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4 People On Why They’re Gifting More Meaningful Presents This Year

It feels like we're cramming almost two years of missed activity with our loved ones into the remaining weeks of 2021. And with Christmas just around the corner, the rush of reconnection and buzz of reunion is really starting to ramp up.
Whether or not you're into decking the halls, the arrival of the festive season offers the space to reflect on and celebrate the 12 months that have passed. This year, it's hard not to acknowledge the collective sadness we've experienced. But the frustrating lockdowns, the missing of major milestones and the distance between loved ones are all the more reason to make gifts extra-special this year.
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Giving a meaningful gift can symbolise so much. It can represent the thoughts you've had about a person during your time apart, your intention to make someone's life a little more joyful, or simply represent the gratitude you have for someone and their place in your life.
You can also take things a step further to make sure your gifts make more than one person smile by giving a gift that gives back. For example, you can gift a child in an underdeveloped country a COVID vaccine, buy local to support small businesses who've done it tough this year, or support companies like The Body Shop, in which every purchase this Christmas will support Little Dreamers Young Carer Advocacy Project (YCAP). Their overarching mission is to spread joy and love to as many people as possible this year over the Christmas season — which we're all in need of right now.
If you're looking to spread the love, here's 4 people on why they're giving more meaningful gifts this Christmas.

The Eco-Friendly Gift - Cameron, 25

Who are you buying presents for this year?
My girlfriend, maybe a joint gift for my parents, my housemates and my dog.
What does giving meaningful gifts represent to you?
I probably made the switch about four years ago to giving more meaningful gifts. I think this aligned with me giving more of a damn about the planet, so trying to make more sustainable choices. My go-to gifts are either homemade crafts, a picture frame, plants, or supporting either local businesses or brands that have an ethos that really aligns with my values and brands that actually promote change. There's something about actually taking time to think about how the gift you're giving is going to have a grander impact on someone's life, rather than the 10-second exchange you'll have in the gift-giving process.
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How do you plan on showing extra appreciation for your loved ones this Christmas season?
I'm writing Christmas cards again this year, and I'm going to send them in the mail. Old school! I'm doing this because I feel I've fallen out of touch with a lot of people this year (as an act of self-preservation during lockdown) and I feel like I owe it to those not only closest to me, but in my varying friendship, social and familial circles. I'm also going to share the load with my siblings for Christmas Day to take the pressure off Mum. I'm planning to re-create my first Christmas with my girlfriend, just to be extra cute.

The 'Experience' Gift - Isabella, 27

Who are you buying presents for this year?
My loved ones.
What does giving meaningful gifts represent to you?
My mum's gifting mantra is 'experiences over stuff', so for her, meaning comes from finding gifts that don't add to landfill. My sister and I will team up and buy Unyoked vouchers, or dinners out — anything our parents wouldn't treat themselves to. For friends, it's about finding things with impact, gifts that are going to remain sentimental for years to come. Books, records, tickets to events always seem to tick that box. I bought my mum and dad VIP tickets to see U2 for their joint 50th birthday gift and they still talk about it to this day — knowing that you're a little part of that memory you've created for someone is so special.
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How do you plan on showing extra appreciation for your loved ones this Christmas season?
By showing up and slowing down. My friend has started saying 'normalise the pop in' and I think that's perfect — it's literally the opposite of everything we were able to do this year. The festive season doesn't have to be pre-planned and stressful, it can be as casual as a beer on the front step. Of course, I wouldn't show up empty-handed either — I'll be batch making rocky roads and biscotti to bring around to my visits. It's the little things that count.

The Ultra-Heartfelt Gift - Marli, 26

Who are you buying presents for this year?
All my loved ones.
What does giving meaningful gifts represent to you?
I get absolutely deep into giving gifts. It has to mean something to them, I can't just buy presents willy-nilly. I sit down beforehand and write down each person I'm gifting and try to think of something really meaningful for each person. I always plan on giving extra special gifts as I just absolutely love the feeling of watching someone open a gift that's completely for them. I guess it's my love language? It also causes a bit of stress as I spend so much time trying to come up with the perfect gift for each person.
How do you plan on showing extra appreciation for your loved ones this Christmas season?
I usually make some little gifts for everyone. I love embroidering and drawing so sometimes I'll make cards or make a personalised little embroidered hoop or bag for them!
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The Gift of Words - Shantelle, 26

Who are you buying presents for this year?
My family and a few of my close friends.
What does giving meaningful gifts represent to you?
I love giving gifts! I'm not the best with words and I can come across as quite shy. So I tend to show how much I really appreciate the people in my life through meaningful gifts. I try my best to look back at conversations where someone has said something in passing and try to buy gifts relating to that. I see it as a way to show I really take an interest in who they are as people and I listen and value them. It's essentially my way of showing people I love and care about them. It can be stressful trying to find the perfect gift, but in the end, it's so rewarding!
How do you plan on showing extra appreciation for your loved ones this Christmas season?
I know I just said I'm not the best with words, but I think I'll write little personalised notes for everyone. This year I've had so many people support me, and I feel like the best way to sum it up will be through simply saying it!
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