Here are gift ideas for all occasions: birthdays, Christmas, name-days, anniversaries and more. Holidays and special occasions are often centred around gift giving, as somehow through the years, they have become more about the gift than the celebration. Break free and focus on the happiness of being with the people you love. Take these ideas (or maybe just random thoughts) with a pinch of salt or share them with friends. We’re only here to wish you happiness and try to get you to think a little differently to help protect the environment in small ways.
Do something! There are more things to do than you think that don’t include dinner and movies:
- Nature walk or Hike: get active and enjoy the outdoors. Take an easy stroll through a nature reserve or botanical garden, or hike up a mountain (see our posts on the Striptease Hike, Robberg Nature Reserve and Lady Slipper)
- Picnic: take a blanket and treats to the beach or city gardens. Some places offer picnic baskets and picnic spots, e.g. Thunzi Bush Lodge in Port Elizabeth (see our post here)
- Canopy tour: go zip lining through the treetops. One of my best childhood memories is zip lining in Tsitsikamma with my mom and brother (see their website here)
- Canyoning / kloofing: these fun activities are for the adventurous souls out there. Near Plettenberg Bay you can canyon and abseil with Africanyon (see their website here)
- Painting class: for a friend’s bachelorette we went for a painting class before painting the town red. Instead of receiving a gift, ask your favourite people to join you in the class. We went to Splash of Paint (see the Facebook page here)
- City tour: explore your area. Be a tourist in your own city. When in Port Elizabeth, take a tour with Awehness Travel (see the tours on their website here)
- Spa treatment: treat them to a massage (or couples massage) or facial. Pamper days are always well received. That goes without saying, it’s a great gift to ask for too!
- Bee tour: bees are one of the greatest creatures on this planet. Learn more about them by doing a bee tour. In Port Elizabeth, you can take a bee tour with Rautenbach Apiaries (see their website here)
Need some bamboo cooking utensils or knife set (pool in with friends or family)? Worn through your pyjamas and slippers? These gifts are NOT boring.
Homeware, kitchenware, food, clothes, or tools are gifts that will be useful and not thrown away in a month. Share your wish lists with each other! In our family (and friends families, we checked) we give our wish list with the necessary information (the name of the store or sizes).
Let’s make conscious decisions in our gift giving and receiving.
- Clothes being made from natural fibres: more and more clothes are being made from natural fibres, e.g. organic cotton dresses and hemp t-shirts (see Roo and Bear on Instagram here, Conscious Being EcoWear website here). These clothes can be expensive to some people so it will be a real treat! Club in with friends if you need to
- All natural skincare and cleaning products: give a DIY home recipe face mask or see Faithful to Nature’s website here
- Reusable cups: for hot drink lovers that are always on the go. Some places give discounts on your coffee when you bring your own cups, e.g. Seattle Coffee (see our post on green living tips here)
- Pot plant or herbs: rather than a bunch of flowers that die in days, buy a pot plant or herbs that can keep growing and bring some beautiful greenery to a home
- Set them up with a green living hamper: buy a range of products from Raw Co (see their website here), like cotton string bags, canvas lunch bag, hemp scrubs. Similarly, Living Eco has an Eco kit already made up for you (see their website here)
While looking for practical and green gifts, why not include locally made to the list. You will be making a family in your community smile for days.
We love shops like Cupboard Love (see Facebook page here) that are hubs for locally made goods that are practical and often sustainably made, which make perfect presents. Similarly, roam your local markets for great ideas too (see our post on Markets in Port Elizabeth here).
Handmade and homemade
Handmade gifts are from the heart and in our experience are some of the most loved. We adore the knitted wear, artwork, and woodwork pieces we have received. We also loved receiving homemade foods like chilli sauces and chocolate brownies. Our gifted crafts have always been well received too.
You have everything you need or don’t know what to ask for? Ask friends and family to make a donation to a charity in your name. Find a home, hospice, school, or animal charity that you appreciate and admire to receive your donation.
Do you have a favourite frequented coffee shop? Pay it forward. If you are feeling festive and want to brighten a strangers day: Pay for your coffee and one more. The coffee shop can donate the extra drink to someone on the street or surprise a random patron during the day.
For the kids
So often kids receive so many presents that some are hardly played with, and some break within days (or even hours). Instead, buy fewer more high-quality gifts. Teach the kids to appreciate what they receive, and not promote how many they receive.
Before receiving new toys, let your kids choose toys of theirs that they no longer play with or no longer want, and donate these toys to orphanages, homes, or someone you know who will love them. Why not even do a toy swop with friends?
On a side note, kids remember the fun things you do together more than what they receive.
The wrapping paper is torn and discarded. Honestly, people will hardly remember what their gift was wrapped in. Foil and glitter covered wrapping papers cannot be recycled so avoid these as much as you can. Use plain wrapping paper, old newspapers, scarf, bandanas, reusable bags or boxes.
Wishing you happiness for whichever occasion you are celebrating!