Christmas is all about sharing and cherishing what’s truly important. This year has been unprecedentedly hard for small business owners, people in the arts & culture industry and tourism related companies. Let’s focus on them and take this chance to give back.
In this post we give you some ideas of great and original Christmas gifts that will put a smile on the face of who gets it, but also on the person you’re buying it from.
Head to your local market
We have a crush on markets. They connect the cities to the countryside, where most of the produce is grown and (quite literally) take us back to our roots! And, believe it or not, they're a surprising place to do the Christmas shopping. Firstly you're helping the local commerce and secondly you're giving something special and truly Portuguese.
We challenge you to roam around the fruit stalls, taste the delicious seasonal veggies, chat with the local butcher's, meet the fishmongers and then create your own Portuguese foodie basket! It's Christmas market taken to a whole new level!
Culture is who we are
Our culture defines us and gives us meaning. Cinema and theatre are part of it and these industries are suffering due to the lack of spectators. Actors and actresses rely on us to keep doing what they do best, so let's support them during these crazy times.
It's best to avoid crowded indoors places, but most cinemas and theatre companies are taking all the appropriate measures to keep business as usual without compromising anyone's well-being. However, if you're uncomfortable going to a theatre hall or to an indoors cinema at the moment, there are ways to help: offer a ticket to a play or a movie marathon that's taking place next year, buy a theatre/cinema membership card. What's important is to support and find a way to give back.
Music and Books allow us to travel
Musicians and those relying directly on the music industry have pressed pause since the very beginning of COVID19. Concerts were postponed, music festivals were cancelled, partnerships were held back and tours became a distant dream. Let's press play while they can't?
Music is present all the time without us even realising and we constantly rely on it as company according to our mood swings, so here are a few ideas to support: buy the albums of local artists, support online music initiatives and buy tickets for small intimate shows. This will show them you're here for them and it will surely be "music to their ears".
Another thing that allows us to travel to distant places are books. We all felt the urge to leave our homes and the sudden lack of freedom during the quarentine and it's incredible how a simple stack of words have the power to transport us somewhere else without leaving the couch... Small independent bookstores are struggling, so giving books this Christmas is a fantastic idea to help both ways!
By the way, we have a cute children's book available in both Portuguese and English! Check it here or on the stories highlights of our Instagram account.
Busy hands, busy minds
The uncertainty creates anxiety and stresses us out. Our daily routines changed and what we perceived as normal isn't that normal anymore. A good way to distract ourselves is keeping our hands (and minds) busy.
Many local artisans sell their creations through local stores, and others have online shops. It doesn't matter where you buy it from, as long as you give a hand.
If you're the type of person who rather get their hands dirty, you can also buy or offer a workshop! Just look around and you'll certainly discover loads of cool options just around the corner: ceramics workshops, cooking classes, tile painting sessions, knitting and weaving tutorials...
Staying active is a way to stay positive
When we focus on ourselves, we take steps to ease our minds. Sports and physical exercise have the power to keep us grounded and relaxed.
The idea of packed gyms and crowded sweaty classes might be scary, but one-to-one PT sessions, exclusive yoga courses or online HIIT training programmes are a safe bet! It's a matter of looking at the bright side of things. It's cheesy but it's true :)
Travelling is dreaming in motion
The tourism industry is suffering in silence. Many companies went bankrupt, tourist guides have lost their way and all the other businesses that rely indirectly on tourism have been hit hard.... It's a sad cycle caused essentially because of the lack of international tourism, which was one of the main causes of the late buzz that Portugal has received.
However, travelling is still possible and our country is a joy to discover! Seize these times to truly get to know our little corner and plan some family holidays or a short escape!
At My Bookpack we help planning personalised trips in Portugal and we'd be happy to help you plan an escape for 2021. We also have My Bookpack travel vouchers available, which are a great gift! What's more thrilling than making plans for the future?
This year has been nerve-wrecking and really challenging for everyone, that's no doubt about it. But when times get harsh it's even more important to focus on what truly matters and help the ones that need the most, because in a way they're also part of who we are. The sooner we realise cooperation, solidarity and simplicity are key, the sooner we'll get back to normal... or even to a new and better normal!