Sean MacDougall

The holidays can be a splendid time of year. The Christmas music, classic movies and a generally festive aura. Over the years Christmas in particular has become quite a big commercial event for retail companies. Some stores can be seen with holiday decorations as early as the end of October in some places. With the adoption of Black Friday in Canada over the years, sales revenue can only be going up.

Every year we fervently purchase items to wrap and give to our loved ones as a gesture of thoughtfulness and need. What about homemade gifts? Why not skip the holiday shopping madness altogether?

Some may have a mother or grandmother who still knits mittens and socks for Christmas but let’s think outside the box. What about crafting something at home with your own hands, nothing elaborate just something simple like a homemade candle, bookends or even a small coat rack to hang up those hand-knitted goods.

Making gifts doesn’t have to be complex or overly laborious, in fact in can be rewarding, a good way to save money and save the headaches from shopping at the brick and mortar shops.

Another aspect sorely overlooked with gifts is the wrapping. The tape, stickers, ribbon and wrapping paper make for quite a bit of waste. The Japanese people have a method of gift wrapping called Furoshiki. The term refers to a piece of fabric used to wrap a gift.

The fabric can be whatever you want, a cloth bag, a tea towel or just a blank piece of fabric. In the past, I’ve used T-shirts to wrap books and vinyl records I’ve given.

This method can be seen twofold. It cuts out waste almost entirely and secondly the wrapping becomes part of the gift itself. To top it off, the receiver of the gift still gets the little rush of excitement at the unknown item they must unwrap.

Christmas and other holidays where folks exchange gifts can be a beautiful time and with a little extra effort we can do good by our loved ones, the environment and our wallets.

Sean MacDougall

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