There is nothing inherently wrong with the giving of gifts as part of celebrating the Christmas season. For some it’s tradition, for others it’s their love language. But this year in particular, when so many Kiwis have been economically affected by lockdowns and job losses, we should remember to put our people first if shopping for Kirihimete. Choose thoughtful. Support local. Minimise waste. Buying from a big chain, however large the discounts they’re able to offer, will never make as much social impact (or bring as much joy to the business owner) as purchasing from a smaller business/store. Pitch in on a gift with other friends and family if it’ll make it more financially doable. If you’re still on the lookout for gifts for those who matter in your life, here are a few gift ideas (at a range of price points) that will help build up our local communities.
For the environmentally conscious
- Giftbox from WILL&ABLE. Estimated price $33.95. This gift box contains one of each product in this Kiwi social enterprise’s range of cleaning products as well as a personalised Thank You card. WILL&ABLE is a unique business that provides over 200 jobs for people in Aotearoa with mental and physical disabilities. They don’t test on animals and the packaging is made using 100% recycled NZ milk bottles. A company truly worth getting behind.
- Smartass toiletpaper (individual rolls or subscription). Estimated price $35 for 24 rolls. Admit it - when the panic stockpiling of toilet paper made headlines this year, we all felt a little bit stressed out about the prospect of having to forgo this bathroom essential. Which makes the colourfully-packaged ‘tree-free’ tp made from a sugarcane waste product and bamboo by Kiwi-owned and Toitū carbonzeroCertTM certified business Smartass a rather appropriate pandemic prezzie.
For the creative in your life
- Annual membership to your local art gallery or museum. Estimated price $40-65. I received a membership to my local art gallery as a birthday present this year, and it’s something that I’ll definitely be renewing in 2021 on my own dime. The unlimited access to paid exhibitions was wonderful, and it’s a brilliant way of supporting our local arts culture. As Kirsten Paisley, director of the Auckland Art Gallery, said earlier this year “The global pandemic is changing everything. It’s a crisis for arts and culture too. Around the world, museums, galleries, and cultural producers have been disrupted. We must advocate for the arts now more than ever.”
- Artistic headshot(s). Estimated price $100+ A nice headshot is something that everyone in the arts sector needs e.g. for promoting work online, for social media posts to increase audience engagement etc. So why not gift a mini photo shoot with a photographer? With travel restrictions, the cancellation of gatherings throughout the year (birthdays, engagements, weddings), and tightening budgets, many photographers have been heavily affected by CoVID-19 this year. And if you’re looking for a more affordable price point, you can hire some really highly skilled student photographers through university photography societies.
For the pragmatist
- Voucher for your local tailor. Estimated price $20+. December is that time of year when people’s calendars overfill with work functions and social events. A voucher for custom tailoring services is a practical (though probably unexpected) present that’ll help enhance the pieces already in their wardrobe. The vast majority of people make do with ready-to-wear garments without realising how simple alterations can add value to their wardrobes. A voucher for your local dry cleaners is another alternative gift to help maintain those snazzier pieces that aren’t machine washable.
- Sashiko DIY mending kit. Estimated price $35-60. Sashiko is a traditional Japanese artform for mending and strengthening clothing. Visible mending techniques are gaining popularity as more people look for antidotes to fast fashion. There are lots of sashiko mending kits available online with embroidery threads and needles, and many excellent online tutorials on how to repair your garments in ways that only make them more unique and beautiful.
For the loved one in need of a pamper
- Voucher for a hair salon/blow wave. Estimated price $49-95. If, like me, you had the misfortune of experiencing a DIY CoVID cut in your home (featuring - I kid you not - kitchen scissors and a fruit fork), you will have discovered a profound appreciation for the skills of qualified hairdressers and stylists. Our cashflow-reliant hairdressing industry experienced considerable pressure due to its services not being classed as essential in the higher alert levels. To support those who help us all look our daily best (and even better for special occasions), consider giving the gift of glossy, perfectly styled locks for an upcoming occasion with a voucher to an upmarket blow dry bar with a menu of signature party looks.
- Voucher for massage services. Estimated price $35+ / Voucher for a nail gel polish/manicure/pedicure. Estimated price $50+. As Lucy Suttor of Nicetouch massage posted on Instagram earlier this year, “For bodyworkers [therapists, healers, yoga teachers, nail artists, tattoo artists, personal trainers], Covid-19 can mean complete loss of income”, which meant the lockdowns were an incredibly tough time for these small businesses. If you have the means to do so, gift a luxurious, relaxing experience, and in doing so spread some love to those who rely completely on physical touch to pay their bills.Support Villainesse