Looking for the perfect career to work around your family? Read More
A sustainable Christmas… with kids!
If like me, you begin to feel a little panic rise in the back of your throat this time of year at the mere thought of all the obscenely large, shiny, new plastic items that are about to find their way into your house in the form of Christmas presents from well-meaning family members (who, let’s face it, are silently competing to win ‘Best Present’ prize from your children), then keep reading.
I am on a mission to restore calm, peace and (head)space this Christmas, and in the process help reduce our plastic waste.
Whether you simply don’t have the space to store a million new gifts, don’t fancy your children becoming overwhelmed by too many gifts, or have recently watched ‘A Plastic Ocean’ and feel genuinely concerned about the fate of our planet and your children’s future within it, then our missions are all the same – to make Christmas more sustainable, whilst maintaining the magic for all.
How can we achieve a sustainable Christmas?
Fairly easily, actually! I’m going to list some ideas below on how to make your Christmas more sustainable and less plastic-present-filled.
Try making one change this Christmas and add another each year. And if you feel guilty – as though you’re ruining Christmas for your children – then simply think back to your own childhood for a moment… What are your favourite Christmas memories? The smell of gingerbread? The taste of warm mince pies? Singing Christmas songs? Looking for the best Christmas lights? Visiting Santa? Cosying up watching Christmas movies? Or all the plastic presents you received? I bet I can guess which memories stand out the most.
Request items that your children actually need
New clothes/vest/pyjamas. Ask for larger sizes so they last you the year ahead too. Remember your little ones will love ripping open their presents and will often hardly stop to check what is inside.
Buy pre-loved toys
If you’re not already familiar with Vinted, Facebook Marketplace and eBay then you really are missing a trick. You can find almost anything your children might like on second-hand sites or in good old fashioned charity shops. Go plastic-crazy, guilt free. This option saves so much money too.
Vouchers and experiences are fantastic
Request vouchers for your favourite shops. This way you get to choose the things you’d love for your little one, without ending up with two sets of the same Lego!
In a similar vein, gifts of experience are so worthwhile. This could be a term of baby classes (e.g. Basking Babies vouchers!), swimming or music lessons. Maybe a visit to Santa in the run-up to Christmas. A trip to the cinema or a theme park for older children. This gives you all lots to look forward to for the coming year, too.
The gift of time
Such a simple but welcome gift. Perhaps Aunty Becky will look after your little one for one whole morning and take him to his favourite waffle shop for breakfast. Added bonus – you get some time off!
You could request money to start off your child’s savings account, or to buy them things as and when they need them over the year.
If all your friends have recently had children, and your Christmas gift-list has suddenly expanded 100-fold, suggest a Secret Santa style get-together and set a price limit per gift. Organise a gathering in the lead up to Christmas and bring as many presents as you have children. Each child gets to pick one pressie from a big sack and unwrap it for themselves.
As for the adults, secret Santa takes ALL the stress out of Christmas-present-buying. Who wants 15 token gifts when you could have one amazing (more expensive) one?
Other ideas for the grownups
If your friends/family don’t like the idea of Secret Santa gifting, then stick to food, drink, voucher or experience gifts for adults. Stuff that will actually get used rather than recycled as another present or worse still – thrown in the bin.
We hope these ideas help lead you towards a more sustainable and spacious Christmas. However you spend yours, we wish you a very merry time!
About the author
Franchise owner and instructor for Basking Babies Chelmsford.