Christmas is certainly the time for giving and celebrating. But the overwhelming amount of festive waste from food, paper, electronics, plastics and gift wrapping also makes it a critical time of year for our planet.
An Australian survey by McCrindle Research has shown that 78.5% of Australians have received a present that they didn’t want. 13.7% of people will throw away these unwanted presents – meaning they go unused from manufacturer to landfill.
But if every household made simple changes, it would have a very merry impact on our planet. So why not really share the gift of green this Christmas. You might just inspire your loved ones to do the same.
Here are nine green and sustainable ideas to get you started:
1. Wrap it up with heart
Put as much thought into your wrapping as you do with your gift. Cut up some fabrics from unwanted clothes, scarves and tea-towels. Get the kids to paint some newspaper or reuse kept gift bags. These eight friendly gift wrap ideas from Natural New Age Mum are sure to get you motivated.
2. Plant a tree
Instead of hauling a plastic tree in and out of storage every year or buying a cut tree, why not plant a tree! Not only is it environmentally friendly, but will last for years in your backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, plant a small tree in a pot. Not only is it less mess, but it has a smaller footprint. Gardenista has a great post on how to plant your Christmas Tree in the garden.
3. Compost your leftovers
Try to plan ahead when buying your Christmas feast to reduce leftovers. Don’t throw uneaten food away and create a compost bin instead. Or even better, gift a DIY worm farm to the kids this Christmas - a fun and sustainable idea to get their hands dirty. Bunnings has a great step-by-step tutorial on building a worm farm here.
4. Avoid purchasing battery toys
Consider the amount of batteries that are needed to power a gift over it’s life. Not only is this an environmental choice but a safer one (especially with children) and cost-effective. However if you do end up buying an electronic gift, buy a rechargeable battery pack to go with it.
5. Go DIY
Making gifts is thoughtful, inexpensive and gets your creative juices flowing. Gift in a jar is on trend right now and can cater for all ages. Create a hot chocolate recipe in a jar for kids, a sugar scrub for a friend, a homemade jam for a foodie or a decorative plant in a jar for your boss’ desk. Checkout 60 Cute and Easy DIY Gifts in a Jar from DIY Projects for more inspiration.
6. Get a gift of experience
Rather than getting a ‘material’ gift for a loved one, purchase a voucher for a massage, movies, dinner or action experience. It’s more than likely the receiver will love you for it, and a bit of paper going in the recycling is less detrimental than a big unwanted gift. Less stuff - more living.
If you want to go one step further, honour an eco-friendly charity in the receiver's name, it’s good karma for all.
7. Opt for eco-friendly gifts
The magic of online shopping is that you can do your research before you buy. So why not take this opportunity to look at how certain brands products are manufactured, along with the footprint they have on the planet. Our Boody range is cleverly designed, eco-friendly and wonderfully soft. Some of our favourites this Christmas is our womens v-neck t-shirt, our mens boxers and baby pull on shorts. Too hard to decide? Why not grab a Boody Gift Card!
Boody Basics - Organic Bamboo Eco Wear
8. Make ginger biscuit decorations
Buying plastic decorations every year is just asking for more wastage. Why not get the kids involved and make cute gingerbread decorations in different shapes and icing colours. Then of course half the fun is eating the decorations off the tree on Christmas Day. Here’s a great recipe from kitchn
9. Limit packaging and choose natural materials
Polystyrene might make for a White Christmas, but it certainly doesn’t help our planet. Consider this when buying gifts and how they are packaged. Look for products that have recyclable or re-usable packaging. Buy your products in bulk to save shipping and packaging.
Whether it’s homewares, furniture or an esky for him - choose wood products. For fabrics - choose bamboo. For beauty products - go natural.
Having a sustainable Christmas can be simple yet rewarding. It’s a great way to share the spirit of giving not only to our family and friends, but giving back to the planet. With three weeks to go, let’s not leave everything to the last minute. Shop Boody for some eco-friendly present inspiration now.