Week 3: Great Gifts – Less Rubbish
Starting 29 November
It’s week 3 and from no shopping 2 weeks ago to a shoppers paradise!
There’s less than a month left to get your gifts together before Christmas! Retailers are currently gearing up for the annual rush to their checkouts – in-store and online – which is expected to be in the week beginning 1st December.
A lot of us will use one of our last paycheques for the year to purchase the bulk of our gifts but increasingly, a lot of us are also taking on debt to finance our christmas spending habits. Figures from a YouGov poll suggest that the average household will spend almost £600 on gifts this Christmas, a survey by HSBC suggests we’ll be spending around 7% less this year and 21% will borrow money for the purchases.
Do we really need to spend that much to give great presents that everyone will love? We don’t think so which is why we’re encouraging you to become a Thrifty Gift giver – being ‘thrifty’ simply means spending your money on quality, considering how you buy and re-using items to reduce the quantity of wrappings that will be thrown away after presents from you are opened.
None of us wants to be part of the £2.4 billion spent on unwanted presents so we’ve got a few thrifty gift ideas (596 downloads) that you could be getting people for Christmas (or asking for yourself!).
To re-gift or not to re-gift, that is the question?
A bit of a controversial one. Is it ok to give away a present you’ve been given? Everyone receives something for Christmas that they don’t want – you could already have one, it might not fit or it’s just not your style. You could keep the present in a cupboard and bring it out every time Aunty Ann visits to show her how much you like it or you could give it to someone else who will really appreciate it. Only you can decide whether to store or give to someone else, and you may find that it’s ok to pass on gifts from some family members but not others.
With rubbish we tend to say that prevention is the best thing to do. This applies to gift giving too, there’s no need to re-gift if you love everything you opened so make an effort to write a list and let people know what you want. Your list can include experiences and gifts of skills so you don’t have to worry about the packaging either.
Is the box important?
We are talking about Love Christmas Hate Waste so we’re quite conscious of packaging – one of the first things we all tend to notice about items that are specifically made to become gifts is that there is quite a lot of shiny and sparkly packaging around them. We don’t want to point fingers so we’re only going to give a general example. Imagine a toiletries gift pack, it’ll usually have an attractive (hopefully re-usable) box, plastic moulded to the shape of the bottles/jars/tubes, some plastic wrapped round the outside and plastic or fabric ribbon holding the plastic wrapping on.
Some of the packaging is important to help the gift reach the shop and then the person you’ve bought it for in one piece. However, it is hard to see how all the packaging is helpful, especially when you’re delivering the gift by hand. The packaging is included in the price so if you’re thinking about buying gift sets or hampers, work out how much it would cost to buy the content individually and then consider how many more items you could buy loose but then make the packaging yourself re-using items you’re likely to have at home.
It’s easy to make your own packaging though, lots of everyday items are useful for wrapping presents – start collecting them now as they can be quite expensive to buy brand new for one use!
- Padded envelopes
- Bubble wrap
- Stiff brown or white paper bags (usually from take-away coffee)
- Cardboard boxes (all shapes and sizes) including cereal boxes and shoe boxes
- Biscuit tins
- Brightly coloured foil sweet wrappers
- Foil milk bottle tops
- Coloured string and thread
- Magazines with pictures of Christmas (incl food and other things that you could give as presents)
- Gift bags you’ve been given
- Scrap paper and plain white or brown envelopes
- Used greetings cards and postcards
- Used stamps
- Empty jars with lids but the labels removed
- Off cuts of wrapping paper from other presents you’re wrapping
- Unwanted photo frames
- Old CD’s
- Fabric and felt off-cuts
Something to do this week
Unlike last week, as long as you’ve written your list you can now go out and spend your hard earned cash and your valuable time sorting out presents for the festivities that are coming closer and closer.
- Write your Santa list – If you haven’t already done this, write down whom you will be buying presents for and how much you want to spend. If you need ideas check out our green gift suggestions.
- Share a gift with us – Whilst you’re doing your shopping we’d like you to find something that you think is over-packaged or is a great idea for a present with no packaging and send us a photo.
- Keep up an action from a previous week – Choose something you didn’t get round to or continue something you already started.