(monday post this week to send this out before christmas!)
I'm not doing christmas presents this year, not because I'm the grinch but simply because I don't need anything at the moment and the people close to me don't have anything specific they want either so why use up resources! I love giving gifts but I can do that all throughout the year when someone needs something, I don't feel the need to participate simply because it's christmas.
But, coming up to christmas and on christmas day we have hearty meals with family friends and still wanted to participate in some sort of gift giving. Instead of giving individual gifts that someone may not need or like, we thought we would create a basket with unwrapped gifts that everyone could take from. All of the products in the basket are sustainable, this way people can be introduced to sustainable products they may not of looked for themselves whilst being in control of the decision to participate in something sustainable. A sustainable gift isn't being forced on them and they get to choose things they are actually interested in and want to try. This can be used for events throughout the whole year, not just for christmas (e.g. children birthday parties instead of party favours, office events, other holidays which involve gift giving etc). A bonus is whatever people don't take you keep! So, because sustainable gift giving can be hard and because I think many of you may like the idea of a present basket I thought I'd share what we've put in ours! Most of these are also great ideas for gift giving to people you don't know well if you are in that scenario.
(p.s. If you do still need to do individual gifts, say for a secret santa, I think the most sustainable options are either perishable items or experiences.)
DIY's are a great little christmas gift because you are in charge of everything so you control the packaging you use, they are also cheap and usually easy to make. Attach a little card with the recipe and if the person likes it they can continue to make it themselves! For our basket we made a few tea blends pictured above, my mum loves tea and specifically tea blends so this was her job. The tea can be bought in bulk and you can package it in reused jars (ours are yogurt jars).
Botanical Breeze Tea Blend
Best served cold (a good summer tea, although I love it hot in winter too)
Hibiscus and chamomile flowers, rosemary, dandelion root, lavender, goji berries, peppermint
I was in charge of making the multipurpose balm, it's my favourite DIY and one of my zero waste essentials (recipe here). I made three different sizes so that people can take only what they want. The tiny one is for someone who wants to use it more as a lip balm (which I do) and the other two may be for someone who follows the blog and knows I use it as a daily face moisturiser etc so wants more of the product.
I think sharing and re-gifting culture is fantastic, these are all products I was gifted by companies that I don't use so I'd rather send to someone who will! Native essentials is a fantastic high quality natural skincare brand and plant makeup is similar, both sustainable companies and all plastic free! The two bar soaps pictured below are the same, I don't need anymore bar soaps and we are leaving soon so I thought I'd pass these on. We've invited the other people joining us for christmas to bring anything they may not want or use anymore too.
The final part of the basket are store bought products. My mum has fallen in love with these soap bags since we got one for dishwashing and they are cheap so we got some from livezero along with three sqwishful sponges which I think are a great way to introduce someone to low waste cleaning. Just green also sells bamboo straw sets for cheaper than I've seen anywhere else in Hong Kong (it comes with a bag and a cleaner) so we thought these would be a good addition to the basket too.
You could also add bamboo toothbrushes, candles, produce bags (homemade would be cute and easier on the bank if you can!), homemade toothpaste, homemade deodorant, and whatever else you want! Hope this helps for any last minute gifts or for next year!