Sustainable Gift Giving
Christmas is almost here!
With only a few weeks to go, I am yet to make a dent in my Christmas Shopping. I feel like I only just recovered from Levi's 1st Birthday at the end of October and am now preparing for my big boy Lucas' 4th Birthday on the 13th December! It certainly is a busy time of year for our family, so being mindful of the gifts we buy is extra important. We have a reasonably small space so I always like to do a declutter of my kids toys and clothes in the lead up to birthdays and Christmas, to make room for new things. I highly recommend everyone do this to prevent waste and clutter. Donating your unused toys and items is a great option, being able to give the gift of a preloved item to someone less fortunate and creating a circular economy. Alternatively, you can sell your stuff and make a little extra cash to buy Christmas gifts or even better, put it away for a rainy day.
One thing I found hard since embarking on my low waste journey was buying sustainable gifts! It no longer felt right to buy a cheap plastic toy, or something without purpose knowing that it would be played with for such a short time before being forgotten about and ending up in the bin. That's before even considering the carbon emissions from the manufacturing process and the environmental impact of plastics and micro-plastics once they go to landfill at the end of their life.
I have been the mum that bought my child random plastic toys for no reason other than they were cheap and I thought they might like it. I have also spent hours sorting through the playroom, throwing away tiny little plastic pieces which have broken off bigger toys and accumulated in the toy box becoming a choking hazard.
Now, don't get me wrong! My children do still get toys that contain plastic on occasion however these days it is a much more thoughtful process. I consider, where my gifts originate, who I am buying from (I prefer to support small business), the material used to make the gift and what purpose it will serve to them. This year I even decided not to bother with wrapping Levi's presents. He is only 1 and really doesn't know better so instead we arranged his gifts nicely for him to wake up to.
So, what are the alternatives...
Buy second-hand and give more life to previously loved and cherished items.
Wooden Gifts are always a winner in my book. Handmade is always a nice touch and made from sustainable materials, we don't want to be contributing to the massive deforestation issue.
Books are a great gift idea, the encourage learning and can be passed down through the generations
Experiences because it's the little memories that will last a lifetime.
Reusable Products are something that can be used over an over again. Got a baby shower coming up? Reusable Nursing pads, baby wipes, cloth nappies all make for a practical gift for the eco-conscious Mumma.
Plants or Grow Kits are a great idea for children so they can water and watch their plant grow and eat the produce from it.
And last but certainly not least, why not consider the gift of presence instead of presents? This one may be a little controversial for some but considering the extreme waste crisis that our Planet is facing I would encourage everyone to consider this. This year, we politely requested no gifts for Levi's 1st birthday as he already has everything he needs, having people come and celebrate with us was much more important.
What about Gift Wrapping?
Unwrapping a birthday or Christmas present is half the fun for children but gift wrapping is a huge contributor to waste, especially at Christmas. A 2017 survey from CARE Australia found Australians use 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper over the festive season – enough to wrap the world in paper almost four times.
If your wrapping paper is made from 100% paper it can be recycled however if it is foil, glitter or plastic lined it cannot. If you receive wrapping paper or gift bags that cannot be recycled be sure to reuse them for as long as possible.
Here are a few alternatives for sustainable gift wrapping;
- Use recyclable materials such as Old Newspapers or Kraft paper decorated by your kids
- Wrap your gift in reusable materials such as cloth, tea towels or scarves
- Kraft Paper Gift bags
- Go NUDE! Sometimes less is more and wrapping isn't needed at all.