Well Christmas is just a couple of weeks away and I don’t know about you, but I’ve left it down to the wire and still have some gifts to organise.

If you’re in the same boat, rest assured you don’t have to drop your green values and buy the first thing you see when completing your last minute shopping on Christmas Eve.

In this post I’ll discuss seven green gift ideas that are not only kinder to the planet, but will make your gift the favourite one this Christmas!

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I’ve also put together a free ‘Seasons Greenings’ eguide that’s jam-packed with practical and simple ideas for you to enjoy a sustainable Christmas.

Just click here to get your copy!

1. Gift Your Presence

When I was young, both of my parents worked shift work; my father was a policeman and my mother was a nurse. It was common for one, if not both, of them to be working Christmas Day.

There were quite a few times when my mum was working at the hospital and myself and my sisters would go up there and play a little concert. The three of us were musical so we’d take our instruments and play Christmas carols or jazz tunes. We would generally do this in the maternity ward at the hospital or the adjacent retirement village. The oldies loved it! Our visits into that retirement home were met with so many smiles and gratitude, and it made us feel good too. We were gifting our presence to people who may have been lonely on Christmas Day.

What my sisters and I did when we were younger may not be practical for you at this stage in your life, but I still encourage you to think, can you gift your presence rather than a physical present this year? After all, it’s not what’s under the Christmas Tree that matters. It’s who’s gathered around it.

We all know that in this day and age, when we’re living long distance from our family and friends, sometimes our physical presence is difficult to give. In these situations, rather than popping a card in the mail, just pick up the phone to call an old friend or relative.

I actually did this myself a few nights ago, one of my best friends is going through a rough time at the moment. I thought about sending a card or a present but it would take weeks to reach her. I decided I should just call, even if I may not know what to say, at least I can be there and let them know that I’m thinking of them.

So, have a think about it. We all have relatives or friends who are going through tough times. Try not to avoid it but give them a call and let them know that you’re thinking of them. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it more than a present or a card.

2. Gift Experiences

This is perfect for that person who has everything. You could gift tickets to shows, sporting events, concerts, or even tours.

These kinds of ideas are fantastic when you know that the person doesn’t really want a physical gift, and they’re great for kids too.

Last year my mum gifted me tickets to go to a musical with her. We hardly get to see each other because we live in different states in Australia, so when we were over in Melbourne for Christmas, we went to a matinee of “Georgie Girl” and had a blast!!

3. Gift Handmade

I covered handmade gifts in detail in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, called Cook it, Craft it, Mix it, Sew it…. Four Easy Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas.  I cover lots of great ideas in that post so if you haven’t done already, make sure you check it out!

My Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs members have been super busy these past six weeks making gifts and having lots of fun in the process! The November Self Sufficiency challenge was all about gifting homemade, and many of them have continued it into December because they’re enjoying getting creative.

4. Gift Local

This also helps the economics of where you are living because the money that you spend in your community, stays in your community. This can be local food, a local holiday, or even just local products.

This year we’ve bought Australian-made ‘Funky Monkey’ monkey bars for the boys. Due to their higher price, other family members have pitched in too. This has also helped us to curb the plastic toy invasion from all the aunties, uncles, and grandparents this Christmas (although I’m a realist and know many will still slip through the net).

5. Gift Organic

More and more conventional products these days have an organic eco-friendly version available as well.

If you’re thinking traditional Christmas presents like socks and jocks or food and drinks, go for the organic option that’s more sustainable.

A couple of years ago, I gifted my husband some beautiful organic pyjamas from Australian-made brand ‘Sorella & Me’. They make beautiful and sustainable bed-wear for men and women.

6. Gift Quality

I touched on this when talking about the quality monkey bars that we’re buying for the kids this summer rather than heaps of smaller gifts.

I strongly believe that it’s better to gift one quality item that stands the test of time rather than many cheaper items that just don’t last.

Another great blog post that covers this in more depth is The Difference Between Eco Living And Frugality.

7. Gift What They Want

It seems obvious but it’s surprising how many gifts we give or receive that we just don’t like or need. They end up sitting in a cupboard, or we sell them on eBay, or move on to Op Shops.

This Christmas, if you want to buy something, ask for ideas so you buy what the person really wants. Or consider a gift voucher, they can get what they want and gift will more likely be used.

So, this Christmas, before you make hasty last-minute decisions, have a think and see if some of these greener ideas might be more suited. I bet they’ll be well received and you’ll enjoy the process!

And if you’re keen to perhaps even gift a membership to Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs, just a reminder that the foundation membership price ends this Friday 16th December. To join a warm and inspiring community of like-minded eco folks, be challenged to live more sustainably and be in the running for awesome eco prizes, not to mention exclusive member discounts, join me in Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs.

Happy Christmas!!!

Laura

Laura

Laura Trotta is one of Australia’s leading home sustainability experts. Fusing her professional expertise as an environmental engineer with the down-to-earth pragmatism that comes from being a busy mum, Laura is an eco thought leader who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Laura