Do you remember being a kid, and spending hours creating or building something, using your imagination and love to produce a gift? Do you remember being ridiculously excited to present to your creation to your mum, dad, teacher or sibling? Sometimes that feeling of pride when you give a hand made gift can’t really be replicated with a gift you’ve purchased, even if it’s a really thoughtful one!
Fast forward to the present day – the nightmare shopping centres, impossible carparking and endless lines, urgh. All of that angst, resulting in presents that may not be something your loved one really needs or wants – but ‘it will do’. You may have even been on the receiving end of gifts you didn’t really need or want. Chances are you were – 20 million unwanted gifts are given each year in Australia at Christmastime. Sounds like a lot, but it’s only one of many shocking facts about waste around the holiday season.
Christmas Waste Facts
Unfortunately, we don’t just waste money and maybe a bit of our sanity over the festive season. It’s a season of decadence, which we all look forward to, but there are definitely some facts that we could all consider heading into December.
- Australians are now collectively spending around $11 billion a year on Christmas gifts.
- 86% of Aussies find Christmas puts a strain on their finances, with buying Christmas gifts reported as the major cause (66%) of this pressure.
- Australians use more than 150,000km of wrapping paper during Christmas – enough to wrap around Earth’s equator nearly 4 times.
- 90% of Aussies usually discard over 25% of their food during the festive period (December 1 – January 1).
- We generate an extra 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in the process of buying and giving over Christmas – most of which can’t be recycled.
Make a Gift Day
With this in mind, Make a Gift Day is the perfect holiday to start preparing your presents for those important people on your list. National Make a Gift Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated annually on December 3 every year. It is all about making gifts instead of buying them. As well as being good for our planet – there is a lot to be said for the feeling of making a gift, and how meaningful that could be for your loved ones. The extra love, thoughtfulness and effort makes your handmade gift that extra bit special.
Stuck for ideas?
Here are some awesome ideas for home-made gifts to get you started.
Watercolour Mugs – This is a great one for people of all ages! Everyone from teen to grandparent can get on board with something pretty to have a nice cup of tea from! A bit of nail polish and some plain mugs and you are on your way!
Macrame – it’s hard to open a lifestyle magazine now without seeing this trend used in most rooms of the house. It’s super versatile and on trend, most of the house proud people in your life would love to receive a piece! The bonus is they are super simple to make – check out this tutorial!
Dino Planter – House plants are becoming a must have in every home, and this is a really fun way to incorporate them into any space. They are all a super simple and fun idea for a teacher gift, and easy to duplicate if you need a few! With just a hollow plastic toy, and a quick trip to Bunnings, you’ll be on your way!
Body Scrub – what a fantastic gift for the skin concious person in your life – and so simple!!
Rum Balls or Chocolate Truffles – It may seem too simple, but sometimes the most traditional gifts are the best ones. Receiving something that’s both delicious AND made with love is always a win. It’s an easy office gift, or maybe even for a neighbor or two. There are not many people who say no to a chocolate treat, especially at Christmas! We’ve linked a tried a true recipe.
Yeah, no thanks.
If making a gift isn’t for you, you can still help reduce waste this Christmas with these simple steps:
- Sending e-cards and emails instead of Christmas cards and letters
- Wrapping gifts in cloth or a tea towel instead of wrapping paper (Check out Buy from the Bush for some fantastic options from small businesses in drought stricken areas of Australia).
- Second option for wrapping – brown paper! It’s cheap, on trend and most importantly, recyclable!
- Gifting experiences! Sometimes time is the most valuable gift – book in some quality time with a loved one in place of a gift.
- Make space in your fridge and freezer for leftovers.
- Avoid plastic as much as possible! There are so many fantastic alternatives these days.
Whatever your Christmas plans, please consider your choices and how they will contribute to our Christmas waste. The biggest positive changes are the result of us all making a tiny adjustment – lets work together! If we all make a gift or two this year, that’s a fantastic start! You could even start a trend in your family. Will you take the first step?