T'is the season for buying gifts. But how can we make this more sustainable? What can we look for when buying presents and what should be on our Christmas lists?
It can be tricky - there are lots of people to buy gifts for, and we don't want to miss the opportunity to share some amazing finds which are just perfect for someone. But we don't want to throw our principles out of the window in December every year. So let's have a think about where to start!
At Lucy and Yak, we've spent a lot of time thinking about packaging. There are lots of downsides to paper-based packaging but when it comes to wrapping gifts what are the best options? One idea to hold onto is that this can be an opportunity to reuse. If there are small children around chances are they produce mountains of artwork that discretely head towards the recycling bin. Before they get there, grab them and use them as gift wrap. Tie them up with string or masking tape and they might even be fit for another use once the presents are opened. And there are lots of alternatives; newspaper can look cool tied with some red ribbon, old maps or unwanted posters also make a funky wrap. Or reuse the gorgeous sari bags that your Lucy and Yaks came in; they would love beautiful under the Christmas tree!
The last thing you want from the gifts you give is a whole lot of air miles. Look out for gifts that haven't travelled far. You might not expect it but your local farm shop is always worth checking out. You can find some delicious chutneys, jams, and juices, or there's nothing more special than some homemade edibles. Or homemade other things too! We had a fun Christmas one year where we all had to make our gifts for one another. There were homemade cakes, decorations, knitted hats and drawings!
Buy your gifts in an independent shop and you're not just giving to the recipient of your gift. When you buy from an independent retailer the person who made the gift will probably do a little dance when you're gone. Or even when you're still there! And the gift you buy will have been made with love and care. If you can't make it to the shops you can still use platforms like Etsy. It's a good idea to filter products by distance though – buying from overseas means a big carbon footprint.
Ethical Brands for kids
It's worth thinking carefully about what you choose for the kids in your life. There's no need to add to the mound of plastic; Babipur is a great place to look for some fabulous toys and kids' clothes but a lot of kids we know would prefer a special trip out with you, rather than another new toy. For our biggest kid, we've started giving him money towards something he needs to save up for (a phone is top of his list). It's an opportunity to help kids to understand the value of the things they have so that they learn to take care of them rather than getting into the consumer mentality of throwing things away just so they can buy more.
So what's on our list this Christmas? Here are...
..Our top 5 sustainable gifts!
1) A homemade dinner! This comes at the top of our list because we would love to receive this! The offer of someone cooking us a delicious dinner is just lovely. One that we don't have to make, plan for, prep and clean up after. Now that's worth a whole lot more than the cost of the food!
Similarly an experience or a charity donation gift means you're giving something without directly consuming something material or physical, and you'll have the memories which are priceless!
3. Lucy & Yak Dylan backpack. Raw high quality organic cotton canvas backpack in all over bright yellow to brighten up anyone’s Christmas Day (regardless of weather)! Makes the perfect travel bag, uni bag, school bag, work bag, put everything-in-it bag! And, of course, tops off any Lucy & Yak outfit perfectly.
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Accessory drop! ⚡️⚡️ Was something missing from your outfit? We've got you covered - Dylan in two new colours, crossbody pouch bags made from offcuts, woven belts in 3 colours and huuuuge yoga/weekend bags! Take a look online under 'Accessories' to see the full drop 👀
3) Reusable water bottle, or coffee cup. Useful, funky and with ongoing benefits to people and planet. Can't go wrong! And they'll think of you every time they enjoy their drink!
4) Toiletries, smellies, and candles – just what you want to fill a stocking. There's everything we could want at Know the Origin, the ethical marketplace, who we are currently hosting our London pop up with at Old Street until 21st December! As an ethical marketplace that brings together the best sustainable and transparent brands, you are able to know the origin (literally!) of every product they stock. We also sell a range of zero waste products including Primal Suds and beeswax wraps, which are great and all things you can use any time of the year!
5) A solar-powered battery charger. Small, compact and always useful!
There's so much more that could have been added to this list. Get in touch and let us know what your favourite sustainable Christmas gifts are; what are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?!