Let’s face it: your wife or husband doesn’t want another pair of socks or a bottle of perfume, or a new pair of slippers.
What you really want is a “magical way to chill out and appreciate the little things” gift certificate. Maybe a “get out of a stressful situation for free” gift certificate. Or perhaps a “slow down and savour your children better” gift card.
But last I saw, these were not available at the checkout of Waitrose (or anywhere else).
In this day of ultra-consumerism and pressure to buy something – anything for the special people in our lives, the holidays leave us all daunted and exhausted by the expectations.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling guilty about buying new stuff that your loved ones may not want, and may end up in the local charity shop by January.
So while I can’t grant wishes, I can offer this gentle nudge to think beyond physical goods mass-produced in China and buy your loved one an experience that she/he likely wouldn’t make time for it. In the high-pressure world of parenting+work, it’s hard to give ourselves permission to take an afternoon off to do something whimsical, decadent, or just plain fun. Unless that priceless gift is bestowed upon us.
Many of us chose to #optoutside on Black Friday, acknowledging that there are more important things in life than getting the best deal on a new iphone or Barbie dreamhouse. Why not keep riding that wave, ditch some of the Amazon-driven pressures this holiday season, and seize the opportunity to gift a memory instead?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
A MEMBERSHIP TO ANY OF THE AMAZING LONDON MUSEUMS.
BECOME A FRIEND OF KEW GARDENS.
as a family or gift to someone who loves nature.
A FUN, ONE-ON-ONE DATE WITH THAT TODDLER who’s a dream when not competing with older siblings.
Let’s say Legoland or Natural History Museum, yes all those dinosaurs…
LEARN A NEW CRAFT.
Research shows that people who work creatively with their hands are happier and healthily endure stress than people who don’t. London has an immense and impressive artist community, with all manner of classes open to the public, from pottery to painting, ironwork to woodwork. You can give an art workshop for your loved one and for both of you to do together. Next year I am going to find a pottery class near me, and I am going back to my love for painting.
SAVOUR YOUR CHILDREN.
The kids are amazing, delightful, adorable, and changing so quickly. But 90% of the day is spent trying to get them to go play somewhere else; rushing them out the door, or explaining to them why drumming on the antique table with hammers is not acceptable.
But on those rare occasions that you’re able to detach from the daily slog and really be with them, the balance shifts to that other 10% – when they’re sweet, connected, curious, and a joy.
Granted I’m biased, but personally, I can’t think of a better way to show a mother or father that they are appreciated than through a gorgeous photo – or better yet a photo session – depicting their special, intimate relationship with the children.
A GORGEOUS FINE-ART PHOTO PRINT FOR THE WALL.
It’s been my 2018 mission to replace the non-sentimental art pieces in our home with photographs of real scenes from our life. And you know what? Every time I walk by the photo of my daughters running and jumping through the waves in our favourite beach holiday I’m flooded with warmth and nostalgia. They say life is art, and who’s to say that shouldn’t include our personal, everyday stories? Every third website these days seems to be devoted to making wall art from photos, but beware: not all are created equal. Contact me for info on my own favourite masterful fine art prints.
A SHORT PHOTO SESSION.
Capturing how beautifully you love your children and keep the family together. One of my favourite session types to photograph is a three-hour storytelling session, which captures the connection between parents and their little one(s). These sessions commonly span two hours, spent on daily tasks at home – laundry, homework, cooking, art, reading books – and are a beautiful way to bottle up the feeling and intensity of parenting through this specific chapter of childhood – whichever one you’re at.
A DAY IN THE LIFE PHOTO SESSION – I only do 12 days in the life sessions in 2019, and until the end of the year, I am offering 50% off on these sessions if you book by the end of the year. Slots limited to this offer. Contact me for details.
In the case, you really need to buy something physical take a look at these colourful and eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes from My Green Vibes. A fantastic project that I photographed this year. Laeticia, a mum and entrepreneur is set on the purpose to live with less plastic and she taught me that every little helps to reduce our plastic consumption and save our planet!
Top of mind, this is my list. What would you add to yours?