How to have a green Christmas, from green gifts to alternatives to wrapping paper

The average UK shopper is expected to spend nearly £ 80 on lasting gifts this year, according to an American Express study. When asked why, a third said they feel better about themselves giving in a sustainable way, while half said they think it is the right thing to do for the planet. A third of shoppers said they think there is a better selection of second-hand and durable gifts this year.

The most popular durable gifts were items purchased from ethical brands, although a quarter of Christmas gifts also planned to buy from second-hand or vintage stores. Manhattan Associates, a supply chain consultancy, said post-pandemic environmental concerns and fears of shortages had also fueled the trend.

His research also found that more than three-quarters of Britons will buy from small independent retailers this year. Pre-loved online shopping sites like Etsy, Depop and Vinted seem likely to benefit from the trend, he added.

Craig Summers, UK Managing Director of Manhattan Associates, said: “The value of independent retailers has been highlighted throughout the pandemic and it is positive to see that consumers intend to continue using them in the Christmas countdown. “

The British Heart Foundation, which has 712 stores across the UK, is urging more shoppers to consider buying pre-loved and second-hand Christmas gifts. Its retail manager, Allison Swaine-Hughes, explained that the association also sells its donations online through Depop and eBay.

Ms. Swaine-Hughes noted that sustainable giving works both ways. “Remember, if you have a garage sale ready to make room for your child’s new toys, then consider donating your products to BHF, so we can bring joy to a new one. owner.”

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“People are willing to spend second hand money”

Anita Lo, 28, lives in Cheshire and runs the vintage clothing site Clara’s Box

Anita Lo, 28, lives in Cheshire and runs the vintage clothing site Clara’s Box

“I love vintage clothes, it’s a hobby and a passion for me. I used to put my purchases on Instagram and share them with followers. Then people kept asking if they could buy them, which became my idea for Clara’s Box.

“I now run my vintage shop around my other job. I had my clothes bought by Hollywood stylists, but noticed a lot of people asking me to wrap the items for Christmas gifts.

“I tend to collect items made between 1910 and 1940. The quality is amazing, because so much was handmade back then.

“Saying that, my best seller was a 1970s Chanel suit which was very rare. I sold it for over 1000 €.

“Most of my stuff isn’t that much. I also sell vintage items such as books and rare items. I just sold a pair of antique scissors and a 1930s Japanese bag, both bought as Christmas gifts and both from vendors who spent a lot of time looking for them.

The rise of second-hand gifts

Faith Archer, money blogger at Much More With Less, dismisses the social taboo surrounding giving second-hand items as gifts. She said: “Young kids won’t mind if you found a large box of Lego, Playmobil or Skylander figures through the Facebook Marketplace or bought a balance bike from Gumtree. All this also avoids adding to the landfill.

They don’t have to be used either. Ms. Archer points out that she found new embroidery kits and Folio Society books at charity stores that made perfect gifts.

“When we bought our kids their first cell phones as birthday gifts, we also switched to reconditioned Music Magpie handsets,” she says. “It meant we could give them better quality handsets, but with less worry about the cost if they were lost or damaged.

“For lasting gifts, I like to offer consumables such as food and toiletries, reusable items like refillable water bottles and beeswax wraps, or experiences, such as tickets. theater or a cocktail-making class.

“As budget options, I offer homemade gifts, such as cranberry sauce in decorated glass jars, colorful printed cotton shopping bags, and lavender bags that double as Christmas decorations.”

Be a festive green: how to offer sustainably

Give yourself time

“Start looking for gifts early so you have enough time to find this unique gem,” advises Milda Mitkuke, founder of Vinted. “It’s never too early to start looking for a good deal, so you won’t have to wait for end-of-year sales in stores.

Request wishlists

Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones if they have any special wishes, as that means your gift is less likely to end up in the landfill. “That way you avoid giving gifts that will never be used. You can also create a list and save the ideas you have throughout the year so you don’t forget them until the last minute. It also works the other way around. Let your loved ones know that this year you only want to receive second-hand gifts, ”says Ms. Mitkuke.

Don’t forget the packaging

Over 300,000 tonnes of cardboard were used in UK households during the holiday season last year – enough to pack Big Ben nearly 260,000 times, according to a WRAP study. Ms. Mitkuke says: “This year, reconsider the use of classic gift wrap and look for alternative items that can be reused or recycled. You’ll be surprised at what you might find if you declutter, like an old magazine or a discarded linen twine you bought for decoration. Ms. Mitkuke also recommends fabric scraps, tea towels and silk scarves as alternative wrapping paper. “Just tie them up with twine or recycled twine (no plastic tape is needed). In addition, the recipient can keep the material as a bonus gift.


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