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Low impact Christmas

(41 Posts)
Juancornetto Sat 25-Nov-17 11:13:02

Inspired by this wonderful post by @cakelesswonder, gather round fellow grinches for tales of your plans for a low impact Christmas.
I've not managed to do much apart from decline all Secret Santa invitations, buy DD's and DM's present (wooden train set and necklace respectively) second hand and insist on only one present per giver for DD.
Does anyone have links for good low impact presents for people we feel we have to get presents for? Reusable straws, reusable coffee cups and the like?
Or ideas for zero waste Christmas decs?
Hit me smile

AdultHumanFemale Sat 25-Nov-17 20:54:33

Excellent thread!
We are doing small presents this year, both because space is limited and small things are likely to be less 'resource-heavy' (?). I am giving DC1 a fountain pen and a maple wood Moeck recorder, both second hand from eBay. Both DC are also getting Wentworth jigsaw puzzles, as they are such great quality and are generally in excellent condition even second hand, as some people regard them as collector's items. Board games can also often be in 'as new' condition, hardly played with at all. I have bought an unused needle-felting kit, and some remnant cross-stitching fabric and a bundle of embroidery threads as joint gifts for DCs. I am bidding on some really nice remnant wool (for knitting) for DM, again from eBay. DP is getting seeds for his allotment, DSis is getting bulbs for her garden.

AdultHumanFemale Sat 25-Nov-17 21:16:37

Also getting Reeves watercolour sets for both DCs, as you can buy individual refill paints once a colour runs out.

Hatstand Sat 25-Nov-17 22:19:12

Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas. I already do lots of regifts and charity shop gifts as well as the charity goats so loathed by the rest of MN. Wrapping waste winds me up, I have a box of last year's gift bags ready to reuse, and last year's cards to make gift tags.

CasparBloomberg Sun 26-Nov-17 09:21:49

We are sharply paring back and reducing the number of presents our kids get this year to one small main present and a stocking with book, socks/undies, snacks etc. I won't be wrapping the stocking gifts either as all the paper being thrown away by 9am really saddens me.
We've also agreed with our wider family that we won't swap gifts. It's unnecessary and we'll just choose to spend a nice time together instead.
My teacher gifts are reuseable bamboo coffee cups. They're practical as can go in the dishwasher, but also can compost once they've done with them in a couple of years. I love mine.
We won't be getting new decorations, just reusing what we have. My only zero waste new decorating this year will be the holly tree we are having to have removed due to drain damage. It will make some lovely wreaths and garlands and a lovely warm fire in a couple of years 😆

AdultHumanFemale Sun 26-Nov-17 09:48:52

Yes, Caspar , reducing wrapping... DM reuses old wrapping paper for wrapping other gifts, but my kids are too young to make a neat job of removing any paper in the first place. So much wrapping paper is 'treated' in some way too; glitter, foil paper, pearlescence, gloss etc. No wrapping in stockings is a good idea.

LittleWingSoul Sun 26-Nov-17 10:05:37

There is a Japanese gift wrapping method that uses beautiful pieces of fabric instead of paper... definitely reusable and unlikely to tear! May be an idea at least for presents opened at home or given to crafty friends/family?

LittleWingSoul Sun 26-Nov-17 10:10:28

I'd also be interested to know whether anyone has successfully encouraged family members to stop with the mountain of toys for DC at xmas and what they said to achieve this!

We asked for ticketmaster vouchers for DD last year for Xmas so I could take her to the theatre (we saw Annie, it was so good!)

Harder with 3yo DS... I know lego is plastic but I'd like to think it will be reused long after my DC have grown up as it holds its value and I'd be horrified to think anyone would chuck lego in the bin?!

Reusable tree, Xmas Decs get used year in year out... Not hosting this year so crackers are not my choice...

What about single use printed Xmas napkins? They are often not even particularly absorbent are they? Pretty, but useless and wasteful.

Hatstand Sun 26-Nov-17 10:36:26

Fabric for wrapping is a lovely idea! I'm thinking an old sheet and a revival of the primary school art of potato printing...

BelfastSmile Sun 26-Nov-17 13:14:42

@LittleWingSoul I give Lego a pass, despite being plastic, as it lasts for absolutely ages and is well-used!

I was thinking of getting DS to make wrapping paper by decorating regular paper.... does paint make it non-recyclable though? And any alternative to sellotape to stick it on? Is glue bad?

Hatstand Sun 26-Nov-17 13:44:26

@BelfastSmile am planning to use string and last year's ribbons to help stem the flow of sellotape.

BelfastSmile Sun 26-Nov-17 13:46:05

Oh, good thinking @Hatstand! I have loads of ribbon lying around that I could use!

Polyanthus Sun 26-Nov-17 14:43:07

I do like wrappping gifts but often use newspaper. We sometimes get the weekend ft and that's great to save for wrapping but even in normal papers, the stocks and shares page works well. I do tie ribbon round too (sorry!) but always save and reuse it, or I will use ordinary string and tie on a bunch of greenery from the garden (e.g. Sprig of rosemary or a few bay leaves.)

