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Oh, how joyful? Gifts that are truly enjoyable

“Dear Santa, how do I find meaningful gifts?” We have a few inspirations for your wish list.

Soon we will celebrate the “Festival of Love” – not even the Christmas grouches can evade it: shop windows are decorated festively, online shops advertise with special offers, the air is filled with cinnamon scent and “Last Christmas” can be heard everywhere. And every year the same question: What am I going to give to my loved ones?

This time we will turn the aspect around: We help you with your own wish list so that your family and friends can make you smile with meaningful gifts. In addition, we will enlighten you with some facts that you can use to brag during the Christmas dinner 😉.

In the middle of the cartoon is a Christmas tree. Santa (left on picture) says “I've put your present under the tree.” The beaver on the right beams saying: “A trunk! Thank you!”

Gifts are often well meant, but often are not what the recipients wished for or needed. (Source: Cartoon «Nicht lustig!» by Joscha Sauer /, translated)

Where do the presents come from?

Christmas presents are (promise!) not an invention of the salesmen. Already the three wise men from the East gave the child of God gold, incense and myrrh. Thus, Christianity links the tradition of giving gifts with the birth of Jesus Christ.

Depending on culture and region, however, the customs differ: While we put gifts under the tree on December 24th, the Americans put socks near the fireplace and put shoes under the Christmas tree. At night Santa fills them with presents – how he fits through the Chimney doesn’t matter to anyone.

What makes a good gift?

Whether in a box or in the socks: There are gifts that truly are a gift! “Well meant” only too often changes into “can this be exchanged?”. The good news: Gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive. What do the recipients appreciate the most?

The right gift ...

  • provides joy
  • is a (long desired) wish
  • is personal
  • is useful and needed
  • pleases and impresses
  • smells or tastes good
  • is high-quality.

The statistics from the year 2020 showed how much the Swiss spend on each Christmas present and where they buy the presents.

According to statistics from Statista from 2020, 30 percent of the Swiss population bought their Christmas presents in a store. During the pandemic, online shopping became the first choice with 32 percent. 23 percent had not yet decided, 15 percent of the respondents forwent Christmas presents. Those who give presents, spend a considerable amount of money: About 60 percent planned on spending more than 50 Francs per gift, approximately one third spent between 21 and 49 Francs.

The classic: “evergreen” like the Christmas tree

After COVID giving presents has become more important. An online survey (in German) among 1000 people in Switzerland from last year showed that more money is spent on presents. In addition, more people were given gifts, which is eight instead of six people previously.

On the ranking for the most popular Christmas presents these classics could still be found:

  1. Books and games (65 percent)
  2. Clothes (45 percent)
  3. Electronics (41 percent)
  4. Cosmetics (37 percent)

Those who want to be sure give gift cards or money. The ones who prefer more individual gifts, go with personalized gifts with name engraving or a greeting.

“Christmas usually arrives when you have the least amount of money.”

Willy Meurer (1934 – 2018), German-Canadian businessman

Gifts for people in wheelchairs

Various colourful socks with funny Christmas designs next to each other. They are showing Santas, reindeer, Christmas trees and stars.

For socks or clothes for wheelchair users it is important that the clothes are easy to put on and that they don’t cause any pressure sores.

Not again socks! What would make you particularly happy? Which presents would change your life positively? We would like to share some inspirations from our Facebook survey within “Rollstuhl-Gruppe Schweiz” (EN: Wheelchair Group Switzerland) and from direct feedback with you:

Those who like futuristic and practical items can collect money for a semi-autonomous robot Gita. It helps transporting daily items up to 20 kilos.

Nowadays also sellers such as Amazon carry products for wheelchair users. But it’s obvious that assistive devices have to work. It may therefore be advisable to trust specialized companies.

Many practical daily living and therapy devices are available at Orthotec. And to make sure the gifts fit, they can be tested without commitment in the showroom. Also the shop of Active Communication offers numerous ideas, for example:

If you are looking for a sustainable gift, you may be able to find the perfect one in the Orthotec second-hand market.

The video of the English company Active Hands will inspire you for further ideas.

Do your loved ones require support for smartly wrapping your gifts? Here you go:

Special gifts: genius or discriminating?

The 26-year old Laura Mench depends on an electric wheelchair due to a progressing condition of the nervous system (Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Disease Type 1D). In her project thesis “Gifts for persons with disabilities – tips for giving ableism-free gifts” (in German) she reveals a clear opinion: Gifts that reduce a person to their disability equal “ableism”, meaning an unjustified discrimination due to a physical or mental impairment.

Laura therefore doesn’t want any gifts that “make things easier” or “allow her to do something” but gifts that have nothing to do with her impairment. Her favourites:

  • Give a fashion-conscious lady with an impairment a pleasant fragrance, a nice lip stick or a beautiful decoration piece for her apartment (no children’s toy!).
  • Give a wine connoisseur in a wheelchair a nice bottle of red or white wine.
  • Give the person with an impairment something they have on their wish list (asking is for free).

Furthermore, Laura warns: a commercial massage cushion may even cause pressure sores or pain – therefore hands off! Also note that costs for assistive devices are often covered by the health insurance anyways.

One way or the other: The probably most beautiful gift is time together. Or in the words of Mariah Carey: “All I want for Christmas is you”. We wish you magical holidays with lots of Christmas trees, tinsel, and angel trumpets.

“Compliments are gifts that nobody will want to exchange.”

Klaus Klages (1938 – 2022), German practical philosopher

PS: Should you ever have to fake “true joy” learn it from the kids …

Have you made your wish list? Which Christmas present makes you smile?

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