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What are some sustainable Christmas gift ideas? - OneSharedEarth
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I am trying to reduce the waste I produce this Christmas. Where can I find some ideas for more sustainable, eco-friendly gifts?
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2 Answers

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Some gift ideas.

  • Your company. Visit them or have them over. Or an audio or video call if they live far away.
  • Your services. Maybe you can help them create a kitchen garden, or look after their kids one afternoon, or teach them how to use the computer..
  • Something you make. Dinner, biscuits, cake, painting, jewellery, video, photobook, mixed tape..
  • Your house. Offer them your place for a holiday break when you are away. Even if they live in the same city, maybe your place has something to offer that they can't otherwise access?
  • Money. With other gifts, you may have to know the person well to know what they would like. With money, they could get what they really like. If giving money became a trend, a person could potentially receive enough from everyone to get something substantial for themselves. You'll be saving on wasteful packaging - a plain envelope will do & if you don't write on it, they can reuse it! Money also reduces the overhead for the receiver about what to do with an unwanted gift. In 2007, Oxfam predicted that £1.2bn was wasted on 87.6 million unwanted gifts, with an average person spending £33 on Christmas gifts that are not gratefully received - see Hill A, “Mirren Appeals for Your Unwanted Gifts” (The Guardian, 2007). According to Haq G, Owen A and Dawkins E, “The Carbon Cost of Christmas” (Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, 2007), about 80kg CO2/person could be saved if unwanted gifts were not bought in the first place.
  • Vouchers. From a store they may like. Please go for online or paper vouchers, instead of plastic ones. You can also make homemade vouchers for your products or services.
  • A trip. Some trips like those involving air travel may not be that environment friendly, so choose well.
  • Give to a charity on their behalf. Find a cause that you and they believe in. Do go over the charity's details, annual reports, etc. to make sure they spend their money well.

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In general, try to avoid anything made using plastics and other single-use materials. Instead, gifts made using materials such as organic cotton, hemp, wool or wood, for example. As well as this, rather than buying an excess of gifts, it is often better to buy less larger gifts with a greater emphasis on these sustainable materials.

It can also be a good idea to gift an experience (concert tickets or a cooking class, for example) in order to prevent waste and also add a more personal touch. You can even make something yourself, if crafts are something you excel at. Scented candles, bath bombs and homemade food hampers are all relatively easy to make. Here are some more ideas: “Christmas Green Gift Guide - 20 DIY Gift Ideas” (Little Green Dot, 2011).

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