Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Reducing your environmental impact and your stress levels!
The biggest impact we have at Christmas is the amount of “stuff” that we purchase. We all spend a lot of money on gifts at Christmas, so why not make them sustainable, where possible. Here are 8 tips and strategies to help you choose more sustainable Christmas gifts:
1. Start Early
There is nothing worse than racing around town on Christmas Eve trying to find a last minute present for your Mum. Invariably this is when you end up spending too much on something that’s probably never going to be used! It’s such a great idea to start your Christmas Shopping early and avoid that stress and panic buying. Especially in “Covid Times” we’ll all be shopping online more than ever, so starting early is key!
2. Wish Lists
Ask family and friends to draw up a wish list. This not only takes the stress out of shopping as you know exactly what to get, but also ensures that the gift is truly wanted/needed and therefore a more sustainable option.
3. Kris Kindle
This is a great strategy for adults, especially if you have a big family. Agree a budget and draw names out of a hat (my kids love this part!). Wish lists can also play a role here to ensure everyone gets one great gift that they will really love.
4. Gift Experiences
A good idea is to gift experiences rather than material things. We are more likely to remember an experience we shared with our loved ones rather than a material gift. Some examples are:
- Cinema & Theatre Outings
- Dinner for Two
- Voucher for a massage, manicure, facial, etc.
- Go to a class together e.g. cookery demonstration, etc.
- Subscriptions for a movie channel, sports channel, a gym, etc.
Experiences work well for kids but you will probably need to throw in a chocolate Santa or something like that to avoid disappointment on the day! Some ideas include:
- Lessons – horse riding, skiing, pottery, or whatever they are into
- Zoo membership
- Aquarium membership
- Voucher for Ice cream shop, movies, book shop, etc.
- Family Bowling Day
There are great templates online for treating your family and friends. For kids, there wonderful ideas for coupons e.g. pyjama day, family game time, movie night, baking day, story time, 30 minutes extra TV/gaming time, hot chocolate voucher, etc. It’s a great idea for an overworked Mum or Dad also, e.g. vouchers for an afternoon off, lazy sleep in, breakfast in bed, etc.
5. Gift Your Time
Another good option is to gift your time – we all know how precious our time is, so it’s a very generous present. There are great templates available online which you can print off and include in a card. Some examples are:
- Babysitting Voucher
- Share your knowledge and teach someone something
- Decluttering help
- Cleaning out the attic!
(Free templates here: https://www.themummytoolbox.com/homemade-christmas-gift-vouchers-free-printables/)
6. Sustainable Gift Ideas
- Buy local where possible
- Avoid plastic and microplastics
- Choose wood or stainless steel options instead of plastic where possible
- Use curated websites which have fantastic eco gifting option such as: Reuzi.ie, LittleGreenShop.ie, The Kind.co, Evergreen.ie, Ecostore.ie, Greenoutlook.ie
- Art and crafts are great gifts for creative minds
- Stainless Steel Straws, lunchboxes, etc.
- Stainless Steel Ice Pop Maker
- Fountain pen and cartridges
- Ecofriendly stationary such as notepads from recycled paper & wooden stationary such as rulers, pencil parers, etc.
- Wooden building kits
- Vacuum insulated drinking bottle such as Kleen Kanteen - choose mat version as it doesn't scratch
- Stainless Steel Lunchboxes/containers for taking a healthy lunch to work (one of my favourites is “U Konserve” which is available in Reuzi)
- Beeswax wraps (Available in Nourish, Reuzi and Hopsack). These can be expensive and there are great tutorials online for making your own – so easy!
- Palm Oil Free Soap (e.g. Irish made, palm oil free soaps in Nourish)
- Foam Soap Dispenser (Amazon.co.uk)
- Silk tooth floss (refills available) (Available from Hopsack, Reuzi, Minimalist Waste Grocery)
- Natural Body products in glass jars (e.g. Roza (Irish), Oxmantown (Irish), Hawthorn (Irish), Antipodes)
- Stainless steel measuring cups for the Baker
- Wooden chopping boards for the Chef
- Gift consumables such as wine, jams, honey, chutney, the ham/turkey etc.
- Subscription to a veg box delivery (e.g. Green Earth Organics)
- Sourdough Starter Kit (e.g. Hopsack)
- Biodegradable natural rubber yoga mat (Liforme €120)
- Voucher for a Sustainable Shop e.g. Reuzi, Little Green Shop, TheKind, etc.
7. If in doubt, gift consumables
If you’re not sure what to buy someone then a gift of wine, food, etc. is a good bet and won’t go to waste. If possible look for fair trade consumables e.g. tea, coffee, chocolate
8. Gift Receipts
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for gift receipts when you are out shopping and include the gift receipts with presents so that any unwanted gifts can be exchanged rather than just creating clutter and ending up in the landfill!
Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCThR-YF7Imewvz6EJUxiuDA/featured