An eco-friendly Christmas
Baking: Homemade edible gifts are always appreciated. From chutneys, relishes and jams to cookies, gingerbread or mince pies, this is a way to make someone happy this Christmas; make a double batch as you may not want to give it all away! A food hamper is another way of showing someone you care.
Vouchers: A voucher can be personal to the recipient’s interests. Ideas range from beauty salons, gardening supplies, a manicure or massage, a bookshop or a favourite department store. “Experience Gift” vouchers can offer scenic hot air balloon or helicopter rides, a lake cruise, or a tandem skydive for the adventurous.
Other ideas: An annual subscription for a magazine. A photo-book; a calendar or mugs with photos of loved ones or family pets. Concert tickets. Unique ceramics and pottery. Second-hand vinyl records. A kombucha or sourdough starter kit. A handwritten card promising a special restaurant meal. The gift of a living tree. A present from Trade Aid. A charity gift: Oxfam Unwrapped cards are available as both printed and digital e-cards. They have a wonderful selection such as Food For A Family or Your Kid Loves You where Oxfam works with communities in countries such as Kenya to help them raise goats and chickens for a steady, sustainable income.
It’s a wrap
A traditional alternative to shiny, glittery wrapping paper that can be bad for the planet, is Furoshiki. These cloths were an ancient way of wrapping gifts and carrying items in Japan. The square-shaped, decorative fabrics are becoming increasingly popular and can be found online in a wide variety of patterns and illustrations (as well as YouTube instructions on folding!)
Other gift-wrapping ideas include using pretty paper bags or plain ones that you decorate or stamp yourself. Remember Rowan Atkinson’s salesperson in the festive-favourite film, Love Actually? He prolongs the wrapping of a gift bought by Alan Rickman’s character, Harry, by using ribbons, rose buds, lavender and a cinnamon stick. Take a leaf (or branch) out of this idea and decorate a plain box with foliage such as mini pinecones, berries, rosemary or small sprigs cut from your own Christmas tree. Avoid tape and instead opt for recycled ribbon, compostable twine or coloured string.
Reusable crackers are another good alternative to those with little plastic “gifts” that end up in the bin. A New Zealand company that makes re-crackers is https://wastefreecelebrations.co.nz/collections/christmas-crackers.
By gifting your time and thoughtfulness you can make your loved ones happy and impress them with the reduction in your Christmas footprint. -Gill Towle