Jan 112019
What I got for Christmas (Eco-Friendly Version)

Christmas has come and gone and I’m finally over the dreaded illness. Due to being sick, this post is going up later than planned. Rather than list all the lovely gifts I received for my birthday and Christmas in 2018, I thought I’d highlight the eco-friendly and sustainable presents.

As with every blogger, I feel I should include the disclaimer that the intention of this post isn’t to brag. People are genuinely interested in seeing what gifts other people received, and this post will be particularly useful if you’re on the hunt for eco-friendly gift ideas for birthdays, to treat yourself, or even (dare I say) for next Christmas!

watson at christmas
Watson watching Lucy open her presents
Minimising Waste:

I did my best during the holiday season to minimise waste (including food waste), recycle wrapping paper, reuse cards and gift wrap, and not go overboard on gifting, but there’s no denying that Christmas is not a sustainable/eco-friendly holiday.

The biggest guilt came from international travel, with a huge carbon footprint for the airplane and item after item of single-use cups, cutlery, stirrers, and food containers on the flight. As I discussed via Instagram with a fellow eco-conscious human, consumers can only do so much and it’s equally the responsibility of the airlines to switch to sustainable materials during meal service. Air New Zealand , for example, is already making progress, so come on Air Canada, do your part!

I digress, on to the presents! Some of these items were on my wish list; others were a total surprise.

Fjallraven backpack

The backpack I used every day for work actually came free as a set from Tesco from Lucy’s mum, and I used it for years until it was literally falling apart. It took me a year to decide what type of backpack I wanted as a replacement. I had a laundry list of requirements: stylish, ethically made, compact, side pockets, lots of compartments, durable, dark colour, and padded shoulder straps. After a lengthy search, I settled on the Fjallraven Raven 20L backpack and Lucy got it for me for my birthday. It’s perfect!

Birthday presents
My birthday haul
Beeswax Wraps

Lucy’s parents were incredibly thoughtful at buying me eco-friendly birthday gifts; I’m thrilled that they went to the effort to search for sustainable items. I got a new set of beeswax wraps, which are an alternative to cling film. I talk about these in my post on an eco-friendly household (part 4).

Reusable Parchment Paper

Another cool idea from Lucy’s parents, I received a reusable cake tin liner to replace parchment paper (I think it’s made with teflon).

Eco-friendly Cleaners

Even though we buy re-fillable cleaning products, it was nice to receive some environmentally friendly dish soap and multipurpose cleaner from the National Trust.

Cora Ball

This was a total surprise. I had almost purchased one in the autumn but decided the price was a bit too steep to spend on a whim. This gift from Lucy for my birthday sure had me guessing what was in the package! Cora Balls go in your washer and are intended to capture microfibres so that they don’t end up in the water supply. I’m still unsure of its efficacy, but trying something to reduce water pollution is better than doing nothing! See: Cora Ball Review

Blue Planet II

I’d been patiently waiting for Blue Planet to come to Netflix in the UK because we don’t have a T.V. license to watch BBC, but I gave up and asked for the DVD for Christmas. I love nature documentaries and I’d been wanting to see the episode about plastic pollution for a while. It wasn’t as in-depth as I would have liked, but I can see why the series got the world talking about the plastic crisis.

Blue Planet 2

Kilner Jars

Another great sustainable gift from Lucy’s parents! We got a set of six medium-sized kilner jars for us to store our bulk food. I’ve already used them all for storing tea, brown sugar, and rice.

Cloth Bags

To add to our stash, Lucy got me a set of three cloth bags from a low waste UK-based shop. A great gift idea for anyone looking to make sustainable swaps!

Reusable cloth bags

Bamboo socks

This was the Christmas of socks. I got a free pair of bamboo socks from Thought Clothing, a pair of bamboo socks in my stocking, and at least five pairs of socks with dachshunds on them from Lucy. 🙂

Elate Cosmetics

Back in the summer on my trip to Vancouver, my mom and I went into a low waste skincare store in Fort Langley and I got some blush from Santa early for my stocking. What we didn’t realise is that the wooden container for the blush (which we thought was empty) actually already had blush in it! So now I have a gorgeous bright pink cheek and lip tint (Elation) that came in a bamboo container as well as a pressed powder blush in the shade Titan that came in paper packing with seeds in it to plant wildflowers.

Elate Cosmetics

Hand knitted dish clothes and floursack tea towels

Reusable cleaning items like dish clothes and tea towels are great gift ideas and can replace disposable sponges and paper towel. Apparently floursack towels are good for wiping glassware.

Dish cloths

Bamboo chopping board

A thoughtful gift in my stocking. You can never have too many cutting boards/cheese boards.

I thought I’d also mention three great gifts that Lucy got: A book on composting (for when we move into our new house), work gloves (for DIYing in the new house), and a jumbo pack of recycled post it notes that came in no plastic packaging from my brother. All great sustainable gift options!

 

What sustainable items did you get or give for Christmas/ the holidays?

 

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