As much as I love the social gatherings and cheer associated with the Christmas period, the thought of excessive gifts, gluttony and waste makes me cringe. Do you feel me? Then this post is for you! Let’s throw away the excessiveness and change the way you celebrate Christmas with your friends and family for a more conscious season.Follow
Low Waste Christmas Gifts
How many times have you been gifted deco items that don’t really fit in your home, clothes you don’t like, fragrances that you don’t like the scent of?
It’s important to buy gifts that will really be received well; something that person needs, cares for, appreciates.
Receiving Gift? Tell your family and friends who would normally buy you a gift what you actually need and what you actually like. Or ask them to make you something they enjoy making.
DIY Christmas Gifts: So much love goes into making a product with your own hands. Whether it is a food item like your granny’s jam recipe or a delicious pate or pickle, or natural skincare products like DIY body scrub, lotion or soap, or home deco like a handmade coffee candle – the person receiving will definitely remember this and think of you every time they use it / eat it.
Pre-owned Gifts: Looking for a luxury brand gift? Consider buying pre-owned luxury branded items from online stores like Open Vintage UK. The concept of buying pre-owned is thankfully an exploding trend especially amongst Millenials who may not be able to afford new luxury brands, but also because they want to promote sustainable fashion. One way is by increasing the lifetime and use of garments and accessories.
Buy Eco-Friendly and Ethical: If you’re going to buy a gift shop from ethical and sustainable brands that give back to the community and the environment. Choose especially brands that are carbon neutral – who invest the carbon footprint back into sustainable projects like reforestation. Check out my ethical and sustainable gift guide here.
Gift An Experience: Today our lives seem busier and busier. This Christmas, take someone out for lunch. Perhaps your parents are feeling lonely, or your grandma wants to experience something new. Go for it, experiences create magical moments that no physical gift can give.
Organise Secret Santa Gift Exchange: When the group gets larger – be it your family, your group of friends or your colleagues – organising a Secret Santa Gift Exchange is a super fun way to buy less, save money and really put effort and thought into that present. You can do it the DIY pick a name from the hat way or have it done online! For a decade or so my friends have used https://www.elfster.com/, check it out.
Donate: Give back time or money to a charity or a cause that you or the person is passionate about. Here are some ideas:
– Education for underprivileged children in Nepal: Maya Universe Academy
– Menstruation Hygiene and Safety in Nepal: Rato Baltin Project by BeArtsy
– Stop Sex Trafficking in Nepal/India: Maiti Nepal
– Wildlife Conservation: Save the Organtuns and other wildlife in Borneo
– Amazon Reforestation & Conservation: Amazon Conservation Association
Look for homeless shelters and ask to help out; provide meals on Christmas day or during the season, fundraise for blankets or whatever supplies are needed by the shelter. Always ask before buying and dumping items.
Eco-Friendly & Low Waste Christmas Gift Wrapping
Let’s be honest, most of the wrapping paper I see at general gift shops and stationers kinda suck. Overdone and plastified. If you want to elevate the gift you bought or made here are some eco-friendly and low waste ideas.
Brown Biodegradable Paper: opt for a biodegradable brown paper to give a minimalistic chic aesthetic. Using paper is great for kids who love to rip open gifts with their excitement and adrenaline rushing! At least make sure it will be degraded easier than plastic. You can also Re-use old newspapers and magazines – which is even more impactful in reducing your waste.
Natural Plant Toppers: take a short walk in nature and collect fresh cuttings of foliage, pines, herbs, dried followers etc – they make really attractive toppers to any brown paper or newspaper wrapping!
Re-use old ribbons and strings: Start collecting strings and ribbons from old presents – they will be so useful when wrapping up the new gifts.
Furoshiki: A Japanese technique of wrapping gifts with a cloth. Perhaps you have a damaged dress, tshirt or old scarf that is beyond repair – cut out the largest area in a square and use it to wrap gifts using the Japanese Furoshiki technique.
Low Waste Christmas Home Deco
DIY Christmas Deco & Thrifting: Check out thrift shops for some pre-owned decorative items that you can use to add up to your DIY projects. Check out how to make a Burlap bow and other tips on Thrifting.
DIY Potpourri: I had a go at making a DIY potpourri to add the Christmas vibe in the home. Using organic materials like flower petals, herbs, and fruits with essential oils are a perfect way to add a Christmassy scent. Pack it in a jar to give as a gift!
Localise your Christmas tree: Instead of opting for a plastic Christmas tree or the Pine tree check what potted trees are available locally in your town and decorate with your decoration toolbox or make your own deco using re-useable materials. Or you can also check out thrift stores for second-hand Christmas trees and add your own DIY decoration and style.
Avoid any deco with the year on them so you can re-use every year.
Store in proper boxes and containers away from damp areas and dust to prevent getting damaged and can reuse again and again.
Low Waste Christmas Food
Meal Planning: Just enough! Make sure that when you’re cooking you prepare just enough for who will be at the table. Or you can also make more if you know that you will be busy during this period and have some freezer bags, tupperware for you to freeze for leftovers.
Buy from bulk food stores: If this is available where you live, opt to shop form bulk, zero-waste stores. Think nuts, grains, pulses, sauces etc.
Make it from scratch: The best way to avoid packaging is to make your food such as sauces, filling, puddings etc from scratch. Apart from being tastier, using fresh ingredients, your food is also healthier free from preservatives and a few plastic packages less!
Leftovers: Work your leftovers to create new meals. Carve the turkey to the bone to have the meat ready for sandwich fillers, stews, stir-fries or pies. Preserve the sauces in glass containers to have later for pasta, dipping sauce etc. Here are some more ideas for Christmas leftovers from Jamie Oliver.
Wow, I’m glad you’re still with me and not overwhelmed! Pick your battle and make better decisions where you feel you can do best. Wishing you and your family a lovely festive season. Remember, Christmas is about getting together, being thankful and authentic giving.
What are your Christmas plans and what’s the one action will you take to reduce waste? Let me know in the comments below and share this with your family and friends so you’re all in the same flow of the Christmas spirit!