Welcome to the first in a blog series on how to have an eco friendly Christmas, without ruining the fun and without spending all your money!
The first topic to look at is – Gift Giving.
Over the years, Christmas has become so commercialised. We seem to have forgotten about the reasons why we celebrate Christmas and it has become more and more about the presents we give and the wine we drink.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the negative affects that the commercial side of the festive season has, but it cannot go unmentioned and I think it’s sad that some people/families really struggle at what should be a wonderful time of year.
Now, I LOVE giving gifts, not because I have to but because I genuinely want to. Over recent years my gift giving has become much more personalised and well thought out. I don’t buy a present because I have to. If I see something I think is perfect for a person I will get it. Otherwise I will pop a note in a card with an IOU when they find something they like. That way I know that my gifts are not going to end up being returned, thrown out or given away!
Did you know that over 4 million people return a Christmas gift each year, averaging £35 per person!
Here are a few ways you can reduce the impact your gift giving has:
Gift an experience – there are 100s to choose from! From wine tasting to escape rooms, theatre tokens and zoo tickets – quite literally, something for everyone.
Buy a subscription or annual pass – This can be for a magazine (online publications even better!), farm, country park…have a look at what is in the local area of the recipient.
Plant a tree for someone.
Give to charity or sponsor something – did you know you can sponsor a toilet in a less developed country? Or a penguin at the zoo? Or you can even buy a star!
Gift vouchers – if you know of a particular shop that the recipient likes, get them a voucher for there so they can choose for them self.
I totally appreciate that some people like to give a physical gift. Something that can be wrapped and then unwrapped. If that’s you then these ideas may suit you better:
Ask for a list – some people hate the idea of wish lists for presents but honestly, if it means you’re not going to end up with gifts you don’t like, where is the harm?
Check sizes – If you want to buy clothing or shoes make sure you check sizes first!
Make your own food gifts – a home brew or wine or cider, flavoured spirits, sweet treats, jams, chutneys – a whole hamper full of yumminess.
Make your own non-edible gifts – can you sew, knit, crochet? Draw or paint perhaps? Put your creative skills to use and make a personalised gift for loved ones
Shop local – support local small business – it really does make a difference to our day when we get an order!
Shop ethical – make sure that the products you are buying meet fair trade standards and are sustainably made.
Have I missed anything? Drop me a message in the comments with your best eco gift giving ideas and I will add them to the list.