LIANNE DE MELLO: Last-minute alternative Christmas gift ideas

A wildlife course with HIWWT makes the perfect gift
A wildlife course with HIWWT makes the perfect gift
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CHRISTMAS is a time for giving – but more and more people are thinking about how to do things differently.

Whether it’s because we’ve run out of gift ideas, budgets are tight, or dad’s sock drawer is already full, we’re increasingly looking for more meaningful gifts for our loved ones.

Research has shown that experiences rather than ‘stuff’ make us happier.

We tend to get used to having the latest gadget or a new pair of jeans relatively quickly.

On the other hand experiences have been proven to make us happier and for longer as they stick around and form part of our identities.

And experiences that are shared with others tend to bring us closer to the people around us.

Why not use this Christmas to try alternative gifts for your friends and family? Instead of buying them material things, why not offer an experience or service, like taking them out on a wintry walk to your favourite local wild place, or a voucher for helping spruce up the garden?

You can make your money go further while ticking things of your Christmas shopping list by supporting a charity at the same time.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s online shop is stocking a fantastic selection of local gifts for Christmas.

All proceeds go directly towards our work helping wildlife and wild places in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

If you are looking for an alternative gift to give this Christmas, then here are some ideas:

n Sponsor a local wildlife species – help support local wildlife through buying a sponsorship – a one-off donation that goes directly to work for UK wildlife in the two counties.

This helps us look after our public, free nature reserves, and restore wider habitats to provide safe havens for wildlife.

n Buy a place on a course – new year often means new starts. Is there something your friend’s always wanted to learn?

Give a gift that lasts year round, with popular local courses on wildlife gardening, bushcraft and photography all coming up over the coming months.

n Support a local artist or producer.

If you are looking for more traditional gifts, we’re also working with local artists and producers to sell luxury hampers, hand-made toiletries, and beautiful one-off jewellery – all in aid of wildlife.

Find out more at hiwwt.org.uk.