Hey all and welcome to Shades of Green’s semi-annual eco Christmas post. Now, you might remember that earlier in the year, I (Emma) vowed not to buy any Christmas presents for adults. (I was still going to buy them for my nephews and nieces.)
Now, that promise was made before what was (and contiues to be) a distressing few months for my family. My grampy doesn’t really get why I’m trying to refuse presents and my mum thought we were just doing this for people outside our immediate family.
I tried to fight back. It ended in an argument. And Tamara, after I almost screamed at her about the fact that I was now under stress to buy presents that I never wanted to in December, explained that presents are a love language and my family are probably just trying to show that they care, after our annus horribilis.
Thus I, the person who didn’t want to buy presents, am now doing an eco-gift guide for my family.
Please note: This is not an ad. No payment or gifts were exchanged for inclusion in this blog. These are simply eco-friendly companies that I have bought presents from for the three people that I live with.
When you buy local you can often cut down on transit and CO2; even if you still buy from a national or global brand.
A completely non-scientific case-study
If you wanted to purchase an individual bath bomb from Lush; you could order online and have that one item posted to you.
Compare this to buying that same bath bomb from your local store. They order their stock in massive amounts (50 bath bombs per box, sometimes as many as 30 boxes per delivery); the carbon footprint per bath bomb is much less.
Plus, they do have a massive package free (naked!) section.
Of course, it is always better to buy from small businesses in your local area. Here, I should mention the lovely Pigeon Books, who have been supplying me with presents for my nephews and niece since the summer.
They specialise in diverse books and have a whole section of eco-saving literature. Plus, if you live nearby they’ll deliver by bike and if you live further away, they’ll package your books in reused packaging.
When you buy handmade you’re helping someone to do what they want for a living; you get something uber unique and you might even get lucky by picking something from a designer that’ll be huge one day.
For this, I will recommend The Beehive Portsmouth, which has a collection of designers under one roof. We visited for the launch event back in September and loved it.
Tamara particularly liked the jewellery, I liked the small prints, and from the photos, it looks like Tamara’s husband Menno liked the food!
One of the major environmental costs is the production of new items and it’s much more eco to buy products that have been pre-loved.
I used to love doing this throughout the year and having my mum put stuff away for my Christmas presents, but, like most prolific readers, I now have more books than I could read in a lifetime.
Check out eBay, Gumtree or even Facebook Marketplace. Or you can pop down to your local charity shop and do twice the good.
However, if you’re looking specifically for books, which I always am, try World of Books, which is approved by both me and Tamara. They source books from charity shops, who are often overwhelmed by books, and prevent them from going to landfill.
On that note, if someone doesn’t really have a need for more items, why not consider a charitable donation? Plenty of charities will send out cards saying that a donation have been made in their name. (Remember to add on Gift Aid if you can!)
I’ve done this for a few years for my grampy with Doctors Without Borders, but if you want to donate closer to home, there are some worthwhile causes in Portsmouth mentioned in a previous post.
We all have that friend who could use a little push to be more eco-friendly and a good way to give that push in a friendly manner is to buy them a green gift.
Looking for ideas? Check out one of Tamara’s first blogs about her zero-waste backpack.