Buy Less, Do Good - 23 clutter free, sustainable Christmas gift ideas
Updated: Dec 1
If we've learnt one thing in recent years, surely it's that the world does not need more new stuff? With this in mind, I've updated my blog with some fresh ideas for experience gifts and consumables, gifts which would be "consumed" (would not linger much beyond the end of December) as they would be eaten, drunk, burnt in the case of a candle, enjoyed for a defined period flowers/plants) or were experience based.
In line with repurposing and what I refer to as "conscious buying", I'm also featuring companies who produce goods from materials that would otherwise go to waste, or who have a story to tell, (which goes beyond selling items for solely for their own profit).
Christmas creates so much waste, and much of this waste is due to the huge number of unwanted gifts that end up being returned to the shops and ultimately end up in landfill. According to an article published in the Independent in January 2019, "More than 4 million people returned an unwanted Christmas gift last year (data supplied by GoCompare)".
Christmas waste doesn't just come from the exchange of unwanted gifts however, but also from the paper used to wrap those gifts. Christmas cracker debris also deserves a mention in this category too!
Just to re cap on what I said last year, I'm not for a minute suggesting that there'll be an empty space under our Christmas tree, with nothing to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. My daughter usually has her eye on some new things for her bedroom and who doesn't like to start the New Year with a couple of new (or even secondhand) books?
Maybe this year though, we could all be a little bit more creative and environmentally conscious in our buying and giving? I'm thinking both from a decluttering perspective and for the future of our planet. Each and every one of us has a responsibility not to request more than we need this Christmas. If we want gifts coming our way to be consumable or experience based, or at the very least second hand, made from repurposed materials and/or from sustainable sources, we must communicate that wish to our friends and family.
With this in mind, I've come up with a list of clutter free and good conscience Christmas gift ideas. Some of the ideas are location specific, but perhaps they'll prompt you to search for something similar in your local area. At the end of the gift list I've included some alternative gift wrapping and Christmas cracker ideas.
Oakdale Bees - this Windsor based company not only produces gift items such as local honey and candles but also offers a "bee experience".
Explore the best of our country's great out (and indoors) with National Trust Membership or a Nordic walking experience with Nordic Fitness Ireland, they can even provide onsite accommodation for people coming from further away.
Theatre or concert tickets, or tickets for a local event.
Backpack from Madlug, "with every bag purchased, one will be given to a child in care." Do read their story, what a fabulous idea!
Fresh baked goods or voucher for a cookie decorating, or baking workshop.
Eco friendly toiletries from your local refill store.
Give someone a day of pampering and relaxation with a spa voucher, or a swim/pamper session at a gorgeous lido such as Thames Lido.
Clear your printed photo clutter by creating a Blurb photo book from the best ones.
Book someone a place on a floral workshop.
Recycled sari patchwork squares from Oxfam are perfect for sewing enthusiasts
Family Cinema pass, voucher or Netflix Membership
Give the gift of a calm and organised living space with a voucher for Less Is More - decluttering & organising service.
Donation to a favourite charity (I'm still waiting for somebody to adopt me a donkey!)
Seeds or bulbs from Sarah Raven
Voucher for learning a new sport or a
Family falconry experience at Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre or a family skate session at your local ice rink.
Gift wrapping - did you know that not all wrapping paper can be recycled? According to recycle now, wrapping paper that is "dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter or plastics, is not recyclable. If you want to be sure that you can recycle yours, why not decorate your own by potato printing designs onto brown paper? It's the perfect Christmas holiday art project for kids! We printed our own brown paper wrap last year, this year we're going to be trying something different again by trying furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping technique using scarves (or similar fabric squares).
Christmas Crackers - for many years now in our family, we've avoided the small mound of plastic and metal tat that lurks into January, until it eventually gets binned, by making our own crackers (this way you can make the little gifts more personalised!). It's another brilliantly creative craft project, where the experience itself is worth just as much (if not more), than the end result!
Ideas for innards include reusable make up wipes, hankies, rolled up lottery tickets, packets of seeds, or seed paper book marks from Jen Winnett eco artist?
Happy decluttered (and good conscience) Christmas shopping this year!
If you have any brilliant ideas to add to this list, please share them with us in the comments below.
Jo Hall is a Professional Home Organiser and Clutter Free Living expert 🏠
If you would love to have a really good sort out but don't know where to start, or maybe you've made a great start with it, but have since lost your way, Jo can help!
Jo works online with clients worldwide 🌍 via 1:1 sessions, DIY resources and group courses 👩💻 Guiding overwhelmed people to break free from the burden of stuff.
Get in touch to fix up a no obligation chat: Less Is More
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