Giving is an act of generosity and an opportunity to choose something good for the environment and to build a cleaner future. To give a present creates a physical reminder of the social connection. Whereas to give an experience, builds memories together.
Giving doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, the gift can be good for the environment. Giving can be joyous and an act to build a better culture.
Make It Personal
Giving a gift has the power to tell someone “I value you and I know what you like”. The purpose of giving is to enrich the bond. In truth, giving is not so much about the value of the gift. It is more likely that the gift expresses how much you value the relationship. How can we give a gift that reflects what we know they like and not put demands on the planet? One of the safest bets is a paper book about their favourite topic. Ultimately, presents such as books are often reused and in their final stage, they will decompose.
- preloved fossils connect us with the environment and they reminds us of our place in time. We can give these as a gift or give the experience of a trip to your local museum together.
- Valuable antiques preserve and honour of the craftmanship. These items will be loved again and again. Antiques are both valuable and durable. They have character and are rare. Even more so, they can an intriguing life-story and the recipient becomes part of the next chapter of the story. There are many amazing pieces of history that need a good home, to be dusted, polished, and treasured again. We don’t need to buy anything new when there is so much stuff from the past crying for understanding and care.
- Handmade jewellery. For example, Columbia girl makes jewellery is from dried fruits and fruit peel.
- Handbag or shoe decorations or tags made from nature
- Bookmarks or spectacle holders made from a recycled necklace
- Tickets to a museum or for a show (there’s little wrapping or waste, simply pop it in a hand-made card). Incidentally, this is a great last-minute gift.
- Hire a ride in a vintage car, this is especially good for people who need a special outing but can’t go out for a long period.
- Photos from their childhood, family members, and travels look great when presented as a small non-plastic poster or collage.
- Hand-made photo frames
- A real razor blade, not a disposable one.
- A hamper of luxurious essentials such as under-arm de-odorizing rock salt crystal or natural perfume oils
- Hiking socks and hikers wool are great for preventing blisters
- Handkerchiefs or cloth serviettes instead of paper tissues. These are amazingly good finds in the op-shops and markets – You can find some still in their packaging and of very fine quality linen.
- A silk pillowcase to prevent hair from getting knotty in bed
- A silk eye pillow with dried herbs and calming oils
- A basket of homemade ecologically sound cleansers.
- Cosmetics and toiletries made from natural ingredients and not tested on animals.
- Their favourite home-cooked meal frozen in a glass resealable serving dish, ready for a weary day. Include the recipe in a card.
- Food says I love you especially when it is their favourite food
- A hand made scarf/bow/tie or cloth jewelry bag.
- A hand-made musical instrument or clothing
- A living potted Christmas tree can be planted out after Christmas. This could be a native pine. Alternatively you could pot up a large chilli plant full of chillies (for a Summer Christmas – southern hemisphere).
- Or give a small shrub that is full of flowers such as a rose (to make rose syrup and other delicacies)
- Homemade preserves and chilli sauces
- A Packet/s of seeds. OR make a surprise packet out of mixed seeds (check they are all edible in case they are mistaken)
- Subscription to a seed saving group, soft technology magazines, organic gardening magazines, rare fruits association etc.
- A donation to a charity such as Tear or other like the organisation on the recipient’s behalf.
- Hand-made compost bay.
- Worm farm made from found materials. The Potted worm farm looks great with a plant on top and you can water it whenever you pop over.
- A non-disposable lunch kit with a thermos or drink bottle, lunch box with separate compartments so no wrap is required, cloth serviettes. You can add a few fasteners to make a cloth serviette into a durable, washable wrap
- A fountain pen and coloured inks
- A cup to carry everywhere
- Cloth nappies and a pledge to help hang them out.
- Energy-saving equipment
- An eco-tour or eco-holiday voucher (you can offer to take them on a bush-walk or holiday or their choice)
- A voucher to an eco-hair salon
- Durable garden tools
- Books on organic gardening, composting, herbs and flowers, native species
- Field guides on birds and local reptiles
- Solar charger for phone – this is great to take on a hike, in case you get lost!
Also, include a flint or even a little survival kit
- A garden pond with optional solar powered fountain
- A fruit dryer
- A yoghurt maker
- Rechargeable batteries with re-charger.
- A tent and small, efficient camping equipment. To encourage clean bushwalking and adventure.
- Dried herbs and flowers from your garden and instructions on their use as a tea.
- Natural wool or angora sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks.
- Hand-made baskets, natural fibre washing baskets, paper waste containers, pot plant containers, picnic baskets.
- Canvas, string or cane shopping bags, ham bag. Retrofit a supermarket cloth bag with a favourite fabric pocket sewn over the logo as well as a bit of elastic inside. These bags are often too wide and floppy.
- Potted kitchen herbs in organic potting mix (you could make this yourself).
- Edible house plants such as sugar cane for hot spots, mint, shallots, monstera vine.
- Gift voucher for nursery plants or environmental products and courses
- Beeswax or remade candles.
- Homemade preserves.
- Hand-painted recycled glassware.
- Organic Christmas Cake or other special treat.
- A homemade Christmas wreath of grapevine and other home grown materials.
- Blankets (cotton or wool) suitable for the lounge and living areas.
- recycled material turned into Cloth kitchen washers/cloths/ car washers etc. You can simply cut and hem the edges.
Children today are wanting action. Not only do they like action toys, but they also want climate action. Give them less plastic and a cleaner world.
- Redeemed toys (repainted bicycle, trike, scooter, rocking horse). Use safe paints, preferably organic paint products. These items could be antiques but beware of the toxicity of old paints and any loose parts.
- Homemade cushions and bean bags with environmentally friendly safe stuffing.
- A wooden loom and natural fabrics for weaving.
- A dolls or action figures tent made of recycled fabrics and stakes.
- Science and Environmental History books such as Young Dark Emu
- A homemade backyard swing or tree house, a rope climbing apparatus
- A small gardening kit, tools, and seeds
- Wooden or cane furniture.
- seeds for novelty plants such as giant pumpkins.
- Roller skates or bicycles to encourage energy efficient travel.
- Recycled or re-used paper fastened as a book.
- Craft books
- Weather-proof boots
- Be wary of giving Pets. Check that the parents want one. Hens, Guinea pigs or Rabbit in hutch will help to mow the lawn. Adopt a wild animal instead through WWF.
Have you noticed how much the packaging is enticing? Some children would rather play with the cardboard box rather than the toy inside. Wrapping doesn’t have to be ripped apart and strewn all over the floor. Start a new tradition of beautiful wrapping that is also part of the gift. Here are some beautiful wrapping ideas:
Wrap gifts in Re-useable materials
- Children’s Artworks
- unused photocopied music scores
- Material Shopping bags
- Beach towel
- Tea towels
- Hand towel or handkerchief
- Biodegradable (linen or cotton) tablecloths
- Beach wrap
- Beach towel
- Picnic rug
- Natural Fibre placemats ie. Bamboo
When the Festivity has Passed
Feasting Without Waste
Eventually, the time comes to start clearing up and the environment is often burdened. On an average day, in the western world, one-third of all the food grown is simply thrown out. Additionally, the wastage compounds at times of feasting and merriness. At these times, the food wastage dramatically increases. There are, however, simple ways to reduce waste and provide plenty of healthy and delicious meals.