Week 32 -7 Green Christmas Present Ideas
With the festive season fast approaching and many people being far more organised than me when it comes to present shopping I thought a post in my Weekly Green Tips series about the types of presents you can give whilst helping the environment would be a timely idea. Rather than listing specific green items I am, instead, suggesting how you can switch your whole buying ethos to one that moves away from the huge excesses that currently seem the festive norm. Can we work together to make this a Christmas where you still give generously but not excessively?
7 Green Christmas Present Ideas
1. Less is more
Truthfully, do we really NEED all the presents that pile up under the Christmas tree? We know babies prefer playing with the box and most people would be quite happy with a couple of really thoughtful presents. So rather than than feeling you should splurge our all that money, cut back and keep it simple. If you have a large family why not do a Secret Santa so you buy one present for one family member only?
2. Buy from small independent shops/businesses and traders
Don't line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders when you can help a family put food on the table and pay the bills by buying from a family run small business.
3. Make your own gifts
Now I admit I am terrible at sewing anything but I make a mean jar of chutney/jam and my cakes/sweets aren't bad either, if I say so myself. People love home-made presents so put your skills to work and make some presents for this Christmas.
4. Buy fair trade, ethically produced, recycled and organic products
Over-packaged, imported plastic presents from the far east are not really doing much in the way of helping the environment. Now that you are buying fewer presents than other years you can spend a bit more time checking their green credentials. Choose organic foods or clothes, toys made from sustainable wood, products where the workers are paid a fair wage and work in decent conditions and gifts made from recycled or upcycled materials.
5. Give "service" gifts
Presents do not have to be actual "stuff" - what parent wouldn't love a baby sitting token so they can have a night out? Then there are memberships you can buy or you could adopt a wild animal or sponsor a child. We used to buy our parents goats ... well the villagers in where-ever got the goat and we got the satisfaction of knowing we were helping families in need without having to do any of the cleaning out!
6. Ask people what they want
How many times have you received a gift you really don't want? Too often to mention I suspect so why not ask people what they actually want?
7. Don't buy just because you feel you should
So your friends buy presents for all the children in your child's class and you now feel pressured into doing the same? We teach our children not to buckle under peer pressure yet we watch all the Christmas adverts, see the shelves piled high with stuff and we enter a buying frenzy ourselves. Stop! Enjoy the adverts but then apply points 1-6 and do not buy because you think you should. But if you REALLY want to buy oodles of stuff then think about buying for a child in need. Various shoebox schemes exist such as Samaritan's Purse where you fill a shoebox with gifts for a child who might otherwise receive nothing on Christmas morning.
So have I convinced you to buy a bit less this Christmas and spend in such a way that will help the planet? Christmas is a wonderful time to show your generosity, just don't go overboard and this year and think outside the (Christmas) box.