Shopping for the perfect presents for family and friends can often be a tricky undertaking. You always want to make sure you’re buying something they’ll like and truly use, without contributing to the environmental cost of the holiday season. So, what should you do if you need eco-friendly, sustainable gift ideas for Christmas? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve thought of several suggestions that will last long-term and won’t get forgotten about as soon as the holiday season is over.
The Environmental Cost of Christmas
Although Christmas can be a joyful time of year, the attitude of consumption for the sake of consumption (stocking-filler joke presents that are fun for a minute, forgotten the next and end up in landfills barely decomposing for a few thousand years) is incredibly taxing on the environment. With the average UK adult spending around £330 on presents every year and the average child receiving around 16 gifts – that’s a whole lot of new products to contend with! There are also typically about one billion Christmas cards sold in the UK alone each and every year. Research tends to show that we create more than 30% more waste during the holiday season in the UK (including two million turkeys and six million Christmas trees). The waste we end up sending to landfills means there’s that much more methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) getting released into the air, leading to further warming of the planet and a highly likelihood we’ll be facing the projected dire consequences of irreversible climate change.
So, how can Christmas be more sustainable? Try to remain conscientious about your gift-buying (including packaging) while you shop so that you can attempt to limit your waste. Pay attention to whether the gifts you’re buying are actually something the person will use and will, in turn, use for a long time to come. Consumable goods and upcycled gifts can go a long way in helping to reduce waste. For some more specific suggestions for great sustainable gift ideas, read our post below!
The most sustainable present idea, and one of the best things you can buy someone, is not a physical item, but rather an experience that they’ll never forget. This could be tickets to a play, concert, or sporting event, where they can spend time enjoying something that they love. Camping trips or another eco-friendly travel plans are other great experience-led gifts that will create cherished memories. Along the same lines, consumables (especially monthly subscriptions to wine or specialty food boxes with compostable packaging) can be a great way to reduce the amount of waste, since the present is something they can use right away.
2. Zero-waste kits
Have you been wondering, “What should I get my eco-friendly friend for Christmas?” Consider buying them a zero-waste kit from PackageFreeShop.com. Your gift recipient can live a more sustainable life with a kit that includes a water bottle, insulated mug, bamboo utensils set, stainless steel straw, 100% organic cotton produce bag, two stainless steel containers, a bamboo toothbrush, and a beeswax food wrap variety pack. All of the items come in a tote bag, which makes the kit totally portable. There are also a variety of kit options, ranging in price from £32 and up, so you can find the perfect gift.
3. Winter parkas
Get your friend a piece of clothing that’s fashion-forward, eco-friendly and built to last a lifetime. Our new waterproof winter parka is made with our signature high-performance fabric to keep you dry and protected but with a fleece lining for extra warmth during the cooler months. The cut is slightly longer than our traditional parka with an elegant dipped back hem to create a longer more sophisticated line. A drawcord at the waist and hem further allows the wearer to adjust the shape to suit their own. This item will be a go-to piece in their wardrobe for a lifetime to come, and they’ll be sure to appreciate that it was made under sustainable conditions.
4. Coffee table books
Really nice coffee table books with beautiful pictures can be a great sustainable present idea because they’re an item that people can display in their home for a long time. Get them a book focused on a topic they’re really interested in, or stick with the green theme and purchase a book about ecological issues (like Vitamin Green by Phaidon Press, which focuses on the intersection of sustainability and home design).
5. Eco-friendly beauty products
We’re sure plenty of people would appreciate a gift set of eco-friendly beauty products. One option is to purchase a monthly subscription to Authentic House, which provides a box with a range of eco-friendly products that support ethical living and waste-reduction. Boxes range from £15 to £24 with free shipping in the UK. These ethically sourced, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly items also help support conservation with donations made to Trees for Cities and Rewilding Britain. Gift subscriptions are great because your loved one will think of you the whole year round when they receive their box in the mail.
6. Nest smart thermostats
Help your friends and family to reduce their energy consumption by buying them a Nest smart thermostat. This allows them to control their thermostat (including air conditioning and heating levels) right from their smartphones, so they can make sure they’re conserving their energy usage at home all year long. This type of smart thermostat can even end up helping them save money in the long run!
7. Living composters
Another great eco-friendly gift is a living composter. There are countertop options that are odourless and biomorphic, allowing them to easily turn food scraps into fertiliser right from their kitchen. So, instead of contributing to the huge amount of food we throw away every year, a composter can help make use of those food scraps in a more sustainable way. One option from Uncommon Goods can be shipped to the UK and will have your loved ones living a super-green lifestyle in no time.
Do your part to make this Christmas a little more eco-friendly and buy some sustainable gifts that will last long after the holiday season is over!