I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

I love Christmas. I love bringing family and friends together, sharing the excitement and the food!  However, from about mid-October onwards I hate TV and I loathe going near shops. I really dislike having commercial Christmas rammed down my throat at every turn!

Many of us are starting to think about those we will buy gifts for. Soon we will be looking for trees, lights, crackers, food and all the other festive touches. It can be easy to get carried away with it all and hard to resist consumer-frenzy when the aforementioned TV & shops are ramming it down your throat! That way lays dissatisfaction, an empty bank balance and bin liners full of waste.

 
The season of waste?

The season of waste?

 

It doesn’t have to be that way and a Christmas without all that excess doesn’t have to be miserable, on the contrary, without all that overspending it’s probably a lot happier! Over the next few days and weeks we are sharing some top tips to plan a Christmas that doesn’t cost the earth.

 
 
Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind
— Valentine Davies, Miracle on 34th Street
 

We can all go out and buy the first thing we see, add a pair of sock and that hilarious heat activated mug and tick the box next to a name of on the list but we all know that a thoughtful gift is far more valuable than the money spent on it. Here are a few ideas …

Give time – we are all short of it so it is valuable. It means a lot if someone will spare their precious time for us. Depending on the circumstances offer an evening’s childcare or a day dog sitting, gardening or DIY, cook a special meal, go for a day out together or teach them a skill or a sport.

Give experiences– treat loved ones to a night out or even a night away, ballroom dance class, upcycling furniture lessons, cocktail making or how to knit, dinner for two, the opera, SUP lessons or horse riding – the list is endless. You know them, choose something they will love.

Give handmade - A knitted scarf, homemade candle, crocheted hat, or body lotion, peppermints or cookies in a handmade fabric bag, a painting. Take your time and your skills and turn them into something made with love. The time and effort used to make the gift means so much to the recipient (and if it doesn’t you have to ask if they deserved a gift in the first place!).

Give secondhand - save yourself a fortune and the planet by finding treasure in the buy/sell pages of facebook, gumtree or freecycle. Enjoy the hunt through charity and zero waste shops

Give local - If you’re not crafty, then try buying your gifts from a local market or craft fair or buy environmentally friendly gifts. Inspire your loved ones to take a step, or the next step, on the sustainable living ladder with maybe a bathroom kit or travel kit.

Give green - Air purifying, carbon drinking plants – there is nothing nicer that being surrounded by greenery when the world outside is cold and grey. Gift a native tree seedling to be planted out in the spring and suck up carbon for years to come, inspire grow-your-own with a veg plot plan and associated seeds or choose houseplants that purify the air and bring greater health and wellbeing. 

Give sustainability - Kick start someone else’s journey towards sustainability with a gift that helps them discover new ways of doing things and keep giving with every use - A bamboo cup & fab coffee for the coffee lover in your life; a bathroom starter kit for the teen who spends hours in there; a travel kit for those on the road a lot, a his or her kit.. the options are many and you can inspire others to start or continue their journey.

Give Gift cards – Gift the joy of online music, books, film, zero waste skincare, ethical & organic clothing or sustainable living products … Look to local suppliers to see if you can support them via a gift card or leave the door wide open and gift handmade products with an Etsy gift card and give a small business an excuse to do that little dance when the order comes in!

Give to others - If your loved one really wants for nothing, gift on their behalf to someone or something that needs support. Charitable donations, sponsor a child or animal, gift to social or environmental charities - make that gift work hard on behalf of the recipient. Try to link it to something they care about.

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