Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Green Christmas ideas

WaaWaa Kids at local market
Last year I was Buying Nothing New and Christmas was the absolute hardest part of the year. I realised that I am not much of a consumer, but I am crazy at Christmas time.

I did make some gifts, bought some second hand and home made, but I still found myself at some of the big toy stores at all hours of the night finding little 'stocking fillers'.

This year, I have been stuck on my back in bed for the past three weeks and I have been shopping online. I am trying not to go beserk but I have to say it really is easy to spend a LOT of money.

So here are a few things I am trying to keep in mind as I work my way through my children's 'Santa lists':

Big online stores are just big stores
Some of those online retail giants, like Amazon, have some pretty shitty working conditions. They don't lose their multi-national/corporate status just because you can't see them. You have to consciously support small retailers with good customer service. Sites that are run by real people who genuinely care about their products and the people who buy them.

Avoid over-packaging
Some products come pre-packaged (in excess packaging) and then they are shipped in even more packaging. It is ludicruous how much waste you end up with. Re-use it where you can. Recycle what is left. If you find a particularly bad culprit, be sure to report them to Planet Ark.

Buy Local
Local markets and shops are the best spots to get your shopping, especially if the products they sell are handmade by local people or made by local companies. It is ridiculous how far some products travel, just to be in your child's Santa sack. Don't forget your local thrift stores. You will be amazed at what you can find.

Service gifts
There are so many charities and sites that offer gift options that don't come in a box. With Oxfam Unwrapped, you can buy a goat for a community or some clean water for a child. Alternatively, you could buy a gift card for a massage, an experience, or plant some trees to combat carbon emissions.

D-I-Y gifts
There are so many gift ideas. I am making my own teacher's gifts this year, as well as the kid's Advent calendars and a few other bits and pieces (mostly of the baking persuasion). I am not an arty-crafty type but you can still make great stuff if you do your research and follow a tutorial.

Wrap your gifts in available resources
You don't need to buy wrapping paper or cards, you already have plenty of options available at home. Children's artwork, newspaper, old maps, blueprints, wallpaper, scraps of material - to name a few - all make fabulous wrapping paper. Use whatever works for you to avoid even more packaging this Christmas.

Sometimes you already have what you need, and you just need to zhush it a bit. For example, The Minx wants a bike for Christmas/her birthday (same/same but different) and I don't really want to spend the money getting her one. We have a spare 'boys' bike that would do the trick, so the Geege is going to paint it purple and we'll get her a basket for the front and some training wheels. Old bike becomes new bike.

Do you think about the environment at Christmas?


Anonymous said...

Great tips. Thanks.G.x

Seana Smith said...

I do, I do... for the first time ever, and only because all the children are now at school... I made a zillion candles. All the teachers are getting one. And my husband had to visit his dad in Scotland so he took candles to everyone there as Xmas pressies. What a relief. I have bought books for the mini nephews.

We use drawings to wrap pressies and leftover paper from the flowers I've become addicted to buying.

My husband is a very green Xmas person, he wants and needs nothing... he's genuinely delighted if I get him nothing at all. How tight and Scottish is that?

Peita said...

Instead of buying all your gifts new, choose vintage or pre-loved items from markets, op shops, garage sales or online sites like eBay or maybe try for eco, upcycled and fairtrade gifts made by independent artisans. Check out local markets for handmade finds or make your own – all that time and effort speaks volumes about how much you care. Think jams, biscuits, jewellery, calendars, or even a painting if you’re good at art. Go abstract if you’re not!

At Number 32 said...

Ha....I missed this little post. Fancy seeing my little face here lol

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