Day seven: gift ideas we love

Make someone else’s day. Make a difference !

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Australians spend an estimated $30 billion on Christmas gifts each year, and some $700 million worth of unwanted gifts are expected to be in landfill by February, FEBRUARY… that’s just 5 weeks post christmas. I would rather give a gift that lasts than something that ends up taking up space in landfill and/or polluting our oceans. I know some of my hand crafted gifts might not be things that you can be sure will be kept forever (or at least a significant period of time), but at least I’m trying to extend the life of something which would otherwise be on the fast track to the trash.

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I feel like we are often pressured by marketing companies to buy as many gifts as possible, and this promotes an unsustainable quantity over quality attitude towards gift giving. Since starting BNN we have become largely focussed on our immediate needs, an example is my christmas list this year which contained items such as a hose, a cordless drill and a dandelion remover tool (yes that’s a real thing!) I know this sounds like a lame excuse for christmas gifts but the thing is that I genuinely need those things and they will be something I can actually use… much better than some plastic reindeer that poops jellybeans then ends up gathering dust in my room the next day. The truth is that pre BNN my list would include lots of things I don’t necessarily need, but not this year. I sort of feel as though the pooping reindeer would be taking two steps back after putting in so much work trying to simplify our lives and get rid of all our junk (this is still a work in progress), we are trying to move forward.

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On the other hand I’m all for getting pampered and indulging in a little luxury every now and then. Everyone deserves a little indulgence from time to time, heck I get my nails done twice a month and my sister is always saying ‘isn’t that counted as buying something new?’ (they are acrylics) to which i reply ‘yes they are new’ and I know it is completely the opposite of what BNN is about but It is an exception I make for myself, I take my BNN challenge seriously but I do want to let out the inner girly girl in myself every once in a while and I think this is a small price to pay.

On Big Pops side of the family we have a large brood: 2 grandparents, 4 children, 3 spouses, 10 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and various great aunts and second cousins make appearances from time to time. For a long time Christmas was pretty crazy for all of us with wrapping paper everywhere and I did feel at times like you barely had a chance to actually take your time and enjoy the gift before another one was thrown in your lap… the excitement of the gifts at times felt like it took time away from our ability to enjoy the moment and actually accept and thank those who gave it to us. This year seeing as most of the grandchildren are now young-adults we have all been put in a Kris Kringle together and so this year we each have to buy one gift instead of our parents feeling pressure to buy a gift for each of us. This saves everyone money and since we will be giving and given fewer gifts I hope we all have much more time to enjoy our gift, check it out think of all the things you could use it for.

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The last few years I’ve had a running joke with my sisters over christmas and birthdays as a few years ago I started requesting charity donations to Oxfam or World Vision instead of physical gifts. They found this funny at first and asked what I would like, to which I replied ‘well I have always wanted a goat..’.

My younger sister bought me a duck and inside the card it said ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t afford a goat so I bought you a duck‘ I still have the card sitting on my bed head and I’m not lying when I say that sometimes I open it up and wonder what my ducks doing these days… did its recipients eat it? did they use it for its eggs? does the duck have a name, or any duck buddies? I don’t know anything about this duck… and I like it.

In all honesty at twenty one years of age I have most of the things I need in life, and receiving a charity gift is something I welcome with open arms. I know other twenty one year olds are not as lucky as me, other communities are not as lucky as us, and it makes me feel nice to know those who are less fortunate will have something to look forward to…something that would otherwise be difficult for them to acquire.

This christmas I will be giving charity gifts, because I think that although christmas is a time for giving, it is not a time for giving just for the sake of it. My gifts this year will have a lot of thought put into them and I will definitely not be giving a pooping reindeer!

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Update on the book situation!

Just a quick post from me today.

This afternoon I went and dropped a selected few books off at the Little Library Melbourne Central to see how successful my book sharing mission will be. So I dropped off 14 books – when I came back to get on the train home, half of them had gone! I don’t know why, but this made me really happy to think I was sharing my love of reading with my fellow book lovers out there. I know I will never meet the people who have taken the books but I do hope they bring as much joy to their new owners as they did to me 🙂

Before

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After

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I’m sure I will be doing a few book dropoffs during BNN, especially because of the smile it bought to my face 🙂

Little Pop

Books Finding a New Home

One of the best things about BNN is it will give us the chance to get rid of all the stuff we have lying around but are too sentimental to get rid of (my main weakness is books). I have come to terms with the fact that in order to get our home sorted out and looking fabulous I will have to part with many of the books I have accumulated throughout my reading years – of course I wont be getting rid of any of the very precious books I own… just the ones sitting around taking up precious shelf space.

I had been trying to think of what to do with the books because I want to make sure they get used and don’t just end up sitting in an op shop (I can just picture them on the shelf going ‘please pick me!‘), I used to volunteer at an op shop and know that books are one of the least commonly bought items. And after much deliberation I went into somewhere I’ve past on my many days to and from uni, it’s called the ‘Little Library‘ and is in Melbourne Central. To be frank it’s more of a community service than a shop, how it works is Melbournians can go into the shop and donate their old books or swap and share with others inside the store. I really like the fact that this is all free and not based around making a profit off my belongings, and this way I know my books will actually stay in circulation and be used.

So at some point in the next few weeks my no longer needed books will be finding themselves a new home in the Little Library.

If you want to read more about this initiative check out this link:

http://theworldlovesmelbourne.com/arts/106-melbourne-central-little-library-literary-gem-in-the-cbd.html

Also: Please don’t think I have something against op shops because I don’t – I just don’t want to give them my books 🙂

Little Pop