Ho ho ho, yep it’s that time again. Another year almost over. This wonderful time of the year, and yet it can be so stressful and oh so wasteful. How can we have a zero waste Christmas especially when people still show their love through giving stuff?
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with giving a beautiful present. It’s more a question of quality over quantity and are you doing it because you feel guilty if you don’t? Do your loved ones actually want stuff?
Let’s dive into our collection of ideas so that you can have a happy holiday while creating memories and no waste.
We all know that stuff doesn’t equal happiness, and Christmas is such a good reminder for the important things in life, right?
I remember when I was a kid and I didn’t get the present I wanted, I made a big scene. Sure, I was a bit of a pain in the butt, and this only shows that
stuff doesn’t = love.
I know this because when I actually got what I wanted, I was quickly bored with it and wanted the next best thing. My parents didn’t really know how to deal with me back then, so they fell for it.
In retrospect, this behavior actually set me up for quite a lot of failure in the future. My dad ended up making a lot of things himself or buying the cheaper version. That was his way of showing me that he loved me. As a kid, I didn’t understand that and felt unheard and unloved.
Later I went through a phase in my life where I believed I would only receive love if I have the best and highest quality items. Often that left me very unsatisfied and broke.
In today’s day and age, everyone is trying to get your attention, trying to tell you to buy this, and you will be happy.
However, I feel there is a shift in energy happening for a couple of years now. One part of the world is going into more madness and chaos, but another part is connecting more with themselves and understanding that, yes, this might sound cheesy, but we are all one!
How do you tell your family to stop buying you crap?
- be upfront
- be kind
- but be straight to the point
Being gentle is definitely relevant here, often people can get offended if you tell them you don’t want things. Instead, you prefer memories. It’s weird, but it happened to me.
This is a process that takes time. Just like going zero waste isn’t done overnight. But the more you are starting to clear out items you don’t need or are harmful to your health (made from plastic), the more you will realize it is much more helpful to gift quality over quantity.
I have promised to give you some Christmas ideas, so let’s have a look at what you can gift your loved ones.
We touched on this before and it seems the most obvious thing to make a zero-waste Christmas perfect. Often it is our own mind that has still a lot of pleasure attached to receiving items. I can only speak for myself, often I feel the urge of wanting something, only to recognize that this is an old pattern that no longer serves me on my journey to become a conscious and abundant zerowasteman.
Taking your friends and family members out for a visit to a museum or if that’s too boring for the kids, how about a trampoline park. You can thank me later because I have never seen anyone unhappy on a trampoline.
How about a treasure hunt around the house using upcycled goodies? That’s almost like combining easter and Christmas in one day. I am sure the kids will love it.
Perhaps it is time to hand down grandpas old watch or some other item of emotional value to you.
The gift of a new opportunity
If you are wondering how to reduce waste during Christmas time, perhaps gifting a course that will bring massive value to your family/friends’ life and even has the potential to make them grow into a new career is one excellent idea.
Here are 4 of those zero waste Christmas gift ideas:
Perhaps one of your kids or even yourself has been dreaming about starting your own zero-waste blog. Starting your blog is an excellent course for anyone who wants to put the word out. I can highly recommend the WA community, that’s where I learned everything from building a website on WordPress to writing content that converts.
Perhaps your partner has been wanting to put some money aside and finally learn how to trade, well there is a course for that Forex Trading Crash Course, FX Trading Course.
Perhaps you wanted always to Build A Container Home in the backyard and rent it out on Airbnb to make a little extra cash? There is a course for that too.
The gift of life
Life is too short to spend it unhappy. A great way to increase your happiness is through giving and perhaps giving the gift of life to an animal, or a tree can bring peace and happiness into your life just through giving.
A wedding present I once gave to some friends of mine was an orangutan. No, not as a pet. I made sure this orangutan orphan baby had food for the next year and would be looked after. Her name is Chocolate.
I still think as an eco-conscious person, those are some of the best presents out there. The WWF has a wildlife adoption category, where you find anything from a shark or a monkey.
Adopt a tree at Eco matcher. This is an organization that plants trees to help with the fight against deforestation. With the Treetracker app, you can find out who planted your tree and its whereabouts.
But, of course, we have to put in a massage voucher for your lovely wife. Those gifts will never get old and who doesn’t deserve a bit of pampering?
This was always a big one for my parents. They much preferred a gift that was hand made and from a place of creativity. Plus, I guess when you are a 9-year-old child, buying Christmas gifts may not be in your budget.
Do you like baking? Christmas cookies are the best and I remember having the smell of cookies in the house was one of the best parts about Christmas. It’s a nice tradition and it helps to cut down on food waste.
Additionally, cookies from the supermarket come in a lot of plastic and have way too many ingredients that I can’t even pronounce.
Buy preloved gifts
Second-hand clothes are especially significant for the ladies, but for me, it is challenging to shop for clothes for my wife. She never likes what I pick. If you have the same problem, perhaps a voucher is a better idea 🙂
Would your hubby like some new tools or toys? Have a look at Letgo or eBay. Often the best tools are second hand since they were made to last heavy impacts. A preloved set of screwdrivers, a nice old hand planer, I have found some of the best tools second-hand.
In today’s day and age, we don’t need trees to read anymore. Sure, a book is still a pleasant present, and I much prefer them in paper format than in kindle, but you can even buy books on amazon second hand now. Another way to reduce your waste and have a happy zero waste Christmas is by gifting subscriptions or ebooks.
Subscriptions for new yorker or other magazines that you can find online now.
Book reading subscriptions like kindle or audible can be great presents.
How about a zero waste subscription box for Christmas? This neatly put together zero waste Christmas box from Earthlove can come 4 times a year if you like.
The box includes 6-8 items spanning different categories like snacks, tea, wildcrafting, wellness, apothecary, aromatherapy, beauty, outdoor, gardening, home decor, apparel, accessories, and more! A themed guide with tips and eco-challenges for the season. Support a different environmental non-profit with each box
To make an impact in terms of waste reduction is to spread the word about zero waste and make it easy for your friends to adapt to this lifestyle. You know items like a safety razor, bottles, coffee cups, and straws are always a great present if you want to help someone get started to go zero waste.
Now when it comes to wrapping your gifts, we make a lot of waste that is essentially single-use. But that doesn’t need to be the way. Sure, most of the wrapping is made from paper = trees, which is definitely more eco-friendly than using plastic. But what if we can reduce our footprint here as well?
Have you heard of furoshiki? Its the Japanese way to wrap your presents in cloths. The beauty is not only are you being an eco-warrior, but you are also gifting a bandana or a scarf or a handkerchief with your main gift, cool ,right? Two birds with one stone.
Other options for zero waste gift wrapping:
- paper grocery bag
- hemp twine
- baking paper
- last years Christmas wrapping
Zero waste Christmas tree
Now I get it this might not be everyone’s favorite Christmas tree, but this is what I came up with last year, where I am only utilizing 3 boards from a pallet. But I have since seen some really cool and simple ideas of Christmas trees made from driftwood, or pallets.
These are all zero waste presents, and the best part is you are going to learn a new skill, or you get to have an experience.
But what do you do with the family members that are still wanting things over experience?
In most cases, and this is what I am doing on my blog here is to live by example. But not only that, you can educate your loved ones when you opt-in for an online course of writing rather than a new gadget.
Having less is more. I am not saying you need to convert your friends/family to minimalists, but you would be surprised to see the difference. The less stuff you have that is screaming for attention, the more you can focus on the important things in life.