If we’ve learnt one thing this year, it’s that being with our loved ones is what matters most. So, as we approach the big family reunion this Christmas, let’s remember to take a moment to make our festivities as sustainable as possible.
Put on your best red-felt hat and let’s get celebrating (thoughtfully)!
First things first, try to focus on quality, not quantity
Buying fewer - but better-quality - gifts is a great way to start. Receiving one present that you’re excited about reduces the likelihood of things going in the rubbish and is more special than a bunch of less meaningful things.
Remember when the mystique and magic of Christmas was all around anticipation – about patiently waiting out 364 days for that moment when (for those fortunate enough) you could run to the tree and rip open the thing you’d been pining over all year. Remember the excitement you felt as a kid when you got that one bike you so badly wanted, or that doll that cried real tears?
Secret Santa or Kris Kringle is also a great way to cut down the number of presents to buy and frees up more time to really think about what that person would love - and there’s no better feeling than nailing that perfect gift!
Switch to eco-friendly wrapping paper
This is a big one. Glittery paper, sticky tape and ribbons can’t be recycled and make up a lot of the waste this time of year.
For an eco-friendly alternative, try brown paper and twine finished with a cute garnish from the garden, or turn your children’s art into customised wrapping paper!
Try to choose gifts that last
We all know that pets aren’t just for Christmas, but that thinking can apply to all gifts. A gift that stands the test of time is much more rewarding than a disposable lark that’s thrown out with the turkey scraps.
Stuck on ideas? Why not consider:
- A membership to your local museum, toy library or aquarium;
- A house plant;
- Vintage furniture, clothing or art found at your local Op-Shop or market;
- An online subscription to MasterClass, or a course at The School of Life;
- Sponsor or donate to a cause you care about, in your giftee’s name. Some great organisations are The Babes Project, Waste Revolution, Edgar's Mission, the World Wildlife Fund, and The Ronald McDonald House.
For bonus points on Santa’s Nice List, support your community and shop local where you can!
Alternative Christmas trees
Who wants to sweep up pine needles every day?
Alternatives like wooden trees that last forever (Etsy has some great ones!) or decorating a house plant can be just as effective. Just add lights and you’re ready to go! And if you really miss that smell of pine, add some drops of natural oil to your diffuser to create the full effect.
Wanting to add that special touch? Gift a handmade gift
With online shopping making so much available at the click of a button, it can be hard to find a gift that really stands out from the crowd. That’s where a handmade gift shines!
We’ve all got a creative streak – it’s just a matter of tapping into it! Maybe it’s a batch of bickies made with your little one, homemade candles in used glass jars, or a curated playlist of songs that remind you of your loved one.
We all know how busy everyone is these days, so receiving a gift where someone has taken time out of their day to make something for you is a truly special gesture.
Decorate with style (and support for our Earth).
When it comes to Decking your Halls, opt to reuse Christmas decorations, or make or buy them second hand.
Making your own decorations is a great way to get crafty with the kids and adds a personal touch to your home. Wreaths made from garden offcuts, bon bons out of toilet paper rolls – check out our blog here for a list of DIY ideas!
If craft isn’t your thing, hunting through op-shops and markets for a second-hand gem is a thrill of its own.
And if you do buy new, focus on biodegradable. With so many great wooden, wool, rattan, hemp, jute and recycled glass decorations out there these days, the plastic ones don’t even need a look-in.
Christmas is a time for giving, but when it comes to the environment, we’re always looking for ways to give back more.
Starting with these small changes can help keep our earth healthy for many Christmases to come - and that definitely tops our Wish List.