Traditionally Christmas is a time associated with celebrating with friends and family, gift giving and often indulgence. The trouble is that this also leads to generation of waste through excess and frivolity. However, Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of unloved gifts and disposables a plenty. With some planning and mindfulness, you too can have yourself a planet friendly Christmas.
Wrap and Decorations, but not as you might think
Half the fun of Christmas is wrapping up gifts and decorating the house with Christmas decorations. That is why we are all about the eco wrapping of gifts. My favourites are reusable fabric wraps to bundle up your gifts furoshiki style. Or even the more traditional beautiful Christmas wrapping paper by Earth Greetings - 100% recycled and printed with plant-based inks makes it also kerbside recyclable or home compostable – meaning that wrapping gifts doesn’t cost the Earth! We suggest you get creative and try to find paper that you can recycle such as kid’s pictures or even newspaper dressed up can look festive.
While there are modern trends with Christmas decorations, we are fond of a more sentimental approach to the way that we decorate. A combination of special and handmade ornaments and decorations are the mainstay of our Christmas tree. Anything that we now add and collect each year is considered, beautiful and sustainable. Bamboo decorations like those from Earth Greetings are a lovely neutral item to add to your décor. We definitely give things like tinsel a wide berth as the small plastics that make up the strands are a plastic pollution nightmare!
A gift that gives more than once
When you choose gifts from local small businesses or artisans, they provide more than a unique gift to the recipient, but also a source of income for the business owner. Furthermore, the business or artisan can usually provide you with the story behind the item, including how it was made. You know that you are getting something that was made ethically, and spreading the Christmas joy for that small business owner too!
You can look out for businesses that have their own giving programs and charitable causes such as our Tree Planting Program if you are wanting to make a lasting impact. Your spending can go beyond just an amazing gift and the support you are giving the small business.
Turning kids green but not with envy
Eco-friendly gifts for kids are great on so many levels! Not only do they come built to last, such as reusable cups or drink bottles, but they are also designed to engage their minds and often get them outdoors – hello ‘no screen time’! Packs of seeds, bug hotels and other nature-based play items are always a popular item for kids who need to spend time outdoors, have a curious mind or just want to be occupied by engaging with the living world.
If your little people are crafty and enjoy getting their hands dirty, the DIY kits for paper making, bag tags or beeswax wraps might be just the thing to keep them occupied during the school holidays. Other options such as flower presses and Sunprint kits can let your littlies make some arty creations from things they find in the garden or at the local park or beach. A great way to engage with extended family like cousins and grandparents too!
Christmas can also be a great time to look at those essential daily items that are needed for back to school, such as a stainless-steel lunch box and reusable snack bags. With the bonus that you are not rushing around doing back to school shopping for these at the end of January!
Sustainable skincare for all
I am a massive fan of usable and practical gifts. Especially when they are things as lovely as handmade soaps or refillable options for the bathroom. These are a great solution for people when you are not sure what to get them - as let’s be honest, everyone needs to use soap!
A bundle of skin care, body care or baby care items can be used beyond the festive period and are fabulous when items like reusable cloths and wipes are included. Think of the savings your friend can make with not having to buy anymore single use alternatives! For me, the real draw card here is that these items come without the ingredients you can’t pronounce (!) let alone know what they actually are. Small-batch, reliably and responsibly-sourced – plus safe to use for the whole family.
Clothing for Christmas and beyond
If you are looking to gift wearable items this Christmas, it is a good time to buy items that are high quality and ethically made, as spending a bit more on a good quality item will pay off in so many ways! They tend to be much longer lasting, have an ethical supply chain, and natural or renewable fibres that don’t shed microplastics.
It’s best to look for options made from natural fibres such as cotton, wool and linen or even recycled materials. There are even sunglasses made from recycled plastics, and shoes made from post-consumer recycled materials like those made by Allbirds – how great is that!?
Start with a plan
As the saying goes “A goal without a plan is just a dream” – you want to gift mindfully this Festive Season – so let’s make a plan for it! To make the most sustainable choices for Christmas create your spending plan and gift list. As a list maker this is second nature to me, but I know from previous experience it also helps prevent that urgent last-minute unplanned dash to the shops where inevitably bad decisions are made!
Heading into the festive season with a plan will help you chose well and also stick to a budget. Start now to give you time to mindfully research what to get, from where and for who – this is curation and consideration at its best!
If you get stuck with a what to get, then an experience may be a good option. Think movie tickets and nice dinner or a trip to the zoo. Buy a gorgeous card, such as the Gift of Seeds to house the tickets (if you don’t go for the e-ticket option) and you have yourself a great and thoughtful gift for even the trickiest person to buy for.
Wrapping it up
There are so many options for planet pleasing presents! Thought and consideration are central to gift giving and can help you with sticking to a budget and prevent poor last-minute decisions.
With the right choice you can get a gift that makes an impact for all the right reasons; providing savings beyond the festive season and also helping support environmental or social organisations with funds from products sold.
What better time to make your money speak for you by supporting businesses that you resonate with and do good things for the world that we live in! By also choosing to shop from small businesses and artisans gives them the gift of your support and a gift to give your family and friends – and that’s a win-win-win!
Let’s make this year the Christmas of more love and less waste for gifts given.
Over to youWhat is your favourite planet-friendly gift to give? Share them with us in the comments below.