It will be Christmas before you know it. Sorry, wasn’t that just a couple of months ago?
2020 has made lots of us feel like we’ve been cheated out of a year. For Christmas enthusiasts, it’s exciting and not in the least daunting but for many like me, the annual panic about present shopping has set in.
So, no doubt you're scrambling to find the most appropriate present for every friend and family member on your gift list. If you've been rifling for ethical or eco-friendly festive ideas that support both local business and can reduce your environmental impact - we have some great ideas for you.
Online shopping was pretty common already, but 2020 has boosted its popularity due to the Coronavirus consequences. Platforms such as Shopify and Etsy, are full of upcycled products or items made using sustainable materials; you can find anything from recycled clothing to sustainably made soaps. Many are handmade or procured from a local maker. By supporting one small business, shoppers are feeding into a supply chain of supporting yet more local businesses. Begin the process by researching where the materials the small businesses you're buying from are sourced, and whether their products are recycled or upcycled.
Being charitable is a great way to give back too. With the dreaded Covid on everyone’s mind this year, even if you can’t extend an invitation to your Christmas table for someone alone or self-isolating, you can make a difference by supporting the charities who have the power to do this.
Next to consider is the gift-wrapping. Shockingly, Australians will use more than 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper this Christmas – enough to wrap around the Earth’s equator almost four times*. Choosing a recyclable wrapping paper will help to minimise the high levels of waste amassed around the festive season. Keep the paper you receive gifts in and reuse for your present-giving next year. Another lovely idea is to use fabric you no longer need or want. Additional alternatives are baskets, wallpaper, glass jars, tea-towels and brown paper bags.
If you receive a present which has been lovingly wrapped but the paper can’t be recycled, stash it away for next year and reuse it. Sadly, if your wrapping paper contains glitter or foil, it can't be recycled.
So, how can you do your part to make this Christmas green and kind for your family and the environment?
You can get going with modest steps, such as:
- Sending e-cards and emails instead of Christmas cards and letters
- Wrapping gifts in cloth or recycled brown paper instead of wrapping paper
- Use plastic tape alternatives such as yarn, water-activated tape or twine
- Gifting experiences instead of things (adrenalin sports or skydiving but maybe not for grandparents!)
- Composting, gifting or freezing leftovers if your fridge is full
Lastly, what to do with unwanted gifts?
Donate to charity or hide them away and re-gift for birthdays, being sure not to send back to the same person of course!