5 Secret Hacks For a Sustainable Christmas: This is Better than a Gift Guide

Guest Post by:  Jean Ong, founder of Ecolover United

Photo by Thanakorn Phanthura from Pexels

It’s Christmas! The best time of the year! I love the holidays. I love getting lots of presents. So I feel a little tug of war with being Earth loving and celebrating this festive season. But I found 5 hacks that make this a season of joy while being Earth friendly.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

1. Give gifts your friends and family will love.

Picking the perfect gift for your loved ones is one tricky task. What to get her? Candle? Make-up? Handbag? Gift guides are no help at all. That’s because each person is unique and there’s no universal gift that appeals to everyone.   

How familiar is this scenario? You splurge to get your loved one a gift and they don’t really appreciate it. And this happens every Christmas. So this year, why not get it right? It’s such a shame when you spend all that hard- earned cash to try to please your loved ones but they’re still not thrilled about their gift.  The easiest way to gift what people actually want is to simply just ask them. 

Yup, it’s that easy. Just ask. Ask them “What do you want for Christmas”. This is pretty straightforward with kids. They’ll tell you what they want. For adults who answer “I don’t really want anything.” It makes gift giving much harder. The way to go about it is ask them what their current hobby is. And get them something related to their hobby. For example I ask my sister what she’s crazy about right now. She’s into crystals so I narrow down my answer to crystal related things. I ask what type of crystal does she want to have.

Gift giving has been so much easier this way. And my splurges have been so worth it when I see my loved one’s eyes genuinely light up at getting what they really want. 

2. Use wrapping paper that’s recycled

So a mountain of gifts is unsustainable right? But fret not! It can still be sustainable. Use recycled wrapping materials. It won’t look hippie. Done right, it can actually pass for looking like a regular gift wrapper.

You can use old magazines or catalogues as gift wrappers. And tie it with a big bow for a festive touch. For a nice look, choose colourful pages. If you’re wrapping a large gift, you can tape together pages of the same color family. But the key is really placing a big festive bow on the gift. It’s the ultimate hack that hides even bad gift wrapping skills. 

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

3. Recycle gifts. But discreetly

Who’s guilty of recycling gifts? I am. Yup, I’m admitting to this. Yes I secretly give gifts to others that someone gave me but I don’t really want. There’s no reason to keep something you don’t really want. Just pass it on to someone who will appreciate the gift better.

The key here is to recycle gifts discreetly. Check the gift for any telling signs that it’s been gifted to you. Remove the gift tag. Now, as to who to give it to? Gift it someone who does NOT belong to the same social circle as the one who gave it to you. If it’s your sister who gifted it, you can pass it on to your friends who don’t hang out with your sister. Don’t gift it to a family member too or an in-law, that’s just too risky at being found out that you recycled the gift.

Photo by Laura James from Pexels

4. Gift friends some home cooked food.

Getting home made food always feels great. That’s because taking the time to cook something yourself is definitely a labor of love; it gives it that special something. Everyone knows that when the holidays are in full swing, things can get crazy. So when someone takes the time and effort to cook something, it shows that they really care.

For master chefs and those who love cooking, this is an easy enough task. But for kitchen newbies, maybe try for simpler things like cookies. It’s hard to mess up baking cookies. For a universal crowd pleaser, try making chocolate chip cookies; they’re a classic and well-loved by everyone. If you’re more advanced, you can cook food for their Christmas lunch or dinner.

5. Give a universal gift that EVERYONE appreciate. Go for a Christmas basket or fruit basket.

This idea works well for acquaintances, in-laws, officemates, picky eaters (vegan, on a diet) and when you just feel too holi-dazed to think of the perfect gift.

The Christmas basket is a very popular gift. It’s just a basket packed full of staples needed to make a Christmas spread. It’s hard to go wrong with a Christmas basket because who doesn’t prepare Christmas lunch or dinner? All you need is a nice container or basket, a giant bow and a gift card for that festive vibe. You then fill your basket with canned goods, jams, and all the fixin’s you need to prepare a special meal. 

For picky eaters, instead of preparing a Christmas basket, you can substitute it with a fruit basket. Afterall who doesn’t eat fruits right? Just arrange the fresh fruits of the season and place it in a nice basket and add a festive bow and a gift card. 

Christmas is a season for family, joy, and gift giving. When you celebrate the season in a more eco friendly way, you give the ultimate gift to your loved ones. A healthy planet to live in. And THAT’S the gift that keeps on giving.

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