Christmas is approaching fast and a growing number of people want to share this special season in a cheaper and more sustainable way. If the sheer volume of plastic on show in the shops makes you want to cry then looking to sustainable Christmas gifts is a good way do your bit (and get kids to appreciate other stuff other than crappy plastic tat).
Some people are going one step further and attempting to have a regenerative festive season..
So what’s the difference?
Sustainable gift ideas vs regenerative gift ideas
You will have seen the fact that many businesses are sustainable. Being sustainable means maintaining the same level and not adding or removing anything from the production cycle.
In a shopping sense, sustainable tends to refer to the use of environmentally responsible production processes and materials. However, quite how sustainable these sustainable processes are is open to debate.
Regeneration (the newer buzzword on the block) goes one step further and seeks to improve, give back or enhance the natural world we live in through any action we take. And that includes our shopping decisions, from shops with great shopfronts they can get from sites like www.aluminium-shopfronts.co.uk.
What if you could give gifts that not only do not add to the current climate and ecological problems but actually could be of benefit in repairing them?
Attempting a regenerative or sustainable Christmas will test our creativity at the best of times – it’s not easy to get away from single use plastic, products that have been mass produced in unethical ways or shipped all over the globe – but don’t worry – we’re here to help take the pressure off with some inspiring ideas…
Regenerative Gift Ideas
For anyone who has an extremely eco conscious child, niece, nephew or grandchild these gift ideas offer them (and possibly you) ways to become guardians of the natural world or take part in closed loop systems. This means no waste whatsoever AND learning practices that restore or enhance our living planet for future generations.
Online toy swap subscription or toy library membership
- Whirli.com is probably the best online toy swap site in the UK and there are many local toy libraries (almost certainly with varying quality)
Rather than constantly buying new toys that the kids soon get bored with, why not join a toy library or online toy swap where you can exchange or rent toys for as long as your kids like them, then hand them back. With whirli.com you can build up points when you send them any toys that your kids have finished with or, pay a reasonable one off price and keep the rented toys forever if your kids really love them.
- Conserving nature on camera with Film Nature
Do you know a budding young wildlife enthusiast who’s also always attached to their phone? Put their tech habit to good use with one on one wildlife photography days. A great way to learn about, appreciate and share the wonders of wildlife.
- Vouchers for you local Forest School
Rapidly becoming popular in the U.K, current research shows that Forest School has huge benefits for children and adults, creating a sense of well-being and health.
Students can enjoy activities like bush craft, making environmental art, mini beast hunts, den building, learning the art of fire, using real tools, games, team building and confidence building. They can also learn about looking after the natural world and all of the animals and plants in their local environment
- Tree planting days with Reforrest Brittain
As well as fussing over where to put the rented Christmas tree, it’s also the best time of the year to be planting trees. Reforest Britain lists all the major tree planting projects across the UK with experiences ranging from dedicating a tree in a loved one’s name, to a more personal tree planting ceremony.
With forest cover standing at just 13%, the feel good factor from boosting England’s depleting canopy is one that will last long after the last mince pie has been eaten.
- Summer camp experiences
Originating in the USA, summer camp has been rising in popularity in the UK since the 1980’s. It gives kids a chance for some independence and immersion in a subject or activity that they love.
Home and garden
- Winter seed mixtures
Encourage outdoor time in winter and keep the delicious, organic garden veggies flowing all year around with a winter vegetable growing seed kit grow a winter crop with your green fingered little one’s and enjoy time together
Sustainable Gift Ideas
Regeneration is a great goal but many kids still really want to wake up and open presents on Christmas Day, so how can we do this in the kindest way possible to nature?
The art of shopping sustainably is to aim for at least one (preferably all) of the following: zero waste (and no single use plastics), buy local when possible, look for refurbished and upcycled goods, if buying wooden toys and gifts check where the wood has come from (e.g. not from rainforests), look for sellers that you know create fair conditions for workers and treat the planet respectfully. Here are some of our top pics to inspire your Christmas shopping…
- Musical instruments (especially sustainable wooden, recycled or refurbished instruments)
Nurturing creativity in young people is a sustainable practice in itself and luckily for us there are plenty of ways to shop for instruments made ethically and from materials that do not harm the environment.
- Craft kits (natural) and eco friendly art supplies
There is heaps on the market to choose from, with companies now using more and more imaginative ways to inspire kids creativity using products that do no harm to the environment.
Sports and hobbies
- Vintage and reissued skateboards, eco scooters and bike exchanges
For the kids that love freewheeling or hitting the skate park, vintage and reissue skateboards are super cool and eco conscious. Ebay have some great options for lower budgets and it’s always worth checking your local freecycle groups and facebook marketplace for the odd bargain, or for a more complete selection check out Vandem Longboard Shop,
Refurbished or vintage play
- Upcycled/refurbished toy sets
Don’t forget to see what the world of Etsy has in store in terms of sustainable options. We’re particularly impressed with their growing range of upcycled and recycled toy sets this year.
- Refurbished electronics (phones/consols)
If you’re kids are tech savvy and nothing else will do for their gift needs but you’d like to save money and take care of the planet, there are tons of options for refurbished electronics. Stores like CEX or Revival Games in Plymouth are a great place to pick up some classic games consoles and maybe even spark your vintage games flashback.
- Retro Games
Sometimes the oldies are the goodies and how fun to bring a bit of nostalgia to the festive season with some retro games. Think locally made puzzles, bat and ball games and hula hoops. Places like Totnes and Tavistock are great places to go Christmas shopping and find sustsainable Christmas gifts. And if you don’t have the option to buy locally then Ebay or Etsy (again) can be a never ending source of useful shopping options.
- Retro electronics
If your kids are a little older then getting them into some hobbies such as photography or computer programming can be a great way to excite their imaginations at Christmas. The popular Raspberry Pi has been a gateway for tech savvy kids for several years now and you can get kits for super cheap prices online.
A second hand camera is also a fun and sustainable Christmas gift for kids. An old style point and shoot digital camera can be nabbed in many second hand shops for around £10-20, or take a look at Vinted or eBay. And if your kids want to make movies, get them a refurbished laptop so they can edit their footage easily.
Experiences and making memories
And of course if you’d rather make memories as a family than fill up the house with yet more stuff then our list of inspiring ideas can help you and save you time whilst impacting the planet less
- Concert or theatrical show tickets
- Bowling passes
- Hot air balloon ride
- Children’s museum trip
- Zoo passes
- Petting zoo passes
- Theme park tickets
- Trampoline park day out
You don’t have to buy the kids plastic wrapped plastic (with loads of disposable plastic wrapping) for Christmas.
If you want to save money this Christmas and save the planet, consider these sustainable gift ideas for Christmas gifts.