Sustainable and Useful Gift Giving at Christmas: Down with Toiletry Gift sets
Christmas, particularly this year’s, has been long awaited. The promises of spending time with family, hugs we missed out on last year, and seeing the faces of friends when we can finally pass around our secret Santa’s in person is enough to get anyone excited. In the past few years, we have gotten into vintage fashion, used more charity shops than ever, and have even clinked our way to Woodhouse Moor with our glass recycling. So, here are some cheap and easy ways to make this Christmas more sustainable.
Secret Santa, but with care
Secret Santa can save a lot of time and money when buying gifts for groups. Sorting a present for just one person can allow you to put time into making it more personal, and gives you more money to spend, resulting in a gift that will be kept, used, or at the very least, not thrown away. Low Secret Santa budgets can encourage people to buy jokey tat which ends up in the bin. Sometimes you can’t beat jokey tat, but try your best to get your Secret Santa something they’d really love.
Shopping-Small, or Second Hand
Searching charity shops or scouring Ebay can be a great way to get hold of unique and often high-quality steals. Vintage mugs and tea sets, vases and jewellery can be thrifted and often feel more personal than something from a highstreet store. Even board games to play on Christmas day are a great thrifty gift. Oxfam is bursting with books, vinyl, and CDs, and if it is bought second-hand you’re guaranteed a gift with a bit of history. Etsy, Tik-Tok and Instagram are great places to find small and independent businesses through hashtags or filters. Shopping for handmade items from small businesses means you are shopping ethically.
Doing and Making
Meals out, concerts, sport games, jewellery making courses or daybreaks make great memorable gifts that are great for the person you buy them for, and for yourself. At the risk of singing Tik-Tok’s praises again, using hashtags online to find handmade present ideas can come up with some really good results. Alcohol miniatures in an old mason jar, ingredients to cook a specific meal along with the recipe in a thrifted hamper, teacup candles, or a stove potpourri in a charity shop tumbler are just a few that I have found that would cost little, be used, and have little to no waste.
What do they need?
Encourage people to tell you what they really want and need, and to be specific. If there is something they have been putting off buying for themselves, getting it for them means that the present won’t end-up in landfill. The utility of presents is important to consider when gifting sustainably, as it’s important to remember that purchases are only wasteful if they are used a handful of times and then thrown out. Buying from typical fast fashion brands can still be a semi-sustainable way to shop. Buying your friend something that they have wanted for months, and will therefore be kept and used time and time again, slows down fast fashion and consumption.
The Finishing Touches
Wrapping with newspaper can look quite chic and saves the use of plastic-lined wrapping paper. Gift tags can also be made by cutting up old cards, or just writing directly onto the wrapping paper, and glue instead of Sellotape saves even more plastic.
Keeping it Local
Shops are open this year, and our Christmas shopping can move to in person. If this is the least you can do, you are still saving transport miles and packaging from ordering online. Leeds City Centre is alive with Christmas lights and all the shops have dusted off their festive playlists. Grabbing a hot chocolate from the market stall just outside the Henry Moore Institute and wandering around, Christmas shopping or not, is a cracking way to spend a winter afternoon.