Gifts That Keep Giving

[As published in Nov/Dec BayBuzz written by Kate McLeay.]

A sustainable festive season for a win/win

Twinkling lights, carols in the park, freshly picked strawberries, pōhutukawas in bloom. The holiday season is upon us. 


When our divine BayBuzz Life editor Michal McKay asked me what I had in mind for this column I must admit I couldn’t quite comprehend that it could be that time again already. What a year Hawke’s Bay has lived. It feels like a day and a decade have passed both at the same time.


For many in the Bay the season to be jolly will still hold the undercurrent of the long tail of the storm. How can we bow in service at this time to the greater good? Lift our community and be an active part of the healing of our land?


In a region already renowned for its generosity in supporting their neighbours in times of need, what else can we do? As many prepare to exchange gifts with loved ones, I ponder the importance now more than ever of focusing on the joy we can bring to others, as well as the ripple effects that our choices can have on our community and environment. Imagine the boost to our economy and morale if everyone in the Bay embraced sustainable, mindful gift buying and championed the cause of supporting local businesses and artisans right here in Hawke’s Bay.


Imagine the blessings of mother nature if we each put her at the forefront of our mind as a legacy of love to those who follow in our footsteps.


The Gift of Sustainability


Sustainability, the gift that keeps on giving, encapsulates the essence of responsible consumption and mindful living. In a world grappling with environmental challenges, in our region grappling with cyclone recovery, making bigger picture choices during the festive season can go a long way. Opting for gifts with a lower carbon footprint, ones that are ethically made, products that are built to last might seem like small droplets, but together they/we can make an ocean of difference. Collectively adding to a lasting legacy contributing to a healthier planet, happier region and more conscious lifestyle.


Less is more: Sharing joy


When it comes to sustainable gift buying why not consider the mantra ‘less is more’. Last year Kaye McGarva from Muse Gallery in Havelock North shared in BayBuzz that their family had opted for a no gift year in exchange for a shared experience of a memorable meal out. That inspired me. Consider gifting local experiences instead of material possessions. A relaxing day spa, a cooking class, a day at the beach, rafting down the Mohaka River, a trip to the Gannets. Not only creating magic memories but also a clutter-free sustainable life.


The Local ConnectionGifts close to the heart

Hawke’s Bay is seriously a treasure trove for local creative talent. Visit local artists listed in ‘The Hawke’s Bay Art Guide’ or shop at your local gallery or frequent the plethora of markets around the Bay with an eye for local artisans creating unique handcrafted products and art. When we buy local we contribute directly to the local economy, reduce transport emissions and foster a sense of community. A direct connection to a gift’s creator and the story weaved within it enriches the gift – making it even more special.


Curating the perfect gift


Spend time pondering the perfect gift match for the recipient’s interest, hand in hand with a win/win boost of our region. For the passionate foodie explore locally grown organic produce or a voucher to their favourite eatery. For the drinks connoisseur go straight to the cellar door. For the nature lover head to your local garden centre, nursery or market for plants or better still a grow-your-own vegetable gardening contribution. For the yoga or Pilates enthusiast a class pass to their favourite studio or a high vibing wellness retreat. Upcycled fashions for the fashionista and don’t even get me started on what potential joys lie in wait in our local second-hand marts, antique stores and op shops. The possibilities are endless with gems galore.


Wrapped in love


Did anyone else’s Nan save the Christmas wrapping and ties each year? Did anyone else’s Mum have them potato printing on butcher’s paper or newsprint to wrap up Christmas gifts? Say no to single use wrapping paper and opt for re-useable gift wraps or commit to saving your fancy wrapping to be used again. Not only does it reduce waste but also adds a personal touch and shares the love with our planet.


The ripple effect


By embracing sustainable and local gift buying we become agents of upliftment in our community. When our loved ones receive these gifts and know the story it plants seeds of awareness and mindfulness. Like a pebble in the pond the ripple extends. 


The gift of presence


Perhaps the greatest gift of all this festive season in our world brimming with distractions could be your undivided attention to those you love and value. Being fully immersed in the moment, listening to understand, putting down devices to embody the essence of genuine connection and attentive companionship. The gift of you. The gift of your presence. Mindfulness. Being present on purpose with kindness, compassion, acceptance, non-judgement. The ultimate gifts that keep giving. 

Let’s cherish this festive season by choosing gifts and interactions that reflect a thought- and heart-filled commitment to those we love, to the environment, our community, and the well-being of the collective.


I know those reading this already know this. Precious gem. What else is possible? What gifts will you share?


Together we rise.  

Books to gift by Hawke’s Bay authors:
• Alexandra Tylee - Egg and Spoon
• Mary-anne Scott - Fantastic Mr Bean
• Catherine Robertson - Pearl in a Whirl
• Charity Norman - Remember Me


Bio of Kate McLeay in Bay Buzz