guide dog puppy to a crocodile at Australia Zoo to an elephant in Thailand!  My son treasures his photos and regular updates of 'his' animals and loves to know that his gift is helping to make a difference.

That's the ticket!  Never unestimate the humble 'scratchie' or Lotto ticket.  These are always an exciting gift to get, just pop them in a pretty Christmas card and you never know, they might win something big!