As a nation, we are ditching 100 million black bags full of packaging from gifts each Christmas. And it’s not just the packaging and wrapping – one in ten gifts get chucked as well. For the large part, all that waste is being dumped into landfill sites, releasing methane and carbon dioxide into the air, or being blown away and polluting our oceans.
Have a greener, more sustainable festive season this year by trying one of our packaging-free gift ideas.
Spend time with someone doing something you both love
What’s more precious than creating memories with the people you care about? You could buy concert tickets, or maybe dinner at your favourite restaurant. Perhaps there is a podcast you both love you can go to a recording of together, or a new exhibition that’s opening at a local museum. Christmas doesn’t need to be about things and stuff, spending time with someone is one of the most special gifts you can give.
Bonus – it’s 100% packaging and wrapping free.
Donate an experience that will empower girls
GFS empowers girls across England and Wales, arming them with the tools they need to challenge gender inequality. Donate experiences such as a football skills workshop, drumming and storytelling session, or a trip to a climbing centre to support the next generation of girls and women. The friend you are donating on behalf of will receive a card explaining how their gift is inspiring girls and you can add a personalised message (or you can opt out of the card if you want to be totally packaging free!).
Bonus – it’s a gift that gives back.
Give vouchers for your time
If you are a spreadsheet whizz or decorator extraordinaire you could use your skills to help a friend with their budget spreadsheet or repainting their front room. Even if you don’t have a particular skill you think would be useful, you could provide your time and labour for clearing the garden or doing the weekly shop. 80 percent of working adults report wishing they had more time for friends and family and 60 percent of parents report always feeling rushed. Create a voucher for a particular task or an amount of time.
Bonus – time is a gift that money can’t buy.
Make or upcycle something
Make special Christmas ornaments for your loved ones and they can think of you as they put the Christmas tree year after year. Alternatively, you could make some sweet treats such as rich chocolate truffles or festive cookies. Many people are turning away from liquid soap that comes in a plastic bottle to bar soap which is more environmentally friendly. Up your eco game and go one step further by hand making soap to give as Christmas gifts.
Bonus – you can make extra and keep some for yourself or for birthday presents throughout the year.
Gift a charity membership
Many charities offer an annual membership, which often comes with perks such as a membership badge, access to facilities or property, or an ability to have a say in the direction of the organisation at the charity’s Annual General Meeting. Find a charity that matches your friend’s interests whatever they may be. At GFS, we offer annual membership for £20.
Bonus – picking a charity close to your loved one’s heart is great for showing how well you know them.
Check out more ideas for a more compassionate and ethical Christmas including making your own crackers and the Japanese art of fabric wrapping.