The festive season is not only magical but it can be stressful for a lot of people. With gifts, dinner and the rest to think about the pressure to also make the ‘right’ choices can be difficult to overcome. So here are our tips to be a bit more considered in your Christmas choices this year, so while you celebrate you can rest assured you’ve done your bit for charity and the environment without breaking the bank.
One easy way to do something good this festive season is to ditch the stacks of cards. Instead of spending money on cards that will most likely go to wate anyway, you can donate the amount of money you’d usually spend to a charity. This not only saves all those cards from going to landfill making a positive impact on the environment but makes a difference to the charity you choose too. Here at Little Lives UK donations like this are used to support our campaigns which help disabled and disadvantaged children across to thrive. This is an easy change which helps the environment and charity. Donating to charity is quick and easy so this trick saves you all the time which you’d usually spend writing all those cards so you can spend more time actually celebrating the season.
If you are the type to keep hold of all those Christmas cards why not put them to use this year. A really quick and simple way to recycle last year’s cards is to turn them into gift tags for this year. As usually there’s no writing behind the card’s decorations, all you have to do is cut around any elements of the card you like and write who each gift is for on the back and either use a bit of tape or a hole punch and ribbon to attach. If you’re feeling fancy a pair of zigzag scissors can jazz up the process. This is a great little craft to get the kids involved with too as it can’t really go too far wrong.
Conscious gifting can mean a lot of different things. It could be shopping local for more sustainable gifts; this often makes gifts feel more unique and personal while also being better for the planet. Another take on conscious gifting would be to only gift things you know will be well used or needed. This means you don’t buy joke gifts or novelty items that will be used once and discarded. Instead buy things that your loved ones need or will genuinely benefit from. For adults especially this is usually seen as a thoughtful gift as it saves them the money, they would eventually have to spend on the item anyway. For children this may be choosing to get fewer gifts of higher quality and which can be used in multiple imaginative ways instead of lots of cheap toys which can only be used in one way and often break quickly after purchase.
If money is a big concern when it comes to gifts, Secret Santa is a great option and can be done without being a gimmick. Set the budget for your Secret Santa with the amount you would usually spend in mind. Each person is responsible for buying one larger gift for the name they randomly draw meaning each person gets to unwrap a considered gift instead of lots of smaller less meaningful gifts. This means gifts are able to be more substantial and everyone saves money too.
Reducing waste this Christmas doesn’t have to take away any of the fun. While traditional plastic coated wrapping paper isn’t good for the planet there are lots of alternatives that are just as beautiful and fun that are a bit kinder to the planet. The easiest switch would be to seek out uncoated biodegradable wrapping papers which are becoming more and more popular. Other sustainable alternatives include fabric wrapping, gift sacks and hampers which can be reused year after year.
What type of tree you get is a hotly debated topic and at the end of the day an entirely personal preference as real and artificial both have their pros and cons. A real tree is more natural and will over time biodegrade making them better for the environment. They do however generally drop needle making a constant mess to be cleaned. They also need to be repurchased each year and can be pretty pricy. Artificial trees, are not biodegradable or natural, however a good artificial tree is a one-time purchase which can be reused year on year. This means that while it isn’t natural a well-maintained faux tree is more cost effective and should not go to waste for a long time. At the end of the day your tree is personal to your home and your choice should be made based on your own priorities as a real tree is more sustainable but a faux tree is more cost effective and can be reused.
An amazing way to be a bit more sustainable and help charity would be a pre-Christmas clear out. For children this may be choosing the toys they no longer play with and for adults it can be a clear out of clothes and household items you are hoping to replace through gifts. Once you have sorted out what you no longer need, take it to your local charity shop. This benefits the charity itself from the items sales but may also be a huge help to those from lower income households. The things you no longer need could be the key to another families Christmas. Donating at Christmas is sustainable, charitable and for many families a lifeline. The things some children have disregarded could be the perfect gift for a vulnerable child this Christmas.
Here at Little Lives UK, we accept donations of clothing, toys, technology and more at out three charity shops across London. The sale of these items helps us fund life changing support for vulnerable children across the UK. We can also arrange collations of clothes and technology in London and the BCP area making it easy to do something good this festive season.