Beyond Statistics

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a peek at the statistics for the Off the Ground website. The most popular blog post (even beating this one about a royal wedding!) is all about why people litter. I’m not completely surprised—every so often someone shares it on Facebook and the number of views shoots up into the hundreds. However, I am stunned that it has been seen nearly 7000 times since it was first published in 2019.

The second most popular post is this one from the beginning of the pandemic. This is a shocker because, well, there was a lot of other things going on at that time and I expected it to get lost in the news cycle.

The third most frequently visited page on the website? The More Thought, Less Waste Gift Guide. Considering I only advertise it around Christmas—and it has nothing to do with litter— I am thrilled to see that so many people are interested in learning how they can reduce their wasteline over the holidays.

One of my top tips for cutting back on waste when giving gifts is to plan ahead. This is especially pertinent when it comes to avoiding CBP (Christmas Buying Panic), but it’s applicable to any gifts you want to give throughout the year. And this is why I’m flagging up the gift guide before we’ve even reached Easter.

In particular, I wanted to highlight the idea of giving experiences. Things like a day out, courses, or memberships are such a great way to not only eliminate waste—they don’t need packaging, wrapping, or bows— but they also prevent the accumulation of stuff around the house. Maybe it’s because I officially reached middle age last year, but I am at the point in my life where I do not need more stuff. I have all the stuff I need, and if there is stuff I want, I will just buy it myself.*

In Chippenham, we’re fortunate to sit at the epicentre of a variety of incredible experiences that can easily be converted into gifts. If you have a crafty adult in your life who is itching to try something new, the Chippenham Museum offers courses with talented crafters. The Creative Workshops for Adults have been a real highlight of my year thus far, and I highly recommend making a mug with Mark from Blue Artemis or learning about cyanotypes with Libby of Bloemen & Blue. The Wiltshire Scrapstore offers a Crafting with Leather course, and if you’re looking for something completely different, check out Craft Courses for a wide range of learning opportunities.

Are your family and friends less crafty and more sporty? Maybe a taster session at the recently opened ARC Climbing Centre would be right up their alley. I haven’t had a go yet, but it’s definitely on my list of things to try this year (and I am the opposite of sporty!).

Going even further afield (and requiring a bit more dosh), there are annual memberships to places like Westonbirt Arboretum, the National Trust, Cotswold Wildlife Park, and Bowood.

In general, experiences are typically shown to lead to greater happiness, are better for the environment, and allow money to stay within the local community. On top of all this, your recipient isn’t left with a knickknack that needs dusting. It’s a winning combination all around!

Growing up in the US, Elaine was a fairly uncommon name and I could never find products with my name on it. I’m making up for it now.

After planning ahead, please see the second rule of avoiding CBP: know what your recipient wants.

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