Text: Mimmi Ljungblad
ILLUSTRATION: Ilona Chu
Concert tickets, dinner at a restaurant, or maybe even a spa day? Evening courses in things like pottery, cookery, wine tasting, or beer brewing are another great choice. Not only can the activity itself make for an excellent gift, but it can also be a fun thing to do together with a partner or friend. Many such courses also allow you to create something personal, which brings us to our next suggestion.
The Homemade Gift
Handmade gifts are criminally underappreciated, given the amount of thought and dedication that goes into them. You’re sure to know someone who will be delighted to receive some homemade kimchi, a framed photo you took, or your handmade coffee cups
The Small but Meaningful
Buy less but buy thoughtfully. Don’t give gifts just for the sake of it, but instead figure out what the recipient would truly appreciate. Investing in something of high quality reduces the risk of giving unused or unwanted presents. If you join forces with other members of your family, for example, you can give one single item with a much higher price tag.
The Decoration and Wrapping
In truth, both plastic and real Christmas trees have their advantages and disadvantages. Our advice is to either buy an organic, locally grown tree or invest in a higher quality plastic model – if you opt for the latter, make sure it is one you can keep for a long time (preferably a couple of decades) and recycle it afterwards.
We all have that one box of Christmas decorations at the back of a cupboard full of plastic baubles and miscellaneous trimmings. Avoid buying new decorations, and instead focus on natural, biodegradable alternatives. Dried fruit, gingerbread, flowers, and pinecones are just a few of the possibilities. This approach can even be applied to other decoration such as the table setting. It’s hard to go wrong with natural materials and candles.
Beautiful wrapping can be a big part of the gifting experience. But all that plastic, paper, and tape can also be seen as a bit wasteful. Our recommendation is to wrap your presents in something that can be reused. You can even repurpose boxes, newspaper, fabric, paper, string, and much more to create elegant wrapping, especially when adding a natural, personal touch in the form of pinecones and spruce twigs.
The Food and Table Setting
Skip the Disposables
Try to minimise the number of single-use items on the table. Instead of paper serviettes, for example, we suggest investing in a linen set which, as they can be washed and reused, are both a practical and elegant addition to the table setting.
Reduce Food Waste
Buying large amounts of food is almost unavoidable when planning a family gathering, though by planning your menu in the right way, you can avoid ending up with a fridge full of leftovers that nobody wants. Using smaller plates can encourage guests to take several smaller portions instead of piling their plates full.
When it comes to food, nothing beats local produce, something which also benefits local producers. Not only does this mean you know where your food comes from, but it also significantly reduces the environmental impact of your meal.