Gift memories this year

Getting the right Christmas gifts can be tricky. The perfect present shouldn’t cost too much, but it also shouldn’t look cheap.

We don’t want to spend too much time looking for it, but it shouldn’t look like a last minute buy either. It should be useful, but how do we know what the other person needs? There are so many boxes to tick that we often avoid thinking about it until it’s too late and then we panic and buy whatever we come across first. As a result, we either end up spending money on things that we wouldn’t be able to afford for ourselves or spending a small amount on something that we wouldn’t want. Either way, it’s not the best approach.

Here’s a useful question: what do you remember about last year’s Christmas? Was it the gifts? Probably not. So why don’t we remember what we gave to or got from our loved ones? It’s probably because we didn’t put much thought in what we bought, nor did we need or use the things we received.

One way to fix that is by giving memorable gifts, or better still, gifts that hold memories. If you’re like me, you hold on to the things that are precious to you, not because they cost a lot or because they are useful, but because they remind you of special moments. That could be a wedding suit that won’t even fit anymore, a broken necklace that belonged to your mother, shells that you collected with your kids on your first beach holiday, or clothes from a lost family member. Whatever it is, it might just collect dust at the moment, waiting to be binned in a couple of years.

In my case it’s my late grandfather’s neckties and my daughter’s first onesies.

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For years, I didn’t know what to do with those neckties, but I knew that I wanted to keep them. Eventually, I did find a way to treasure those memories of my grandfather by creating something that I can actually use. You can do the same thing, and make your most treasured memories usable, even wearable, by turning them into gifts.

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Here’s an idea: A dress shirt can be made into a cushion cover, a shopping bag, a purse, or even a dress. Here’s another: turn a treasured old tie into something else wearable, like a necklace, belt or headband. And those baby clothes you kept? You can turn them into cushion covers, quilts, or even wall art. Just have a look on the internet and get an idea. If you are even a little bit crafty, you’ll find something that’s exactly up your alley.

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And what if your fingers are all thumbs when it comes to crafts? There are people out there who made it their business to make those things for you. As it turns out, I’m one of them.  My expertise is in transforming men’s clothing into dresses, jewelry and accessories. The latest order for a Christmas present I worked on was from a loving grandfather who wanted one of his shirts refashioned into a dress to give to his granddaughter. This girl might not care about getting a dress for Christmas, but I’m sure that when combined with her grandfather’s stories about him being a pirate and wearing that shirt on his sea adventures, this dress will become a wearable memory to her. It might even be one that’s kept and handed down for generations to come.

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With that in mind, go on a treasure hunt and find a way to bring your mother’s, wife’s, husband’s or best friend’s memories alive again. And I promise you, they will remember every second of receiving this one special gift.

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About the Author

Born in Austria, she started tinapoelzl design in Vienna after her daughter Lili-Anna was born. Before that she also lived in Canada (Toronto), Belgium, Switzerland and moved in 2015 with her family to England, UK. tinapoelzl design  is an upcycling label specializing in refashioning men’s apparel into wearable memories.

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