Green Living

Here’s how to do eco-friendly Christmas gift giving this December

Christmas can be a wasteful time of the year, but these ideas for gifts and some sustainable shopping tips will help you achieve eco-friendly Christmas gift-giving this year

Eco-friendly Christmas gift

Here’s how to do eco-friendly Christmas gift giving this December

When shopping:

Simplify the season. Buy fewer presents and less food, and opt to travel as little as possible. Slow down and make the most of the family moments instead.

Don’t forget to take your eco bags when you go shopping for presents, food and other supplies!

Choose gifts, decorations and groceries with minimal packaging, or opt for those in recyclable or compostable packaging.

Say no to palm oil, or choose products made with sustainable palm oil. Check the ingredients in shop-bought mince pies, pastry and chocolates, as well as any skincare or body products you are gifting. A lot of these contain palm oil, the farming of which leads to deforestation and loss of habitat for animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers.

Plan ahead and only buy what you need for your Christmas meal so less food is wasted.

Shop local and seasonal to minimise your carbon footprint.

Eco-friendly Christmas gift


Is your family doing secret Santa? Suggest that everything gifted is either secondhand, homemade or eco-friendly in some way.

Consider whether the presents you’re buying, or asking for, are ethically made. Trade Aid has a number of gift options, plus decorations, gift wrap and cards, or you can hunt out Fairtrade-certified or other ethically produced presents.

Buying clothes as a gift? Use the Good On You app to see what rating brands have earned for their labour policies, animal welfare and environmental impact, and adjust your shopping list accordingly.

Homemade gifts are the most meaningful and often the most sustainable. Some home baking, knitting or a DIY voucher (promising babysitting or gardening services, a fun day out or a home spa treatment for example) will always be well received.

Purchase presents from charities, or give a donation on someone’s behalf (many charities have gift catalogues to choose from, with items such as mosquito nets, schoolbooks and chickens). You could also donate any unwanted gifts to charity.

Give practical presents to those starting out on their sustainability journey. An eco-friendly lunch box, reusable straws or food wrap, or even a bokashi bin are useful gifts that will help minimise waste throughout the year.

Rather than disposable gifts pick ones that will last the distance.

For an eco and charitable alternative, purchase gifts and decorations from op-shops.

Grow your own flowers and food to give as gifts, to feast on, and to decorate your Christmas table with.

Eco-friendly Christmas gift


Reuse paper and ribbons or use cloth bags for wrapping. If you are buying new, opt for recycled and recyclable paper, or use natural string or raffia.

Send digital Christmas cards or make your own from recycled paper or last year’s cards – simply cut the front off and write on the back like a postcard.

Words by: Fiona Ralph.

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