With a lot of pessimism looming around the COP26 agenda this year, climate change and sustainability have been at the forefronts of a lot of minds even more than usual. At the same time, the pandemic has caused many of us to need to budget more than usual for Christmas presents. Here are a few creative ideas for you to keep to a budget as well as support the planet, also in keeping with this month’s Six Ways to Wellbeing ‘Give’ campaign:
Give within your budget
First and probably the most important to consider when gifting as a student, and there is no shame in doing so. You can still be conscious of your gift-giving without worrying about spending lots on ‘more eco-friendly’ items. Here are a few ways to do just that:
- Charity donation – Find out a cause closest to your friend’s values or donate to a place you know they are already fond of. This does not have to be a large donation either!
- Smaller gift – Never feel like quantity is the best way to go. Why not find something a bit smaller in size that might be a bit pricier but still in budget? Particularly if this is something the person will use a lot.
- Contribution to a larger gift – If more than one person you know is thinking of buying a gift for the same person, have a think about pulling your money together to buy a joint present. That way, the person receiving will get more without each of you having to spend more.
- Secret Planta – Secret Santa’s always a great way for those in a bigger group to all receive a present whilst not having the pressure to spend on everyone. But why not try keeping the gifts to plants for a greener and more wellbeing-focused exchange? I have done this previously and the plant I received is still growing strongly.
Give your time
If you are wanting to gift something that may not involve a monetary value, volunteering for a few hours on behalf of your gift receiver instead of paying a few pounds for a physical gift is a great option. This is also a win-win if you are looking for hours for your Stellify award! One of the many great places in Manchester to approach is Manchester Mind, not far from the University’s campus. There are plenty of local places to help out at right on your doorstep; a gift abundant with community compassion.
Give your knowledge
You spend so much time studying so why not utilise what you have learned by educating someone you love? Keeping in theme with this blog, perhaps there is an area of sustainability (for example, over-consumption) that a friend or relative would like to learn about. By pulling the resources you have learned at university or in your spare time, you can create a bank of information on a Word document, in a greetings card or however you feel being creative with your format choice. This has the potential to open discussion about such topics; making education accessible to others is a great gift!
Give your money to small businesses
It is very easy and understandable to buy gifts from larger brands and companies given budgets. However, there are plenty of small businesses around Manchester and online via websites such as Etsy that have incredible affordable items for you to gift. If you have not already visited Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter, this is one of the many great places home to small businesses where you can find an excellent variety of gifts. From local artists at SWALK Creative to lots of great quality second-hand goods, there are so many different options at places such as this to decide from on a budget and supporting locally.
Give you and another a break
Spend your money not on a physical gift but doing something together. This could be booking a meal or a meetup at one of the many amazing and student-budget friendly places in Manchester. Or even making a hot drink in a reusable cup and going for a walk with that person. After having potentially spent a while apart, to spend some time with the person or people that you have not seen in a while could really make this Christmas that little bit more special for everyone.
Have a wonderful and restful break!