Christmas, Christmas…there are so many wonderful things about the festive season that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. But sadly, there is a dark side, the ugly focus on consumerism that has taken over. For example, it is estimated that £77 billion will be spent by Brits over the Christmas period. £21 billion of this comes from online purchases. Think of all that plastic packaging! And then, all these items are gift wrapped…a lot of trees are cut down to generate this wrapping paper.
So, to help you avoid going through rolls and rolls of wrapping paper this Christmas, we have compiled a list of savvy alternatives!
> Collect jars throughout the year. These can be used for handmade gifts such as preserves (handmade chutneys, jams, kimchi etc), or homemade natural products such as shampoo, moisturiser or bath oils.
> Tote bags – these are a gift in themselves and what’s more, they are the gift that keeps on giving as they help to cut down the number of plastic bags purchased throughout the year (saving your loved one 5p a pop also).
> Furoshiki – have you heard about Japanese wrapping tradition? The idea to wrap gifts in fabric that can be re-used. The double bonus is that they also look really beautiful. Watch this Youtube tutorial to get some inspiration here.
> Re-use gift bags and wrapping paper. Yes, be that person who takes 3+ minutes to unwrap each present. Granted, some people will develop a nervous twitch in the process but it’s a small price to pay for saving the planet, right?! And if you’re going to buy new, just make sure it’s FSC certified.
> Have a scout about for scraps of paper lying around. How nice would a parcel wrapped in newspaper and adorned with natural items such as sprigs of holly, small pine cones or offcuts from your Christmas tree look? Other ideas: puzzle books, comics, sheet music, cook books, maps, magazines…the options are endless once you start looking!
> A similar option is to collect scraps of paper and decorate them yourself, or let your little ones loose on them!
> Now here’s a bit of leftfield one…empty crisp packets! Turn them inside out and give them a good clean. Voila, you’ve got some pretty silver re-purposed wrapping paper.
> Now this one is our favourite: give your loved one an experience rather than things. This gift doesn’t require wrapping at all and besides, lasting happiness doesn’t come from things, it comes from nurturing rewarding relationships with your loved ones.
> And finally, (yes, a shameless plug) our ‘A Tree for Christmas’ campaign! For a £3 donation, 10 trees will be planted in the gardens of families in Uganda, providing them with fruit, shelter and protection from deadly landslides. This gift doesn’t need any wrapping and sustainably sourced gift certificates are available. If you’re interested in gifting your loved ones with an ethical gift that has a lasting impact read more about it here.
And what’s more a recent study by FlyResearch found that 69% of people consider the amount of rubbish thrown out over Christmas unacceptable. 50% said they would happily receive gifts that aren’t wrapped at all to reduce waste. Well, there we have it folks, time to change our ways.