Greener gift giving this Christmas

Greener gift giving this Christmas

Christmas should be one of the most wonderful times of the year, not the most wasteful!

Sadly, Kiwis produce around 30 percent more waste over the holiday period, from unwanted gifts, Christmas trees, tinsel and wrapping paper, to excess food.

Why is this such a problem? Well, the more waste that’s thrown into landfill, the more CO2 is released into the air and the more our earth suffers. Not to forget, the more rubbish we produce, the more it ends up in our waterways and oceans, destroying our environment and our wildlife.

Quite simply, Christmas can be an environmental nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Reducing waste (and as a bonus, spend) can be easy if you think outside the box and forget about the latest craze and gadgets, that will likely end up unused in the back of a cupboard anyway.

Modelling sustainable behaviour at Christmas and any time of year is also a great way to inspire family, friends and colleagues to create greener traditions for the festive season. 

Winning all round!

Here are a few tips from us to help out with greener gift giving these holidays.

Check out the local markets (+ shop NZ made)

A carefully crafted local product is always going to be a better choice than a mass-produced item.  Buying and supporting locally made (even NZ made) keeps these people in business and encourages people to spend time creating more wonderful, local products for others to enjoy.

Make something

Homemade gifts like cookies, sugared nuts, jams and preserves or perhaps a painting or craft make a great choice, because they don’t come in plastic packaging. There is something extra special about receiving something from someone you know has spent the gift of their own time creating just for you.

Gift an experience or membership

How about a movie voucher, ticket to a concert, sports game or a cooking class? A voucher for a favourite restaurant can be a good one for the hard-to-buy for.  Memberships to dance classes, the gym, beauty salon, or a subscription to Spotify or Netflix also make for popular green choices. Or give the gift of time and create your own gift voucher for babysitting or a home-made dinner. 

Living gifts

Quite literally, get green!  Give a pot plant or tree to a loved one this Christmas.  You could take cuttings from your own plants for a low cost solution or perhaps collect seeds from a native tree in your backyard. Hot tip - our empty Sol jars are perfect for propagating little plants.

Useful gifts

Yes, our grandparents were on to something when they gave us socks for Christmas.  They knew they would be well used!  Practical gifts that will be used will make a more sustainable choice than something destined for the bin when the New Year rolls around. Think wide, from favourite chocolates and food, or socks and undies, to kitchen utensils or a beautiful dish for the oven.  Don’t forget little luxury items like a nice hand, face or shaving cream, or a tub of Sol sunscreen!

Re-gift toys for children

If your children outgrow a toy perhaps a younger cousin will love it. They don't know what's new and what's not. Toys like lego, and barbie dolls seem to never go out of fashion, and can be passed down for generations to be reused over and over again.

Wrap consciously

Newsflash here – not all wrapping paper is recyclable. If it’s metallic or shiny it can’t be recycled because foil or plastics can be present in the paper, so if you’re going to buy wrapping paper, uncoated is best. Alternatively, use newspaper with some festive leaves and string for decoration, or wrap presents in recycled brown paper, which makes a great canvas for your children to draw on.  Get creative and use old cloth fabric, or buy some second hand from the op shop. 

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