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Christmas gifts and being a minimalist

I choose minimalism as a way of life. This doesn't mean I don't have things or buy things, it means I'm very deliberate and particular about my purchases. I'm doing it for our furry, scaly, feathery, exoskeletal, cartilaginous (have I missed any?) friends and the earth we inhabit. I still love to give! So, how does this fit in?

Every year the ads for buying Christmas gifts start earlier, new disposable decorations come out sooner and we are bombarded with ads telling us to buy 'stuff' to show our love. One year I spent 2 days shopping for my two nephews and my niece. The boys opened up the gifts I'd agonised over and said 'I've already got this' and threw it in the pile. I did a bit better with my niece, but she was happier with the plastic jewellery maker her aunt gave her, all of which is now in the bin and should decompose in about a thousand years.

Don't get me wrong, there is joy in giving the people we love a wonderful gift that we've thought about and chosen just for them. But every year it happens, you see all the new stuff in and the old stuff thrown 'away', but there really isn't an 'away' it's just moved somewhere else. A large part of why photography appeals to me, is the minimalism of it. It's something you love, something you treasure and it's a memory of how you felt in that place and time with the people (including out pet people) we cherish. Some people lament the days of printing all your photos, but I don't. We are now more selective about what we print, we have our digital photos to flick through and share, and our very favourites we print and hang on our walls. I feel this is a much better approach for us and the future of this planet.

I've carefully chosen suppliers who make great quality artworks that will last. My wood framed tiles are made using recycled timber and are hand-made with care. I source locally to avoid as much of a carbon footprint as possible. I'm working with suppliers to find alternative packaging to bubble wrap (pushing pushing). I'm also a huge fan of gifting experiences and services from small local businesses and friends, like a voucher for their little cafe, passes to their personal training business, their massage business, hair salon or an artwork from an artist. Your purchase makes very little difference to a huge multinational but a huge difference to a sole operator. My favourite podcasters, The Minimalists, have a great article on gift giving that you can have a read of if you're interested in minimalist gift giving. You can see it here. This year, what ever you choose to give, I hope it adds value to you, your loved ones, your planet and our furry, scaly, feathery, exoskeletal, cartilaginous friends. xo Cristal

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