Hi everyone, it’s that time of year again. The crazy last minute mad dash between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or as I like to call it “the month I avoid malls and shopping centers” 🙂
We’re finally past Black Friday and the whole weekend of mindless consumerism and right about now you’re probably wondering how in the world you’re going to mesh your minimalist/and or/ Zero-waste lifestyle with the holiday season. I’ll admit, it can be quite the challenge to try and mesh the most consumer driven holiday of the year with a lifestyle that isn’t so dependent on having tons of stuff…but I assure you it CAN be done…with a bit of planning and preparation, of course.
So over the next few weeks in my Christmas guide series I’m going to give you all my pointers tips and tricks to make your holidays as simple and waste-free as possible.
Let’s start with the most obvious subject…..Gifts. We’ll separate this into two parts, the first being gifts YOU buy for other people, and the second being the gifts you are likely to receive.
Gifts you buy:
As a rule, I tend to always get consumable gifts, i.e. something they can eat or use up (in other words, no tchotchkes). My two go-to gifts are 1. Candy/goodies from the bulk bins, and 2. Some sort of scrub/body wash/lotion I make my self that requires only a few ingredients (Google easy home-made salt scrubs and you’re bound to find something you’ll like).
To keep the gift minimal as well as zero-waste, I will save old glass jelly jars or mustard jars (anything you still don’t make yourself but buy in glass jars). I then wash them out, peel the labels off, and it makes for an easy and cute container to store your gift. If I’m getting something from the bulk bins I’ll usually take one or two of my own larger jars that are already tared to the store and fill them up with a couple of treats I know everyone will love. Then when I get home I separate it into the smaller jars.
Packaging: once you have the jars filled with your consumable gift, I personally like to leave the jars plain and simply set them under our tree…no muss, no fuss. But for those of you who love to wrap gifts I’d recommend either reusing newspaper that was headed for the recycling bin….or….like I like to do, save wrapping and bows/ribbons from gifts people get for my birthday, etc. and simply reuse them.
More gift ideas…
~Experience gift like concert tickets, movie tickets, etc.
~Put together a Zero-Waste starter kit with extra jars, bamboo toothbrush, etc. you have lying around the house.
~Hot chocolate mix in a jar- just need some cocoa, maybe mini marshmallows….you get the idea 🙂
~Really, any sort of mix in a jar.
~Home-made goodies of any kind
When in doubt about a gift….cash is always acceptable…at least for me it is lol
Gifts they buy for you:
The simplest way to avoid unnecessary packaging/junk you don’t want in your home is to ask for something specific ahead of time. It could be something tangible that you need/want or you could ask family and friends to donate to your favorite charity.
For some family members I can tell them not to get me anything and they’ll totally understand and not get me anything. But if your family is anything like mine, there are always a few people who are determined to give gifts, legitimate hold them in your hand and unwrap them sort of gifts….the type of family member who isn’t swayed by anything you say about not needing anything, blah, blah blah. You could get pissy with them and fight about it, or you could circumvent it. My strategy is pretty simple… in order to avoid any item I might mot like/use, I ask for a specific budget-friendly gift from that person/people.
For example, for my birthday I specifically requested socks….yep, you read that right, SOCKS. My ten year old self would pout at a gift like that, but my adult self loved not having to buy my own socks. And for Christmas I have asked for an adult coloring book, because coloring is relaxing, and the book will be made of paper, and they don’t have any extra packaging to them except whatever my relative wraps it in. (which I will take and reuse to wrap a future gift…I might even use the colored pages to wrap future gifts when I’m finished with them 😉 )
Side-note: for those of you with kids, the holidays can be tough. But you can always make a specific list for people to choose from, or even open a college savings account for each kid that people can gift to, or even ask for experience gifts (like a trip to the zoo) in lieu of a physical toy 🙂
So overall, it’s pretty simple with a bit of planning. The only thing you have to do ahead of time is scoop out a few eco-friendly, package -free gift options beforehand and be ready when you get asked what you want for Christmas. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have this….
Hope you liked part 1 of my Christmas Guide series. Stayed tuned for part 2: Christmas Cards
What kinds of gifts do you give for Christmas? Do you reuse wrapping and bags? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!