Our holistic hero reveals how to find your friends a gift they’ll really love this year
My friend Kate and I were recently talking about Christmas. “I don’t want presents,” she said. “I want presence. I want to spend meaningful time with my friends and family. I don’t want things.” It got me thinking. We all know our collective consumer spending habits are verging on the gross, so maybe now is the time to gift experiences, rather than physical objects.
With this in mind, I’m considering summoning friends to a winter picnic on the beach or maybe visiting an exhibition or concert (perhaps with cake or cocktails attached). These sorts of things needn’t be expensive – there are always free events around and there’s nothing to stop you packing a cream tea or a flask of mojito or hot chocolate.
Then again, I might invite a friend round for a special ritual to help facilitate her deepest desires. You don’t have to be an expert – it really is the thought that counts. Check out my guide The Smudging and Blessings Book (Sterling) for ideas. Children, meanwhile, could enjoy learning how to build bug hotels for their gardens – the RSPB (rspb.org.uk) shows you how.
If people live further afield, I’ll call in expert help. My friends in London might find themselves with a voucher for A Place to Heal (aplacetoheal.co.uk) which they could swap for a guided meditation with Catherine Turner, or a delicious Red Tent evening. Or you could pamper someone with a divine treatment from a therapist near where they live. I’d be over the moon to receive a Beat the Blues massage or Digital Detox facial from ilapothecary in London (ilapothecary.com).
If your friends are new to concepts such as gong baths, yoga nidra or shamanic drumming circles, a gift voucher can offer a great introduction. Check your local health stores or wellness clinic for ideas. An astrological chart or tarot reading is a classy gift for esoterically-minded friends – I’m a big fan of Joanna Watters (joannawatters.com) who can do readings by Skype.
Of course, sometimes it really does have to be a parcel – I’ll confess, I still love the thrill of unwrapping a present – but you can make it meaningful and, hopefully, eco-conscious. You can’t go wrong with a stunning water bottle in a friend’s signature style – I’m obsessed with Chilly’s offerings (chillysbottles.com) – or choose a cool re-usable coffee cup such as the Ecoffee cup (ecoffeecup.com), which comes in more than 100 different designs. Weaning friends off fast fashion is a current passion and I’ll be introducing Asquith’s ethically-produced and beautifully-designed clothes to a fair few (asquithlondon.com). I also love gifting crystals, but need to know they’ve been mined ethically – so I like She’s Lost Control (sheslostcontrol.co.uk).
Of course, you could always nudge your gang into healthier living with a subscription to this mag, or by tucking a copy of my new book, Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living (Kyle Books), in their stockings. It’s packed with ideas for a whole year of seasonal, mindful living.
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