If th kids aren't happy about using newspaper for friends presents we tend to use ordinary brown parcel paper that I buy on a roll and then once the present is wrapped they decorate it with felt tips usually writing the recipients name in big block letters.

I know this isn't as green as not wrapping at all but it is a middle way that works for us.

Juancornetto Sun 26-Nov-17 14:50:20

I use brown paper most of the time and newspaper always looks good. And garden greenery for decoration is a fab idea smile I was thinking dried orange slices or cinnamon sticks but there are a lot less airmiles in a sprig of rosemary from the garden smile
Sellotape does my head in, I keep meaning to hunt down a non-plastic alternative, it's on my very long "to do" list...

LovingKent Sun 26-Nov-17 16:49:08

My DC is playing with Lego that was mine as a child if that helps you feel better. The white is a bit yellowed but it is largely intact and cleaned up very easily.

On one side of the family we agreed years ago to give only homemade presents to the adults. This year I have made chutney and might make fudge.

I don't buy loads for DC as their birthday is fairly soon after Christmas. DC has a mix of practical presents, books and stuff that will be played with. Only one present per giver has been the rule for years.

Having read the other thread I won't bother now with crackers nor will I wrap stocking presents. I might buy a proper nice tablecloth that I could just bring out annually.

We do have secret Santa at work but to make life easier we put suggestions of what we would like in an envelope which should result in less waste.

For anyone buying teachers reusable cups please ensure they have a lid. Our school doesn't allow ones without a lid in the classroom.

NotCitrus Sun 26-Nov-17 17:10:24

The kids main presents are Lego that was 2nd hand but impressively big sets - it's what they've wanted since being old enough to understand money. In fact lots of our presents are second hand - books from charity bookshop, DVDs and computer games - and we generally re-use the same decorations. Some big toys have been mine or MrNC's, so this year dd will get my (incredibly impressive) dolls house.

I get wrapping paper that is actual paper without crud on, often unbleached, but wrapping is part of Christmas. Don't do ribbon or tags though.

Generally don't go overboard on buying food etc and not over packaged stuff, and most presents for others are edible. I'm doing a Secret Santa with friends but not the work one as I don't want the tat for £5 that I'd likely get. We do get crackers just for one meal, but they are small with stickers instead of crap inside. Then some table toys which come out each year

The kids get enough toys so actually like getting money and clothes from their other relatives. Mostly don't do presents for adults beyond parents - MrNC and I get practical items for each other. He actually asks for pants and socks!

Try to take lots of stuff to charity shops before Christmas so they can sell it for presents - they get to the point of having to reject donations in January.

LittleHearts Mon 27-Nov-17 21:42:27

Just place marking for inspiration.

Biffybiffster Tue 28-Nov-17 16:06:52

I'm having a dilemma, I've done my christmas shopping for the dc, but we have to buy a gift for father Christmas to give the dc at school. Budget of £7 per child. Now what the heck do I get, apart from unnecessary tat? I've got nothing within that budget that I've already bought....Anyone got any ideas?

ChickenFriedMice Tue 28-Nov-17 17:49:29

What's the consensus on Christmas trees? We had to get rid of our artificial one last year as it was badly broken and I'm wondering if a real tree year after year is more ethical than an artificial one that will be reused.

Millybingbong Tue 28-Nov-17 17:55:31

Id like a good Xmas tree answer too please. We have the devs I bought as young adult and the only additions are what the kids make.

I have started using big cloth bags for children's presents. One bag per child. Once I have used up the rest of the wrapping paper here I will do that more.

Juancornetto Wed 29-Nov-17 07:37:51

@chickenfriedmice I'd say real's preferable to fake. Apparently you need to reuse a tree for 20 years before the energy used in it's creation and transportation becomes less than the energy used to produce real trees (if that makes sense) Plus they're process of creating the plastic used more toxins than you'd use in growing trees. And then they're not biodegradable.
Monoculture's a problem but growing trees does help to absorb CO2 so it does give that benefit

ChickenFriedMice Wed 29-Nov-17 09:03:41

Real it is then, thank you! I'll be on the lookout for a potted one to hopefully reuse

Nyx1 Thu 30-Nov-17 10:36:54

my parents have had their artificial tree for 30+ years

I'd say fake is definitely better than real as the energy used and the waste of a real tree every year is massive.

But I don't see why it would be hard to keep using the same fake tree

in my house, there's no tree. There's a few ancient decorations - from my mum and dad's house - and that's it.

I was very emphatic and blunt about "no plastic tat" for the DC for a few years and people got the message mostly, with a couple of excpetions. This year, I sat those people down, in summer, and explained how frustrating it was to keep getting the plastic tat and I really hope we won't see any this year.

that said, I also now have a rule of only doing presents for incredibly close ones, and only consumables. Saying "we don't give gifts" is the quickest way to not receive any grin

Nyx1 Thu 30-Nov-17 10:37:44

biffy - books?

Biffybiffster Thu 30-Nov-17 19:35:06

Nyx1 I have decided to give books, they may be be miffed that they don't have the plastic tat of their friends but I know the books will be well read and much appreciated. I might stick some chocolate in the present too. Can't go wrong with chocolate

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