5 Ideas to make your Christmas a positive one for planet Earth

How can you be thoughtful and spontaneous with gift giving when everyone feels obliged to buy a gift at Christmas time? Where’s the joy in that! 

Here are 5 ideas to make your Christmas more meaningful and sustainable.

  • Avoid, if possible, buying anything brand new

This is very hard to do at this time of the year when the pressure is on to get everything organised and not left to the last minute. Searching out second hand and recycled gifts is not difficult but it’s time-consuming.

A 2016 survey conducted by Gumtree found 42 per cent of people in NSW (the largest spenders at Christmas time) would consider buying a second-hand gift for a parent, while more than half would be happy to receive a second-hand item as a present.

  • Avoiding plastics

When many kid’s toys come from overseas and are at a price point parents can afford, plastic is hard to avoid. Try looking at Charity shops for quality recycled kids toys and books. An op-shop find can give new life to clothing, shoes, furniture and toys. A gift made from recycled materials re-uses items that would have otherwise gone to waste. Look for toys made from recycled materials eg. from recycled plastic milk cartons.

  • Gifts that don’t add to landfill:

These are often the most favoured but adults – homemade food items such as jams and preserves or just simply had written Vouchers. Eg vouchers for babysitting by the hour; shopping for an older person; gardening – anything you have a skill in that would be appreciated by someone you know. Simple and much appreciated.

  • Give to charity in a direct way:

So many wonderful people have thought outside the box and come up with some really interesting gifts that make you feel warm inside! The Samaritans have joined the call for a more ethical gift giving this year and suggest you donate with this great Christmas card note – “This Christmas, my gift for you is one that keeps on giving. I’ve donated to {charity name} on your behalf and now, thanks to you, the world is looking a little bit brighter for someone in need!” Perfectly said!

There are many, many charities that are in desperate need so support your favourite or look at Joyspreader, UNICEF Oxfam Unwrapped or how about supporting a child’s learning as a Gift with The Smith Family?

  • Lastly the Christmas tree debate.

Real or plastic? But which is more sustainable? It turns out, neither. Although our plastic Christmas tree has lasted over 30 years, eventually it will end up in landfill. Driftwood branches make lovely Christmas trees, as does a tree already growing in your garden. There are some fab ideas pinned on Pinterest for you to find one that suits your family.

 

 

Gifts pictured from Oxfam Australia- Big Nose Spectacle Stand, Sheesham Wood, 5 animal finger puppets, ‘Bush Tukka’, Kids Farmhouse set, Clock Puzzle, ‘Who is Happy’, Bicycle Bookends  also Green Toys™ Rescue Boat & Helicopter

Try these websites where we have picked a few of the many great items available.

• Kids organic and recycled thongs. Search for Eco-Friendly Green Toys (many websites stock these from the USA).

• Find some wonderful wooden toys to replace the plastic. See Ethical gifts, Ecoo, Oxfam

• How about some reusable items such as steel straws or bamboo kids clothing.

• These Fair-Trade candles from Swaziland have an animal print that glows as the inner wax melts.

• Or these brightly coloured Tote Bags from Zanzibar made from ‘upcycled’ Dhow sails.

• These cute kids drink bottles that can stand on their little legs are popular. Or for your little swimmers a reusable, washable swim nappy.

 All the sites we have mentioned have loads of other ethical gifts so happy browsing. Remember don’t add to your credit card debt for items that you don’t feel will last. Choice recommends comparing products and prices, avoiding shopping centre traps, acting on refund rights and signing up for free product safety alerts before parting with money this holiday season.

Let’s enjoy a positive Christmas for planet Earth!

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