Sustainable Christmas tips are somewhat of a buzzword of late as people gear up for the gifting season.

It’s officially time for planning the Christmas festivities and Orla Rapple has some great advice on how to have a more sustainable celebration.

Sarah Duvall from UK-based Environmental Charity Hubbub says people feel a lot of pressure to buy lots and lots at this time of year that will eventually go to waste.

“People feel a lot of pressure to consume around Christmas whether it’s the number of presents to buy people or buying lots of food and drink it can sometimes translate into us buying to much stuff and it will end up going in the bin anyway.”

Last year, REPAK carried out a survey in which 93% of Irish shoppers say they receive gifts they don’t use.

They also predicted that Ireland would generate a massive 97,000 tonnes of packaging waste on Christmas alone.

But there are ways to make Christmas more sustainable this year, and every year.

Gift Differently

Hubbub have a great list of ideas for the next time you want to get a gift for a loved one. They are sure to love them all!

1) Treat filled jars
Use old jam jars and stuff them full of all things sweet, whether it’s sweets or home-made jams and chutneys. Or, for a savoury tooth, pack them with spices, pretzels or nuts. Stick a bow round the jar and you’re done! Check out this chili jam, chocolate spread or chutney recipes to get some inspiration.

2) DIY Beauty Scrubs, facemasks and more
Homemade face masks and scrubs are easier than you think to make at home, using basic ingredients you probably already have. Make your own natural cosmetics (there are plenty of super-easy recipes out there), find empty glass containers to store them, and share your favourite ones as a gift. Attach a note with the ingredients and recipe so they can be made again when the jar is empty!

3) Make your own Christmas card
This is a great activity to do with kids. It’s easier than you think, and you don’t need any special skills – fold some good quality paper, find some inspo on Pinterest (we won’t judge if you copy), glue some autumn leaves from your doorstep… the possibilities are endless and they’ll put a smile on your loved one’s face! Save any cards from this year and recycle them into gift cards for next year. Cut a gift card shape from the front of the card and punch a hole. You can usually get 2 –3 gift tags out of one card. You’ll be thanking yourself next year, we promise.

4) DIY pressed flower photo frame
Pressed flower frames don’t require too much effort but make a beautiful and thoughtful gift!

5) Cosmetic and toiletries
Whether it’s haircare, skincare or beardcare, everyone loves to be pampered. Sadly, many beauty gifts go unused each year. Avoid the waste and ask your loved ones which brands and products they like before buying them cosmetics or bath bits. Lots of people have wishlists and products they’d love to receive. If you want to go down the homemade and DIY route, you could even try making your own bath bombs, just make sure to check about allergies before gifting. This is a great activity to do with children as a gift for teachers or grandparents.

6) Gift an experience
Want to cut the waste whilst gifting this year? Well, our research found that people often prefer to receive experiences over presents. Check out your local town’s activities and organisations for ideas from theatre tickets to massage vouchers!

7) Plants not pants
Plants, plants and more plants! Why not gift someone an indoor plant this Christmas? They’ve been proven to reduce stress levels and shows that you have faith in their ability to keep something alive. Plus, they look pretty!

Did you know you can grow new baby plants from any plant you own? Yup, it’s called ‘propagating’ and yup, it does feel like magic – nature never fails to impress! Simply cut a stalk from a plant you have (or even one out in a public park/forest) and make sure the stalk has at least one leaf, and at least one ‘node’. Cutting directly under a node is best. Then pop it in some water and within days, new roots will appear, and it’s ready to be potted in soil and the giftee can watch it grow!

8) Gift the joy of reusables
Kit your friend out with a reusable cutlery set, coffee cup or water bottle? Or some funky food boxes or sandwich wraps. These gifts can also help save them money throughout the year with the majority of cafes offering a discount if you bring your own mug. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Check out our handy 6 tips to reduce single use plastic for some inspiration!

9) Get thrifty
Scouting charity shops and vintage stores is a great, thrifty way to find unique gifts. There’ll be something for everyone, whether that’s a cap, some killer boots, preloved books or trinket trays and mirrors. Have a hunt and see what you can find, they’ll love the thought that goes into gift thrifting. If you’re buying for someone who loves platforms like Depop, head to their account and look at their recent likes. Surprise them with something they’ve already had their eye on.

10) Shop local and smallSearch for “ethical, fair trade and handmade gifts” to find one-of-a-kind presents made by people who care about sustainability and quality. Look up your local makers’ market. If shopping in person, why not make a hamper of local products for your loved ones? Get creative, experiment with making things yourself and if you’re looking to buy, look for products that are handmade, locally sourced or come from smaller, independent sellers.

For more information, check out the following sites:


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