Just as Australians are expected to spend almost $30 billion during the festive season, a new online service has been launched to help give gifts that keep giving.
Checking it Twice provides free personalised gift advice - helped by Santa and his ethical elves - for everyone who wants their gift choices to benefit the environment, animal welfare, fair trade and other social issues.
The service, which is the brainchild of not-for-profit group Ethical Consumers Australia also features hundreds of ideas on how to source alternative gifts that deliver positive change in Australia and in developing countries.
Spokesman Gordon Renouf said more and more people are thinking about the impact of their spending and the meaning of the presents they give and they want easier access to information to spark their gift giving imagination.
"The Christmas spirit is about sharing and choosing gifts that show you care. Well thought-out gifts send a powerful message about your values , and have a positive impact on the wider world,” said Mr Renouf.
Checking it Twice works by letting consumers enter info about who the gift is for, their budget, the issues they care about and even the sort of present they have in mind.
The service will also help address the problem of choosing a gift that is not right for the recipient.
While we’re all taught the maxim that ‘it’s the gift that counts, according to Gumtree 14.3 million unwanted presents were received this year, valued at $475 million.
Mr Renouf said that Checking It Twice also helps send a positive message to children about gift-giving and receiving.
“It helps children make active choices about their values, teaches them about charity and compassion and reinforces what Christmas is all about – giving to others.”
Depending on the gift selected, services such as Checking It Twice may even help some retail members of organisations such as the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA). Yesterday, the CEO of ANRA, Margy Osmond, said the anticipated expenditure of almost $30 billion is “a Christmas bonus” for retailers. She anticipates approximately 17% of the total expenditure this week to be spent online and the bulk of it in ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.
The bulk of overseas online sales is expected to happen in the next week or two in order for goods to be in Australian for Christmas.
Ms Osmond said women are more likely to be shopping now.
“When we looked at the demographics of consumers expected to hit the shops in the coming weeks. There were no surprises, the figures showed 53% of women will do most of their Christmas shopping between 13 November and 11 December. While one in three men said they would do most of their shopping between 14 December and Christmas Eve.”
Gift ideas from Checking It Twice
- Worm farms / balcony gardening for kids;
- Guided bushwalk;
- Help a child in another country;
- Kiva loans;
- Surfing lessons, and
- Aerial performance / trapeze lessons
Find out more here.