The Christmas season is upon us, and around the world we have special traditions to look forward to: the champagne brunch, pool parties, gingerbread men and mulled wine; ice skating; the excitement and spirit of a year's end.
With each passing Christmas we collectively think more about impact, and the life of things after we’re finished with them. There’s a need for dialogue around not only consumerism generally, but what we find acceptable to be produced, as we head into a period of immense injection of “stuff” into our homes.
Environmental considerations and positive green choices we make throughout the year can be trumped by having an overwhelming number of gifts to buy, as we look to make decisions quickly and avoid crowds.
Excess packaging, quick fashion, tinsel, throw away or joke items – these are many horrors our environment faces every holiday season. How and where we buy gifts isn’t only about the product, but the message, and we all have an opportunity to share this message – even if it means a full embargo on gifts.
If you do really love the act of giving, we’ve put together some tips on sustainable Christmas giving:
Perhaps not everyone in your life cares about the environment as much as you do, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like or can't learn from certain things you are doing to reduce your impact.
Maybe a colleague commented on how much they love your re-usable coffee cup or a cousin adored the smell of your natural perfume. Keep a note throughout the year of who liked what for effortless Christmas gift ideas that both the recipient and the environment will love, and if the opportunity arises to chat about our planet, the planet will not complain.
Not only will a well-made gift get to be enjoyed longer since it won’t deteriorate as fast—reducing the risk of it ending up in landfill—but this method also helps cut down on packaging. A more luxe purchase that focuses on something the recipient is sure to use, and you can find treasures at reasonable prices. MILOU MILOU custom flax linen pillowcases make special presents. Not only are they hypo-allergenic, breathable, anti-bacterial, utilitarian, and stylish, but you can design a one of a kind set for your recipient. We recommend choosing materials carefully – always avoid plastic and opt for timber or paper gifts like small sculptures, objects, or books. Do your research about production and processes of goods and materials.
Most wrapping paper can’t be recycled and the same goes for bows, ribbons, and other Christmas embellishments. We aren’t saying to do away with wrapping completely as it can be a big part of the holiday experience, especially for children, but the alternatives are often more stylish anyway. We enjoy wrapping gifts in thick matte brown paper and finishing with unbleached string and a sprig of native foliage.
Implementing the Japanese art of fabric wrapping, Furoshiki—if you use a scarf, tea towel, or blanket, it can double as an extra gift!
While there is something undoubtedly special about physically handing someone a gift, giving experiences can be equally as rewarding.
Tickets to a play, a series of cooking classes, or even hiring skates and hitting the pavement. Get laughing. Something tactile like a ceramics workshop offers a space to learn, and take home one’s own creation.
Experiences make for gifts people continue to look forward to, and create shared memories.
By choosing where and what you spend your money on this holiday season, you can set an example for sustainable living and feel good about all aspects of giving. A conscious lifestyle doesn’t mean forgoing things we like, but the decisions you make with your purchases really do create change.
There are so many slow and sustainable options across brands, makers and artists – we reckon hit the web, or your local markets (not the mall.)
Remember to recycle your Christmas tree responsibly too, as a staggering number of real trees end up decomposing in landfill and releasing potent methane gas. Burning it, or chipping it for mulch reduces the carbon footprint by up to 80%.