This Christmas, I watched my mum unwrap a present from my granny of a ludicrously expensive bottle of moisturiser. I knew exactly how expensive it was because I’d given that very same bottle to my granny on her last birthday.
It was my own fault. ‘I’ve everything I need,’ she’d said. ‘Please don’t get me anything.’ But of course I did, she thanked me politely and wrapped it up again, ready to pass on to someone else.
Now I won’t waste money on useless presents. Instead I log on to The Good Gifts Catalogue. Set up by the Charities Advisory Trust, this is essentially a portal through which you can access over 50 different charities, some home-based, others worldwide. For a small handling fee, it offers an enormous range of practical gifts ideas, guaranteeing that all the money you pay for the gift will go to your chosen charity.
Opt for a simple voucher to let the recipient choose, or browse through the list of over 150 gifts that start from as little as £10. They range from the environmental (£25 for an acre of rainforest or £20 for a British meadow of spring flowers), to the practical (£37.50 to clear 25m2 of minefield or £27 for the gift of a child’s sight). Just reading the list is inspiring. Since my experience of giving birth is only a few weeks past and with Mother’s Day looming, I’ll make special mention of Gift No. 6034: for £25 you can provide 10 mothers-to-be with access to a midwife.
Once you have ordered, you’ll receive a card in confirmation of your order and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve giving a gift that is really needed.
So, this Mother’s Day, when you find yourself desperate to throw money at anything rather than let the day go by unrecognised, why not make your present more than a gesture? Wouldn’t your mother rather be responsible for that bit more hope and human dignity in the world than just another bottle of moisturiser?