A different Christmas

Christmas season is arriving fast, full of colour, magic, light, and joy. Although this is a different Christmas for all of us, there are things that never change.

The grandma still decorates her house, but now under the guidance of the grandson who (through WhatsApp!) tells her exactly which colour ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. The mother already assured that Christmas supper will be as usual: stuffed roasted turkey, this year ordered from her favourite takeaway. As always, the uncle will wait until last minute to buy Christmas gifts – however, this time he’ll buy them online and pray for arrival in time.

Nevertheless, the frenzy and the joy of Christmas hide some uncomfortable truths that might harm the planet.

Do you know how big is the environmental impact of your Christmas gifts?

The ecological footprint of a single t-shirt - the set of necessary resources to produce and distribute that specific product - is around 8.77 kg of carbon dioxide and 2,700 litres of water.

What about the wrapping paper or the packaging of your Christmas gifts – are they recyclable? The vast majority is not, since wrapping paper is frequently a mix of paper and plastic, which makes its recycling more difficult.

But there’s more. The amount of food wasted during Christmas also has its own enormous ecological footprint. Did you know that Christmas leftovers last up to three days in your fridge? Spending less and saving more is the secret – and the freezer can be your best friend. Start making some room!

Small changes can really make a difference and turn this season even more magical. Know how you can contribute for a greener, eco-friendlier Christmas.

Sustainable Christmas gifts are more than just gifts…

They are the right path for the future of the planet. And this is why we bring you the best tips to choose the most sustainable Christmas gifts. Here they are:

  • Get to work… in the kitchen

A Christmas gift handmade by you is obviously more personal. If it is a Christmas gift for the stomach, then you already have a winning recipe. This year, think about offering sweets, jam, liqueur, cookies or bonbons cooked and prepared by you.

Homemade Christmas gifts

Get inspiration from ideas such as a pumpkin and tropical fruit jam with a touch of Port, or maybe a lemon, courgette and ginger jam that pairs perfectly with a slice of salty cheese. Dare to try flavoured olive oil with spices and herbs or, for the more adventurous, a delicious mango or apricot chutney.

If that someone you want to give a gift to has a sweet tooth, do not waste more time and surprise them with a bar of tasty chocolate and rose pepper fudge or some elegant chocolate truffles.

  • Plastic? Only repurposed.

This Christmas, break out of old habits and offer repurposed plastic! What about a pair of socks made from wasted fishing nets? Or a pair of shoes that amounts to 36 plastic bottles removed from the sea? Are you thinking on a set of pocketbooks made out of advertising canvas? Besides being a different and sustainable Christmas gift, it is also a good present for the planet.

  • Shop local, for your community

Buying local is a way to help the environment as it helps reduce the carbon emissions associated with the transportation of goods, for example. It is also a Christmas gift for your community because local producers – food producers, artisans, artists, or others – will also benefit from it. This year, there is another reason to buy local: the devastating impact the pandemic had on small businesses. Share happiness and sustainability through your community.

  • Reusable is the way to go

You’ve almost certainly heard of reusable metal, silicone or bamboo straws. But have you ever offered them? Do you know if your friends and family already use them?

Reusable Christmas gifts

Reusable articles make perfect sustainable Christmas gifts because, besides creative, they can help create new sustainable habits among your loved ones.

Other ideas are reusable mugs for coffee & tea, tote shopping bags – you can even customise them – and many other items that do not have to be disposable or with a short lifespan.

  • Green, like hope

How many of your friends, family members and co-workers live in apartments without plants? They are for sure many more than you imagine. This year, offer green! For example, a potted plant – with or without bloom – a mini herb garden for inside gardening, a suspended potted plant or a mini greenhouse for the balcony. A plant is not only a great sustainable Christmas present but also a gift for life. Who knows if your gift becomes the beginning of a sustainable herb garden?

  • From your hands to someone’s heart

If you are an artistically gifted person, especially when it comes to arts and crafts, this is the perfect time to put your talent to good service. There is lots of “rubbish” just asking for a new life. How? A good example is making art with used coffee pods, but there’s more. Gifts wrapping are an obvious option because a sustainable Christmas gift must include a sustainable wrapping. Use wrapping paper from previous years, and if it is not enough to cover a single present, use two (or three!) different kinds. You can also use old magazines and newspapers, and reuse boxes and packages that are lying around your place.

  • Gift services and experiences

For some people, it is very difficult to buy Christmas gifts because they already have “everything”. In this case, buying something ends up being a waste.

Services and experiences can be great Christmas gifts

Why not gifting experiences? A museum pass, a theatre ticket, a music concert or a cinema ticket? If the person you have in mind is an adventurous one, you can be bold and buy an experience full of adrenaline, such as a skydiving voucher. If what you really want is to spoil someone, you can gift them a voucher for the hairstylist, a relaxing spa afternoon, or even a workshop or masterclass on their preferred topic.

  • Reduce waste with digital gifts

Do you know that friend that devours scientific magazines? Yes, that one! He or she may be in need of a digital subscription to that loved magazine. And that relative that could be living in a library? You could offer an e-book, an e-reader or even a newspaper digital subscription. Sustainable Christmas gifts don’t necessarily need to be palpable. But we do get it, it is always lovely to have a present under the Christmas tree, so make sure to complement your zero-waste Christmas gift with a DIY postcard made of recycled materials.