Christmas gift giving can be stressful for some, but it really should be joyful! When you have a big family like I do, the gift giving list seems to get longer by the year, with new nephews and nieces joining the fray (the current tally is 8). My siblings and their spouses are also on the list, not to mention my partner's family! Thankfully, most of my family are on a similar low waste journey to my own and we have adopted a 'Secret Santa' style approach. We are given one adult and one child to purchase for- meaning we can spend a bit more thought and time to get them the right gift. In recent years, we have also adopted a Second Hand or Home made Christmas. Last year, my sister gifted me a set of essential oils that she had blended herself, whilst I scoured eBay for a used Fireman Sam toy for one of my nephew's. It was really lovely seeing all the thoughtful gifts that everyone had found or made for each other.
Here are our eco gift tips for a more sustainable and thoughtful Christmas:
1. Buy second hand. Try charity shops or online sites such as Ebay, Gumtree or Facebook marketplace. One of our favourite gifts to give is nearly new books.
2. Think about the longevity of the gift and what will happen when it's no longer used. Does it last a generation or more? Is it made from natural materials? Can it be recycled?
3. Support local businesses and the local economy. Markets and online marketplaces such as Etsy are a great place to get unique gifts from local makers and creators.
4. Gift time and experiences instead of things. Take your loved one out to lunch or for a walk, or enjoy a special activity together.
5. Homemade gifts are thoughtful and personal. Cook or craft something that you'll know the receiver will enjoy. If you're not a maker, what about propagating plants to gift?
6. Save money by making your own gift cards and gift tags. Upcycle old cards, use natural materials such as leaves for a biodegradable gift tag and be creative with materials around the house.
7. Finally, don't forget the wrapping! Try your hand at furoshiki, the japanese art of wrapping in fabric, for a reusable option. Or try saving colourful magazine or newspaper pages to wrap gifts. Collect brown paper packaging and decorate to make your own or simply save gifted wrapping paper and reuse. Use paper tape or a natural string such as cotton
or jute to secure.
Happy Holidays everyone! We'd love to hear your sustainable Christmas ideas and traditions, tag us on social media or comment below.