A truly feel good Christmas
A stress-free Christmas that’s joyful and extra special – it’s what we all want, right? Often though, it can feel like an endless to-do list. We feel guilty that we aren’t doing enough, or ironically, with awareness of the effects of mass consumerism, guilt that we’ve done too much. So here’s a common sense approach to eco Christmas gifts that’s good for the planet and our pockets, plus it makes everyone feel good too.
Love not money
Of course, to most families Christmas is about love but it’s also about giving and receiving. We are all conditioned to think a gift is box shaped and wrapped up in paper and a bow. But, there are other ways to show our love. Give great gifts for an eco Christmas without excessive waste, expense or guilt.
Experiences over stuff
Cinema trips, an hour of trampolining, ice skating, your favourite lunch place, or a Christmas Panto? A woodland bike ride, a blustery beach walk or inviting all your kids’ friends over for a festive sleepover. Some of these ideas cost money, some are free but all are fun. In addition, they will make memories that last longer than the five minute thrill of tearing the wrapping paper from another novelty gift or toy.
Set up your own eco Christmas wish list of experiences with Patchwork. You can explain to family and friends what you are trying to achieve. Then show them exciting experiences and thoughtful gifts that are really wanted and will be appreciated and treasured. It takes the pressure off them too. There’s no more scouring the high street in a last minute panic worrying if you’ll like what they’ve bought. Just a few clicks and the Christmas shopping is done, with no waste and no stress.
Giving your time and skills
People who use Patchwork demonstrate every day that gifts don’t have to have a price tag. Sometimes the best gift you can give is your time and your talent! Little children in particular often just want to spend time with the grown ups they love. Promise a trip to the park, give the treat of a hot chocolate and cake, offer to play a game or take time to read with them. For older kids, offer to help them make or bake something, teach them a skill, watch their favourite film with them or take them for an afternoon out doing their favourite thing.
Old is the new new
Lego sets, board games, dress-ups, dolls, Playmobil, train sets, scooters and bikes are durable and made to last. Why not try and find them second hand in great condition for a fraction of the price? It’s easy to explain that the gifts in their stocking don’t have packaging because Father Christmas is aiming for an eco Christmas too. “Well kids, this year I’ve heard Santa is on a plastic-reducing mission too and I have to say I’m with him.” If Father Christmas can’t do the right thing what hope is there for the rest of us?
Find vintage treasures
There are also so many things that can only be bought second hand and are valuable because they aren’t new. A football programme from your child’s team in the year they were born, a vintage dolls house or piece of furniture. Search on eBay or Gumtree and check out local charity shops too and help others whilst you shop.
Gingerbread men, chocolate brownies, biscuits to hang on the tree. Whatever your kids’ favourites, you, or they, depending on their age, can make these as eco Christmas gifts for friends and family. Keep jars to gift them in or twist them up in some paper with a ribbon. If you want to give an edible gift but haven’t got time to make one, look for sweet treats in non-plastic wrappers. Mr Simms sweet shops sell old-fashioned loose sweets by weight in paper bags; stores are nationwide. Or give a Christmas Cookie mix in a jar so the recipient can get involved in the making bit.
Give one thing they really want
It makes sense to spend the money we have on the things we really want or need, to pool resources and invest in quality. To get together to chip in for gifts that are really wanted. An eco Christmas doesn’t have to mean they go without.
If your child desperately wants the latest gadget/trainers/toy then don’t feel bad about treating them to the one thing they’re desperate for. If it’s a big ticket item like a new bike, or a laptop, ask family and friends to chip in to one thing that’s really wanted rather than showering them with 10 smaller gifts that will end up at the back of the cupboard before the New Year’s in. Check out some great examples – see our Christmas collection for inspiration.
So, if you want to have a really eco Christmas this year:
- Remember it’s about love, not money
- Give experiences instead of stuff
- Make your presents
- Give second-hand gifts
- Find vintage treasures
- Chip in for one big present
Our Christmas present to you all is a free code, so you can get busy making Christmas patchworks (whether you our new eco Christmas gift idea patchwork or make your own from scratch) just enter the code GIVEJOY when you publish and we will waive our fee.
Author: Rosie is head of customer experience at Patchwork. She has 4 children and this year she’s planning an eco Christmas.