Christmas is a time of giving and celebration, but it’s also one of the highest season of mass consumerism. Don’t worry, I’m not here to encourage anyone to be a Grinch. But there are many ways we can rethink how we approach this season, be a little extra mindful, and at the end of it still have an amazing and meaningful time with friends and family. Minus the excessive waste.
#1 Skip the Wrapping Paper
Get creative with reusing materials you have at home for gift wrapping.
Visit second-hand charity shops for pretty scarves or even unearth some old forgotten scarves from your closet, and do a Furoshiki wrap around your gift.
It’s really pretty and unexpected to most people, even adding a touch of finesse to the whole gift wrapping experience. It’s twice the amount of gift – a reusable wrap and the actual gift itself.
If paper is your thing, try using plain butcher’s paper (or mahjong paper) and twine which can be easily reused after the holidays. It leaves you more room to decorate and write messages as well. I like reusing the paper to wrap vegetables to keep them fresh in the refrigerator
There are so much else you can reuse – the wrappers of flower bouquets, the tissue paper in gift boxes, paper bags, pages of an old children’s activity book, and of course, saved wrapping paper from previous gifts.
#2 Bring Your Own….. BOX!
Many would agree that the favourite part of the post-Christmas slump is the leftovers. If it is a potluck and you are purchasing food to order, let the business know that you will be bringing your own container to the store for pickups. While saving on packaging, it also makes it easier to deal with any leftovers after the party is over, you just pop the cover back on and bring it home with you.
As for the rest of the leftovers, party hosts are usually more than happy for you to help finish up. The less food wasted – the better. This year, I’m letting my hosts know that I will be bringing reused containers to help with any leftovers.
#3 Save and Reuse Again
Christmas decorations and trinkets like Santa hats are often repurchased every year (especially for parties), contributing to the pollution from cheaply made “disposable” products every year (like in the Chinese town of Yiwu )
So instead of shopping for a party, get everyone to reuse Santa hats of Christmases’ past and trade ugly Christmas sweaters instead of buying new. It gives everyone the opportunity to build new traditions, like seeing the same iconic Christmas sweater popping up again and again in photos. Remember to also save whatever trinkets and decorations you can for reuse next year!
The only thing that makes them disposable is how we treat them. Treat them with care and they will continue to serve you for years to come.
#4 Gift Experiences, not Things
Gifts are delightful to open, but may often lay out of use after the surprise is over. Experiences on the other hand can be enjoyed while creating less production waste to manufacture an item they may not need.
So instead of purchasing another perfume set for them to display on a counter, why not gift experiences instead?
Here are some ideas:
- Movie tickets
- A staycation
- A Spotify or Netflix subscription (or other paid subscriptions they would appreciate but never got around to ‘splurging’ on)
- A spa / massage gift voucher
- A gift card / voucher for a nice dinner out
- BOOKS! (preloved, if possible)
Food as an experience gift has the added bonus of being a physical item to place under the tree too. It’s savoured for the moment, but doesn’t add permanent clutter to someone’s home.
The extra step here would be to go with package-free food or plastic-free food. My personal favourites are premium dark chocolate (usually wrapped in foil and paper which can be recycled). Home baked cookies packed in reused glass jars or a fruit cake from the store wrapped in paper definitely add to the Christmas cheer too.
#5 Gift Resources
Encourage a loved one on their personal goals by gifting them resources that would add value to their journey.
There are tons of amazing online courses that you could gift that would benefit a loved one much more than a trinket could. If you are unsure, speak to them and find out if they have a course in mind. No matter where their interests lie, there is bound to be a specialised course that they would appreciate; be it in gardening or entrepreneurship, minimalism or yoga, .
I have also heard of people gifting domain names to start off budding entrepreneurs, or a year’s subscription of web hosting. All things that are very encouraging and invaluable to someone starting out.
Other resource ideas are gift cards to grocery stores, an Itunes gift card, or the most flexible resource and genuinely well received gift of all: Cash.
How will you be editing your Christmas this year? Well, I hope these tips help! Comment below if I’ve missed anything out or if you have any cool tips on reducing our waste this Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone, have a warm, meaningful celebration.