We’ve all experienced it – It’s Christmas day lunch; Aunty Mavis approaches you with a box wrapped in re-cycled, crinkled, wrapping paper. She hands you the box and you slowly unwrap it using the guise of trying not to rip the paper, to plan how you’re going to act when you receive that cheap bottle of lavender scented perfume.
According to Social Researcher Mark McCrindle, 78.5% of Australians have received gifts they felt were a waste of money, with more than a third of Australians receiving unwanted gifts most years.
So what happens with these unwanted gifts? 41% are re-gifted, 40.3% are given to charity, 23.9% are exchanged or returned to the store and 13.7% are just thrown out!
And we could all probably come up with a list of what these unwanted gifts are, yeh?
Well, McCrindle’s research states the most frequently mentioned “useless gift” category, is kitchen ware, with the most common perpetrators including: ornamental salt and pepper shakers, coasters, tea towels and useless electrical items such as electric can openers, knives and wine bottle coolers.
Now, how much is spent per year on all this junk? McCrindle reckons it’s about $50 million. Good grief! $50 million dollars worth of distasteful, useless, undesirable refuse.
What’s the answer? There isn’t an easy one, but we think that buying handmade is a start.
Choosing the ‘wanted’ gift is often hard, so how can we avoid giving that dreaded ‘unwanted’ gift? Jill, from Davis Designs, believes that thinking about Christmas gifts earlier in the year, is a good way to avoid last minute rushing and choosing something inappropriate.
We’d also like to believe, that handmade gifts are viewed with intrigue, admiration and create a certain sense of attachment. And unlike store bought gifts, there are so many ways in which buying a handmade present contributes to our society, that buying from K Mart, does not.
Here’s a list, in no particular order, of 10 reasons why we think that spending $50 million on handmade gifts this Christmas, wouldn’t be so bad.
- You can pick up honestly made items at honest prices. There are no huge mark ups on handmade products. Many designers have regular day jobs and making a profit isn’t a priority.
- It almost guarantees that no one will give the same gift as you (unless they buy from the same maker!)
- Many items are much more environmentally friendly than store bought items. There’s no use of large polluting manufacturing machines, harsh chemicals, labour (some illegal) and wastage.
- You can be proud knowing that you’re supporting small businesses in your state.
- Be the first one of all your friends to discover a hot new designer.
- You are helping to keep the crafting and design industry alive. With this, will come more unique and beautiful items available each year.
- Avoid the hunt for a car space, long queues, fluorescent lights and the huge price tags of the shopping centres.
- Have your gifts customised. Many designers are more than willing to tailor items with special personifications. Names, favourite colours, unique sizes – you won’t get that in the shops.
- Every product you buy from a maker will tell a story, whether it’s about the maker, the materials used, or the making process. Stories create connections and people are more likely to appreciate your gift when they know who made it and how it was made.
- The best reason to buy handmade of course, is that every single product you buy was made with care and love. And that’s what Christmas is all about.
This post references Christmas Toys and Useless Presents, by Social Researcher Mark McCrindle.