How to Master Sustainable Gift Giving This Christmas

This photo shows branches of a christmas tree draped with fairy lights with Exeter Cathedral as the backdrop

Christmas is just around the corner and you might be starting to think about buying gifts. Each year I try and shop sustainably and most of the time I end up not doing so well at it but this year I am determined to do better. 

I want to share with you some tips I am trying out in order to give more sustainably this festive season.

1. "What's on Your Christmas List?"
This year I've gone a bit brutal and I'm working on a policy of "if you don't tell me what you want, you're not going to get much". Gone are the days of trying to think of gift ideas and scrambling around to make sure I've bought people enough gifts. Personally, I'd much rather buy my loved ones things they actually want or need to avoid giving them random stuff that will get thrown into the cupboard and never see the light of day. 

I started early this year and in around October, I started asking people to make lists of things they wanted for Christmas to ensure their gifts will be used and loved and not be a waste. This also helps to avoid that guilt we all feel way to often during the holiday season - you know the guilty feeling you get when you can tell someone really thought you'd love that gift but, unfortunately, you just dont?

2. Preparation is key!
Being prepared for Christmas certainly helps when it comes to sustainable gift giving. It's best to try and make a plan in advance so you know what to buy, where to buy it from and when to buy it. No more panic buying from Amazon the week before the 25th!

3. Shop Small
This year, I'm trying my hardest to buy all of my gifts from small, independent companies. Once people have told me what they want for Christmas, I head straight to Etsy to find these gifts. Alternatively, heading down to the local Christmas market or finding some small independent gems on the high-street will allow you to avoid spending your money with the big companies.

If you're feeling a bit stuck, I find the Not on Amazon Facebook page really helpful. It's simply a Facebook page where people share their small and often handmade businesses to help you avoid those big nasty corporations.
This photo shows a christmas tree draped with fairy lights with Exeter Cathedral as the backdrop

4. Avoid the temptation to buy tat.
Where there is Christmas, there is much tat. Christmas is an opportunity for companies to sell random stuff by calling it a stocking filler. I can guarantee you, your partner probably doesn't want a wallet ninja or another deodorant gift set. These Christmas gift sets often seem like a good idea but usually they are just overpriced tat. If you find yourself drawn to something, think to yourself - "could I spend this money on a gift that's just as nice but from an independent brand?" and 9 times out 10, the answer is usually yes.

5. Shop Secondhand.
There's no reason you need to shop new for Christmas gifts. This holiday is supposed to be about giving so why not try and pick up some gifts in your local charity shop - this way your money goes towards a good cause. Books are a particularly great thing to buy secondhand! Check out my guide on the Best Places to Shop Secondhand online for inspiration!

With all this being said, Christmas can be a difficult and stressful time and sometimes shopping 100% sustainably might not be achievable. However, I think if we're able to, we should try our best to adapt sustainable shopping habits this festive season.

What are your sustainable gift giving tips?



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