As soon as November rears it's head, it seems that newspapers, magazines and the television become saturated with those dreaded gift lists. 'Buy this!' the advertisements scream at you, halfway through the latest episode of Homeland, 'your world will be transformed!'. 'If you buy that, your kids will love you forever!' promises the lady grinning manically up from the pages of the Sunday supplement. It drives me absolutely crackers - I watched this (fairly old) documentary on YouTube about where stuff comes from and where it goes, and it only cemented what I already thought; we're being constantly manipulated and sold a pointless lie. So I decided not to do any gift list posts this year - not even ethical ones - in the hope that more people will follow suit in thinking outside the box, making gifts themselves and buying second hand items for their nearest and dearest. (There are some incredible blogs out there at the moment with a gazillion tutorials and ideas for a more ethical Christmas; Mel has done a great tutorial on handmade bead necklaces and Lucy has posted two amazing posts about the tyranny of toys and unorthodox Christmas presents for kiddos.)
I'm going to allow myself one recommendation though; the incredible Little Book of Craftivism brought to you by the amazing Sarah Corbett. I've gone on about the Craftivists a hundred times before, so they really don't need an introduction (and if you've missed it, click here and immerse yourself in the world of gentle, peaceful activism through craft), but the book is faaaabulous and makes the perfect little Christmas gift. It starts with an introduction to Craftivism and tells Sarah's story, then moves quickly on to various small and simple (but highly effective) project tutorials, and even includes some stitch guides. There are also loads of tips and facts that will help even the most novice craftivist, and it's ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about the subject, or who feels stuck for ideas. Plus, the photographs are proper craft eye-candy. I was one of the lucky crowd-funders, so I managed to get my name in the front as well, hurrah!
For the princely sum of £5, it would make the best present, stocking filler or Secret Santa gift, and would last a lot longer than novelty gadgets that are funny on Christmas morning, but have been relegated to the bin by lunchtime (George Monbiot has written a great article on exactly this. Oh, and he wrote this one as well which is also pretty good). To get yours (gift wrapped, with a lovely bow!) head to the Craftivist Etsy shop - bugger the plastic, give a package full of ideas and inspiration this year.
(I'm not bashing anyone who might have chosen to do a series of 'gift list' posts on their blogs, by the way - loads of my faves have done a few - but they're just not my bag!)