With just a few more days until December, chances are the Christmas lists have been written and you’re thinking about getting shopping and organised for the big day.
Although for many it’s ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, unfortunately it‘s also the most wasteful, generating around 30% more waste than the rest of the year (scrooge alert)!
When we fall into the trap of excessive and unnecessary over consumption, or the panic buying kicks in, it can be easy for our festive focus to go out of the window, making mindful and meaningful choices less likely.
So with this said, it might be worth considering ways we can collectively make more sustainable choices, to reduce waste and do our bit to support our environment
Hopefully these tips will help to get you started!
Shop local / Independent
We are surrounded by amazing independent shops here in South Manchester! Rather than buying all of your gifts from larger chains/ mainstream stores for convenience, consider having a shop around. Quite often you can find something unique, good quality and cost efficient as well as supporting a local business at the same time. If you are really looking to make a sustainable change, research some local shops which have a similar ethos and pay those a visit first! Better yet, find an eco and waste conscious shop and grab a few bits from there! We would recommend One Small Step at Altrincham Market for lots of waste free, environmentally friendly gifts!
Bye, Bye Stocking!
Sob! However think about it – a stocking is often bulked up with little panic buys which not only means unnecessary purchasing, but these novel, last minute bits can end up being wasted. How about mixing up traditions this year and swapping the stocking for an experience, or filling it with sustainable and plastic free, long lasting essentials, which can help the receiver start a new sustainable journey.
Secret Santa Success
When we have a long list of people to buy for; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! In this case panic mode can kick in and we find ourselves buying any old thing and losing track of the meaning behind it! Opting for secret Santa means one special gift which can be well thought out and help to save money and unnecessary excess shopping.
We’ve all had that Christmas present that doesn’t go down well and might end up getting chucked! One good quality, thoughtful gift could lessen the chance of that awkward post Christmas hunt for the gift receipt as well as reducing waste.
Handmade gifts can be really sentimental and a great way to make the most of your creative skills. Things like homemade candles, knitwear or jars of jam. A friend of mine once made me a body scrub using left over coffee granules – reducing waste and a lovely natural exfoliator.
The Gift that just keeps giving!
Choosing vouchers / experiences over gifts means you actually get to spend time doing something you enjoy with a loved one, rather than getting a present you may not want or need. Subscriptions to a magazine, yoga classes or a national trust membership are some of my favourite ideas. Or a voucher for their favourite restaurant / shop! Super thoughtful and a good opportunity to make more memories together.
Pick proper packaging
There is so much left over wrapping paper, boxes and plastic once the presents are revealed. Making a conscious effort to opt for recyclable packaging, or wrapping prezzies in something that you already have is a huge step toward a more sustainable approach. Remember, a lot of wrapping paper contains plastic and cannot be recycled - don’t be afraid to ask in the shop when making a purchase. Consider using brown paper – you can jazz it up to look really effective and it can be recycled too! Keep hold of those ribbons for next year and of course, over the festive period remember to recycle responsibly.
If you find yourself feeling the pressure to buy just a few more stocking fillers, pause and be present. Consider the tips above and do what you can, small steps toward being more conscious are better than none.
It’s been a tough couple of years, be sure to be sensitive to those who may not be in the financial position to give gifts. Sending lots of festive love your way.