We need to talk about Christmas.

Christmas is back in just 357 days :D

Okay, first up, I’m not someone who spends August 31st to December 31st thinking about ‘the holiday season’ and listening to Rudolph the Reindeer on loop (well, not until December 1st anyway) but I want to mention Christmas and, specifically, the buying of gifts.

I hear a lot about how Christmas is too commercial and just a cynical way to have us buy stuff we neither need nor want, for ourselves and others, yadda yadda yadda. So here’s what I’m proposing: Don’t buy commercial crap. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty certain my kids are going to end up with something from Fisher-Price they ask for, but for gifts for aunts, uncles, parents, friends etc I’m going to get them handmade or independent retailer stuff.

Some of it I will make myself. Most of it I will buy from Etsy.com, Folksy.com and Notonthehighstreet.com.

So, why am I telling you this? Because I think half the reason we end up buying the same shit shovelled in the shelves of the same shops is because that’s what is there is at the time we come to buy it.

Buying handmade stuff, or custom order prints or having things sent from overseas takes time and planning. Most people start thinking about shopping mid-November by which time the one-person-capacity makers are usually already full. And so the same old shit from the same old shops are it.

This year. Take a stand. Make a list. Browse Etsy stores and the like. Commission stuff from sellers. Most are very open to creating something that you want, a one of a kind treasure, and there is something for everyone from hard-core gamer to a lace-loving grandma, the newborn baby to your prop-forward grown up nephew.

Refuse to be part of the commercial machine you resent so much. Plan ahead and buy something unique – just remember, don’t wait until the carols are wall-to-wall audio in the shops. If you’re really smart, and get it all bought elsewhere, you might never need to suffer a pan pipes cover of winter wonderland ever again.