With every shop vying for your custom at this time of year, it's easy to forget what Christmas is meant to be about – giving. And not just to friends and family, but to those less fortunate than yourself. It's something that's often said but not acted upon as much.
Here's a solution. A currency especially for Christmas: the Tiding.
Local currencies, sometimes referred to as complementary currencies, have existed for many years, and been used in many different places. In most cases they aim to stimulate a local economy by offering you more for your money when spent in said community. In other cases, such as the Fureai kippu in Japan, they can act as a reward scheme – in this instance, for helping the elderly in their community.
The Tiding takes this concept and applies it to countries celebrating Christmas. Its aim is to attempt to curb the dominance outlets like Amazon have over sales at this time of year by offering a ‘more for your money’ scheme in independent shops. In addition, a percentage of the sales using the currency would go to a charity.
The design of the paper note is inspired by history's greatest humanitarians and Christmas imagery without becoming cliché. The 20 Tiding example celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. as well as a forest of conifers. The geometric pattern in the background is an abstract musical notation of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, with each gap representing a point on the stave. It's a system that can easily be adapted for different values of notes, with colours, imagery, people and chosen carol all changing to create variety.
However, remaining as a paper currency would limit its appeal. In a world where purchasing can be done digitally, whether it be through Apple Pay or alternative currencies such as Bitcoin, an electronic version of the Tiding would be essential. As an idea, it can be applied to many different existing models such as a pre-paid contactless card, like Royal Mail's travel money card, or a digital wallet that stores your Tiding and spent through an app.
In addition, a new currency requires a new symbol. The Tiding’s was inspired by the Latin, word for giving, dans. The strike through it creates a distinct marque that feels right at home on a bank note and easily hand-drawn.
So perhaps this year instead of buying your 10-year-old nephew this season’s most popular telescope, venture out to your local astronomy shop and double the gift with a Tiding.