This is it. The sixth and final part of the 2019 More Thought, Less Waste gift guide. Are you still looking for that certain something? Keep reading!
Stuff with a Story
I mentioned this way back on day 2, but I think it bears repeating: consider shopping second hand. Charity shops and vintage boutiques may turn up the perfect pressie, and there are some very creative and clever people out there turning old products into new things.
- I recently discovered the Vintage Silver Workshop at the Bath Artisan Market, and they have a beautiful range of products made from old cutlery. If you know your friend or loved one enjoys quirky silver jewellery, then this may be the motherlode.
- I have to admit that I have not seen any Wyatt and Jack products in person, but I love the idea behind the company. They make new products out of unusual items: punctured inflatables, bouncy castles, deck chairs.
- There is also Freitag who make bags out of lorry tarps, but the price may be prohibitive for a standard Christmas gift. Sourced is a Cornish company doing something similar (although I’m not 100% certain they’re still in business as their Twitter feed hasn’t been updated since 2016).
I’m sure there are a lot of other interesting products that have been upcycled to give them a new life; please let me know what they are so I can include them in a future post!
Maybe I’m jaded, but I think one of the reasons Christmas has gotten a bit out of hand is because people want the social media friendly image of a tree surrounded by piles of presents. A gift card in an envelope doesn’t make quite the same impression, but it almost completely reduces packaging waste, doesn’t take up space or need to be dusted, and in many cases lets the recipient choose exactly what they want. I understand wanting to give children something to open, but I would hope adults can get a bit of Christmas joy without the wrapping paper and bows.
In addition to gifts of annual memberships, there are so many other days out that you can treat friends and family to, from hot air balloon rides to afternoon tea to a day at the races. Virgin and Woodmansterne offer packages, or you can put together your own custom surprise (Jon is very good at this!).
Whether blowing glass, sewing, or decorating cakes, there are enough how-to courses out there to tempt even the pickiest of recipients (chocolate making perhaps?). Just visit Google for the nearest class.
The musical Avenue Q said it best: “When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself.” There are so many worthwhile charities that you can donate to in the name of your recipient. Besides the Adopt-an-Animal schemes already mentioned, you can have a tree or two planted by the Woodland Trust, purchase a goat (or chicken or school books) through Oxfam Unwrapped, or even subscribe someone to the Big Issue.
Don’t overlook making something yourself: if you have a bit of spare time and a favourite recipe, a homemade treat is always welcome (although you may wish to check on allergies and any dietary requirements to be on the safe side). Or consider actual DIY—is there something that a friend or family member needs done around the house that you can help with? Jon and I are currently working on homemade Advent calendars filled with positive activities to foster the Christmas spirit throughout the entire month of December.
If you made it all the way to the end of the 2019 More Thought, Less Waste gift guide: well done and thank you! Please don’t forget to drop me a line or share your thoughts on social media about products that worked well, those that didn’t, and new things you think should be added next year.
See all posts from the past week here:
- Day 1: Some scary statistics about waste over the holidays and why it’s so important that we all take steps to cut back
- Day 2: A look at where we can buy to make our money go further by supporting local or independent businesses
- Day 3: How to wrap with less waste and gift suggestions to help turn friends and family into people who PALL (Plastic A Lot Less)
- Day 4: Whether you’re catering for readers or film buffs, foodies or explorers, there is something for everyone
- Day 5: Gift suggestions for around the house and garden
Read the entire 2019 More Thought, Less Waste gift guide:
- Part 1: Why it’s so important to cut back on waste, especially at Christmas (in the UK, there’s a 30% increase in rubbish compared to the rest of the year).
- Part 2: How to plan ahead to avoid waste and where you can shop; let me know if you have any favourites that should be included next year.
- Part 3: Reduced waste wrapping and green gifts for those who are interested in the environment (or wouldn’t mind a gentle, plastic-free nudge). Don’t forget to give paper and foil the scrunch test! If it stays scrunched it’s paper or foil and can be recycled accordingly; if it bounces back, it’s made with plastic and likely has to go to landfill.
- Part 4: Whether you’re catering for readers or film buffs, foodies or explorers, there is something for everyone and it doesn’t necessarily require packaging.
- Part 5: Gift suggestions for around the house and garden (and if you’re into helping bees, make sure to check out the details for safe bee houses—they’re not all created equal).
- Part 6: Wrapping things up with suggestions ranging from stuff with a story to lessons and experiences. If you think there’s something missing, please drop me a line!
If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to reduce your wasteline throughout the year, check out related posts:
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Bathroom
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Wardrobe
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Out and About
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Kitchen
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Everything Else
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Get Social
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Gift Giving
- Greenwashing and Unintended Consequences
- Meeting in the Middle on Waste Reduction
- How I Lost 20 Pounds in One Year
- Tip of the Iceberg