Christmas is a time of giving and sharing but what are you going to give and share? Here are 12 tips for sustainable Christmas gifts:
1. Give one good-quality, durable gift
Children (and sometimes adults) often get a number of presents which are mostly junk and are tossed out after a few days or less. Think about buying fewer, higher-quality presents that will last longer. Avoid disposable anythings.
2. Give a ‘green’ gift
Give organic, natural, renewable presents; an organic cotton or hemp t-shirt; a bowl made from recycled wood; a straw hat. If you are into gimmicky presents choose something like a wind-up torch or solar powered battery recharger. Avoid the plastic plague!
3. Give a tree or pot plant
Seedlings and pot plants are a great present that will endure. Choose native plants that will encourage native birds and insects. Potted herbs will supply culinary enjoyment and pleasant aroma for as long as they last. A range of vegetable seeds or seedlings, and perhaps a book on how to cultivate them.
4. Give a useful, practical gift
I guess everyone has received (and perhaps given) one of those useless, whimsical Christmas-themed presents – perhaps you have received many – and they end up being thrown out. Useful, practical presents like food, clothes or tools are much more sustainable. Other useful options are sunblock and natural personal care products.
5. Give a locally made gift
Buying locally made products not only helps the local economy it also helps the environment. Rather than supporting faceless multi-national corporations, supporting local people, people you may know, will help them have a better christmas too.
6. Give a second-hand gift
A classic or antique vase, bowl or ornament. A piece of memorabilia. A hard-to-get, second-hand book. A cast iron pot and pan that you have cleaned and re-seasoned makes a wonderful gift.
7. Give a hand-made (or even home-made) gift
The personal touch means a lot to people. The more personal the better. Make some jam, preserves, sauce or relish. Bake biscuits or cakes. Make a wooden breadboard or bowl. Give an artwork or a well-made piece of craftwork.
8. Give a donation
You can give a donation to a worthy charity on another person’s behalf.
9. Give a book about sustainability
Spread the word, share your knowledge and your passion.
10. Give a service or an experience
You don’t have to give an object. Give a voucher for a massage, a facial, a manicure or a haircut. Give tickets to a concert, a play, a harbour/river cruise or an attraction.
11. Don’t leave it until the last minute
In a last minute rush it is easy to grab presents that are beautifully-packaged, gimmicky junk – made in places and conditions you know nothing about.
12. Think about the wrapping
At the end of Christmas day there is usually a huge pile of wrapping paper and packaging. Try to buy gifts with less packaging and instead of wrapping them put them into a nice reusable bag or box or wrap them in a scarf or bandanna.