A different kind of Christmas

I love Christmas, spending time with my family and having time to see friends is wonderful. I love that feeling of giving the perfect gift to someone and watching their face light up.

However, I’m getting increasingly overwhelmed and anxious about the amount of waste Christmas generates. So this year I’m keen to find ways of giving gifts that will reduce my waste. Why add more stress to your Christmas I hear some of you ask? This is true but there are some great fun ideas here, easy to do and creative ways to do it, so I’m planning to give it a go. I don’t think I’ll hit a zero waste Christmas but at least I’ll feel like I’m not adding as much to our landfill sites.

Sitting down to write this post has sparked so many ideas for me – I hope you’ll find some you can use too, let me know if you do.

Making memories

In my opinion, one of the best things you can give is memories, something to look back on long after other gifts have been eaten, broken or fallen apart. It’s almost as though you give them three different times – when the voucher is opened, the day of the experience and when they look back on it. Here are some ideas for experiences to gift

Escape Rooms

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we love Escape rooms! If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re a themed room with puzzles and problems to solve, all within an hour. They’re a great way of working together with friends or family, having fun and getting that sense of achievement when you (hopefully) escape. Depending on the theme, they can be great for all ages so you can treat a whole family to one.

We’ve tried out a few and can heartily recommend the rooms in Paddock Wood

https://www.timequest.net

and Gravesend

https://www.thepanicroom.net

Llama Walk

I bought one of these in Norfolk for my niece last year and she loved it! We learned so much about llamas and had great fun walking with them.

There’s a local llama park in East Sussex which offers them too.

http://www.llamapark.co.uk/walk-a-llama-or-donkey/walk-a-llama

Creative workshops

Giving someone a creative gift is so much fun, especially when you get it just right. There are so many local creative businesses

Tonbridge Creates is holding workshops in a pop up shop at the moment but also hold them all year round in a variety of locations

https://tonbridgecreates.com

Woolly Pebbles makes felted gifts and holds workshops showing how to make them

https://www.facebook.com/woollypebbles/

Who doesn’t know someone who loves chocolate?! Temper Temper in Southborough offer workshops for adults and children. Plus you get to take home what you’ve made – yum!

http://tempertemperchocolate.co.uk

Photography Session

It would be very remiss of me to talk about gifting memories without suggesting a photo session with me! It’s a wonderful way to create a beautiful, lasting memento for someone you love.

http://hushabye-photography.co.uk/contact

Sleepy smiling newborn boy on cream blanket

Buy gifts that help stop waste

How about buying a gift that helps to cut down on waste?

Perhaps give your favourite coffee drinker a reusable cup to take to coffee shops

https://ecoffeecup.eco

Or reusable straws for a little one

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reusable-Silicone-Smoothie-Straws-Free

How about water bottles you can use over and over again

https://uk.frankgreen.com/collections/reusable-bottles

https://www.root7.com/collections/hydration

I’m buying one of these from local company Love Inc. It’s personalised too

https://loveincltd.co.uk/product/bespoke-name-water-bottle

Or beautiful cotton handkerchiefs with a modern twist

Eco Handkerchiefs

These online shops specialise in zero waste products, including gifts for mums and babies, as well as soap etc

https://thoroughlymoderngrandma.com/tmg-zero-waste-shop

https://www.authentichouse.co.uk

Buying second hand

A great way to avoid waste is to buy second hand. That doesn’t sound great does it, until you start calling it vintage or antique. I love the idea of buying pre-loved goods as gifts.

Did you know that Mr Books (in Tonbridge) sells old Blue Peter and comic annuals for the year of your birth? I love that idea!

https://www.mrbooks.co.uk

Oxfam bookshops are great for this too.

Or, buy something beautiful and unique from one of these local vintage and antique dealers

Weathered and Worn

Decorative Antiques

Decorative Antiques, Hurst Green

Nikki Page Antiques

Buy recycled or up-cycled gifts

How about buying from companies that recycle or up-cycle? Here are some local businesses that work with recycled goods

Elvis and Kresse make luxury handbags, belts and wallets from reclaimed materials.

Qalbi uses vintage maps to create beautiful keepsakes

Fancy Tat has some great up-cycled gifts, ranging from bottle top cufflinks to champagne cork angels

Mosaics Love Lucy creates beautiful jewellery and hearts from vintage chinaware

Wrapping and cards

Christmas cards

Did you know that 1 billion cards end up in the bin, when they could be recycled? So what can we do to counter this?

There’s some brilliant ideas here about how to recycle them

http://www.rufflesandstuff.com/2011/12/recycling-christmas-cards.html

Or, how about not sending Christmas cards at all. There’s a real variety of eCards available nowadays, something for everyone.

https://www.jibjab.com/browse/holiday-ecards

https://www.doozycards.com/ecards/christmas

https://www.hallmarkecards.com/ecards/collections/christmas

Wrapping Paper

Every Christmas the UK uses enough wrapping paper to go round the equator nine times.

Lots of Christmas wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it uses glitter, metallics and plastics. There’s a great post here about how it

https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/wrapping-paper-1

For years now we’ve been wrapping our Christmas presents with newspaper. At first we had to explain to everyone but now it’s just what happens! You can also use old stamps or twine to seal your parcels.

Also, I love this idea – reusable gift wrap from local company Little Green Narwhal. Deadline for orders is 14th December. Just gorgeous!

https://www.littlegreennarwhal.co.uk/ourshop/cat_1500727-Zero-waste-gift-wrap.html

I hope you’ve found some of these ideas useful, fun and inspirational.

If you’ve got any other ideas for lessening waste at Christmas please comment below.