Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’

creative christmas gifts

creative christmas gifts

January 3, 2012  |  life, main blog  |  No Comments

This year, inspired by our daughter’s new Oxfam job, the family decided to make gifts rather than buy them. We also imposed a $20 limit (which was blurred a bit in some cases). The process put more meaning into gifting and produced some highly creative outcomes. In some cases, they involved weeks of work. 7 people exchanged 42 bespoke items and it was an absolute blast!

While the list below would probably be best published in November 2012, it may serve to inspire others to adopt the theme for next Christmas. Our gifts included:

  • A clock made from a Lionel Ritchie vinyl (featuring “All Night Long!) with dominoes stuck on to mark the hours and a battery powered clock mechanism at the back. Genius!
  • Fifty metres of handmade festival bunting
  • Homemade chalkboards using special chalkboard paint, and white chalk.
  • Homemade calendars, photo albums and greeting cards
  • Flywire mesh in a material covered painted frame to hold jewellery (earrings etc)
  • Large kitchen jars containing lollies or teabags, with a chalkboard strip for labelling
  • Rhubarb champagne which needs to sit for 3 weeks. It gets drier and more alcoholic with time. (Suggest reducing the sugar in this linked recipe by up to 50% on personal preference)
  • Homemade vintage apron, shower hats, bow tie, headband, phone holder and felt moccasins
  • Home cooked shortbread, chocolate plum puddings, rocky road and chocolate bark
  • Small clay vases with magnets to use as fridge displays
  • Album covered drink coasters
  • Pesto made from home grown basil
  • Hand knitted fingerless gloves, footy beanie, socks, headbands and scarf
  • Crushed and engraved vintage spoons as herb garden markers
  • Beautifully sewn serviettes and cushion covers
  • A magpie repelling bike helmet
  • Painted plaster of paris paperweight
  • Boutique virgin olive oil bottles infused with chilli, garlic and rosemary
  • A heat bag in the shape of a sausage dog
  • Lead light painted glasses for candles
  • Handmade hats for Alessi kitchen monkeys (salt and pepper shakers, timers etc)

Any other ideas, or would you rather store them up to surprise for next year?

we took them for granted

Flathead fillets at $45 a kg! Rabbit at $32 a kg! Individually wrapped quinces in tissue paper @ $4 each in Fourth Village Providore. Figs 2 for $5. Excuse me! Quinces and figs were left to rot on the ground 30 years ago.

Growing up in Gippsland, flathead and rabbits were accessible to any old hunter-gatherer with a fishing rod, ferret and some local knowledge. My father in law, Frank Ferrari, bought rabbits at one and six (15 cents) a pair. No-one wanted rabbit – chicken was a treat. We used to joke about Kentucky Fried Rabbit, thinking that some cheating Yank was denying consumers their advertised chicken. Now the boot’s on the other foot with the bunnies bringing three times the price of low flying pigeon.

Unwanted cuts like ox tails and lamb shanks are now making the butcher a healthy margin as Master Chef fuelled enthusiasts serve trendy comfort food. We knew they were good, but assumed they would continue to be cheap and undiscovered. Don’t tell anyone about the lamb back-straps at $5 a kg or what a Moore Park apricot straight off the tree tastes like!

What else today is relatively less affordable and less accessible than it was 30 years ago? Consider water and petrol, energy and houses, mushrooms and passionfruit.

What do we value now that we took for granted then? Consider space and silence, family time and customer service, less choice and clean air. It’s interesting to see how making a virtue of the fact there’s no mobile phone reception at Corinna (an eco-tourism destination on Tasmania’s west coast), resonates with guests. A temporary escape from a wired and complex world!

We’ve seen a revival of home gardens and of course the farmer’s market phenomenon has caught on like wildfire (sadly to the point of opportunistic commercialisation in some cases). I reflect on the paradox of cocooning on the one hand and connectedness on the other, as we react and learn to cope with a constantly changing world, and as we search for authenticity over superficiality.

Many goods and services are becoming more affordable and accessible, but the interesting question is, “What are we taking for granted today that will be more valued in 30 years from now?” What do you think?