Ho, ho, ho! for a green Christmas | WWF South Africa

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Ho, ho, ho! for a green Christmas

This Christmas give gifts and nature-based experience that are good for your pocket and good for the planet.

It's that time of year already with Christmas around the bend and with it, the hustle and bustle of late shoppers filling shopping centres to the rafters.

Of course, you don't have to be one of them...

Rather than emptying your pockets for overpriced and meaningless trinkets, why not choose another way.

One that's good for your pocket and good for the planet.

In the spirit of Christmas cheer, here are a range of alternatives to the conventional consumer Christmas.

So where to start?

It all begins with a list. Break it down in terms of people of importance: parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins then fan it out to include friends you want to gift.

Ideas for family
  • Christmas is for memories. Chronicle your family history by assembling photographs, letters, and important documents.
  • If you are skilled in a sport or musical instrument, give children the gift of your time by teaching them.
  • Coupons offering services such as babysitting, a home-cooked meal or a monthly lunch date.
  • Give fair-trade items like tea, coffee or chocolate.
  • Give homemade baked goods.
  • Give away one of your favourite things
  • Purchase gifts at a fair-trade shop, garage sale or thrift shop.
  • DIY products that are fun and meaningful. Here are some easy ideas.
  • If you do want to give a toy or item of clothing. Gift sustainable products like those from the WWF shop.
Ideas for friends
  • Visit craft shows for inexpensive gifts that are handmade and awesome!
  • Visit charity shops for social good. Treasures are always hidden.
  • For women and girls, a lovely vintage or second-hand outfit is a great idea.
  • Arrange among your friends to hold a Secret Santa that would invite friends to pick their own gifts from a jumble box.
 Ideas for kids
  • Sew them a baby sling for their dolls: http://lulastic.co.uk/parenting/babywearing/easy-sling-for-your-toddlers-doll/
  • A gardening toolkit with seed, soil and gloves.
  • A survival kit, complete with a torch, good rope, pegs and a tarpaulin for indoor tents.
  • A cookbook of family recipes to make with their parents.
  • A sewing machine to learn how to fix their clothes or make their own. This will come in handy for the rest of their lives!
  • Vouchers for an outdoor adventure or to visit an animal sanctuary.
  • A box of second hand clothes and costume jewellery for playtime.

Give gifts that keep on giving

There are many wonderful initiatives that can support the great work of conservation too, both showing that you care – and getting your loved ones out into the wonderful natural world.

How about an annual Botanical Society (BotSoc) card, allowing unrestricted access to the 10 incredible botanical gardens around the country, or a SANParks Wild Card providing access to national parks and provincial nature reserves? Or give the gift of nature-based experiences, a night away in nature or a visit to somewhere special to enjoy our country’s amazing outdoor opportunities.

How to make it more interesting?

  • Donation box for unwanted old items for charity which extends to canned foods
  • On Christmas Day, to cut down on the amount of food waste, why not host a potluck where everyone brings something for the table?
  • Hold a jumble exchange, everyone brings items not used anymore and everyone picks out what they want.
  • Wrap gifts in newspaper, maps, scarves or interesting clothing.

The pros and cons

So what’s the upside of a less consumer-driven Christmas? It’s cheaper, more meaningful, generates less waste and is a lot less hassle.

The downside? We have gotten so used to getting gifts that we seem to look down on more eco-friendly choices. It’s time to challenge these stereotypes and perceptions.

The festive season is about showing our thanks and love for the special people in our life. So let’s show them through action, rather than things.

If you agree, share this article with your friends and family.

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