If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a serious shopaholic. I don’t usually buy things for myself, but I love shopping for my loved ones.
I am extremely indecisive, and I’m always on the lookout for the perfect gift, which means I can spend ages walking around in a mall, without making a single purchase. The walking around bit happened a lot more before the baby, of course. These days, I do my window shopping online, and trips to the shops have to be a lot more focused, because Noah isn’t a fan of shopping. Yet.
He decided to take a nap after I got him all dressed up to go out shopping one day. Sigh. Boys.
When we first found out that I was pregnant, C, knowing my crazy shopaholic nature, told me that I had to be organised about my shopping. *rolls eyes* He made me come up with a list of things we would need, as well as the quantity of each item. This was mainly for the baby clothes, as he knew I would go overboard and buy every cute romper I came across. (If you’re interested, I did a series of posts on my baby shopping list, but I haven’t had the time to go through them again yet, to include my feedback after slightly more than a year of parenting experience. I promise to do that soon!)
But I digress.
As I was window shopping here in Adelaide one day, I came across the Oxfam shop at Rundle Mall, and popped in for a look. I was drawn to the display of cards, and loved the idea of it. How many times have you tried to find a gift for someone who seems to have ‘everything’? There are many people whom I struggle to find good gifts for, yet I don’t think they would appreciate these very meaningful gifts. We place a great emphasis on material things, and even though we already have so much, we are still drawn to owning the latest book, gadget, or toy. New clothes, shoes, and bags are also high on our lists, and it seems as though we can never get enough of these things. I confess that I love buying new books and toys for Noah, and since we’ve been here, he has amassed a number of new items already. To be fair, I borrow books from the library for him, and the books I’ve bought for him, are either from the library book sale or the Oxfam bookstore, which means I spend no more than a dollar on each secondhand book (or as the library calls it, recycled read).
Some of his ‘new’ books
As I browsed the selection of cards at Oxfam, I felt guilty that I was perfectly happy spending $10 on a gift, but thought twice about forking out the same amount to get a card for someone, which would buy chickens for needy families in South Africa. This is honestly so much more meaningful than the traditional kind of present, and I think if you do get something like that from your friend, you should feel glad that your friend thinks so highly of you, to feel that you are someone who would appreciate a gift like that.
How it works
Some of the available gifts. I like how witty the cards are!
My gift-buying guide is simple: would I like to receive whatever I’ve selected for my friend as a gift for myself? Of course, this doesn’t really apply for all gifts, but I think it’s a pretty useful and practical way to hunt for a gift. I am ashamed to say that while I wouldn’t mind receiving a meaningful gift like that from Oxfam once in a while, I would be pretty disappointed if all my gifts were like that. As much as I would like to be a kind, compassionate, and altruistic, I still love receiving tangible gifts, and I feel guilty for being so, for lack of a better word, materialistic.
Anyway, I’m just wondering, how many of you wouldn’t mind receiving a gift like that, where all you get is a card, and the knowledge that your friend bought some chickens/literacy lessons/clean water for the less fortunate, in your name?
PS. For those of you who think your friends would appreciate gifts like that, do check out the Oxfam website to see what other gifts are available. In fact, if you haven’t completed your Christmas shopping, or perhaps you’re still looking for a Secret Santa gift, maybe you could consider getting him/her something from the catalogue! These gift cards are available all year round, so if you’re ever looking for a gift for someone who has ‘everything’, and whom you think will appreciate this meaningful gift (and not ‘unfriend’ you for it), remember to bookmark this Oxfam page, okay?
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