Bearing in mind my previous post about re-thinking how we celebrate Christmas and the Climate Crisis, I’ve created a slightly different Christmas gift guide for 2019. 🎄Christmas Gift Guide – 2018 🎄focused on useful and ethical gifts, but I’m a firm believer that the best present is one that the recipient will appreciate, and that includes experiences as well as things. Arguably, it is still wasteful to buy someone a subscription or voucher that they will never use, and it takes away from the Christmas spirit if you’re focusing only on eco-friendly gifts, rather than the recipient. Therefore, these ideas are only suggestions, and might not be appropriate for your love ones!
There is also something to be said for the “less is more” approach. Rather than buying someone a bunch of smaller gifts because they were on sale, pick one gift that they’ve been saving up for and that they actually need/want.
Finally, I hope I’m not alone when I say that we often don’t remember the gifts, but we do remember the events. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I’m more likely to remember the fun family-gathering and sharing food and laughs than specifically what someone bought me, or what I bought them. Outings to get the Christmas tree, going on a walk to look at the lights, and Christmas Eve food and games are more meaningful and memorable for me than any physical thing.
- Handmade personalised gifts — This year we got hand-knitted bunting with our nieces’ and nephew’s names on them.
- Offer to babysit!
- Second-hand baby clothes that are in like-new condition. Kids grow out of clothes so quickly, so the most sustainable option is to buy secondhand clothes. You can often find them new with tags.
- A second-hand Christmas storybook. Charity shops are great places to find like-new books!
- Ethical stuffed animal. I absolutely love the Cuddle and Kind stuffed toys, which are charitable, fair trade, and handmade.
- Bicycle or Scooter. Great to encourage kids young and old to get outside and keep fit.
- Lessons (horse-back riding, snowboarding, guitar, archery etc.), especially where you can rent/borrow the gear.
- Crafts to do together. When I was a kid, I was given ceramic Christmas houses to paint, and they still feature in my parents’ Christmas village. Other activities to do together are: indoor herb planting project, second-hand bits/boxes to make a fort, scavenger hunt, DIY science experiments.
- Lots of kids (and adults) love video games. My suggestion is go for interactive games that you can play as a family/with friends IRL (we still love playing Wii sport at Christmas, and Lucy is keen on the Ring Fit for Switch!).
- Pay for a meal out or host a meal
- Bake cookies, homemade items
- Cinema or Theatre Voucher — Lucy and I love getting cinema tickets or vouchers. This year we are getting tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show and I’m very excited!
- Books (especially secondhand)
- For the hobbyist — If someone really enjoys spending time on their hobby, buying them related gifts is a thoughtful option. E.g. cover the cost of entering a race or offer to train with them, new gardening bits, art or sewing supplies… you get the idea. For my birthday, my colleagues very kindly gave me garden centre vouchers.
Stocking Stuffer Ideas
- A reusable bag— This year I got my mom a handy reusable bag that collapses into its own pouch.
- Eco-friendly kitchen items like beeswax wraps, plastic-free brushes, storage containers etc.
- Bars of soap in paper wrapping
- Looseleaf coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
- Fair Trade chocolate
- Ethically-made socks— Everyone can use a pair of socks. I personally love wool and bamboo socks.
Gifts for the Planet
- Plant a tree
- Hedgehog Hut— Hedgehogs are endangered in the UK now so this hut is on my wish list!
- Bee bombs
- Pay someone’s annual fee for an allotment, or go in on a community-garden plot together.
- Cuttings from your plants (indoors or outdoors)
- Compost — Ask any avid gardener and they will be over-the-moon to receive compost! You can also offer to take a neighbour’s clippings etc. if you have a compost but they don’t.
- Volunteer with someone to do a litter pick, or walk a dog at a local shelter
For more Eco-Friendly/Sustainable Christmas Tips see:Friends of the Earth
I wish you the best of luck with your Christmas gifting and please feel free to share ways you are keeping the consumerism to a minimum this year! 🎅