A Guide to Thinking & Gifting Green This Holiday Season

The holiday season is always a joyous time, we’re all excited to get together with our loved ones, celebrate, and end the year on a good note.

And so, as we all prepare ourselves to bask in that joy, we wanted to talk a little bit about how to keep your green heart close so that we don’t forget our conscious values around this time. As wonderful a time as it is, there are a lot of ways in which this season can be damaging to our environment and it all lies in how we approach our celebrations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind and some suggestions.

Some facts and how we can do better

As much as we love the many things this season brings, it is also usually a time of excess. From food to decorations, the increase in unnecessary waste rises around this time in many parts of the world where celebrations become daily occurrences.

  1. The problem: food waste.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, discarded food increases by more that 35% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In a UK study, it was found that the nation ate 80% more food within this season than during the rest of the year, however, approx. 230,000 tonnes is thrown away anyway.

Sources: https://commercialwaste.trade/the-true-cost-of-christmas/ ;https://www.swtimes.com/story/news/2021/12/15/food-waste-during-holidays-impacts-more-than-just-your-wallet/6423511001/ 

A solution: The simplest way to solve this is to be more aware of how much food you’re preparing and for how many people. Plan ahead, don’t needlessly leave food on your counter to rot away, and instead store it in your freezer for later.

  1. The problem: how we wrap gifts.

In a Canadian study, it was found that about 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper ends up in landfills annually. In the UK, it’s estimated that about 365,000 kilometers of unrecyclable wrapping paper is wasted - “enough to wrap around the equator nine times”.

Sources: https://theconversation.com/how-to-make-holiday-gift-giving-eco-friendly-and-more-meaningful-128387 ;https://www.politico.eu/article/how-christmas-is-ruining-the-planet/ 

A solution: Instead of using single-use materials, upcycle! Fabric would make a great alternative and can possibly be utilized again, or re-use other paper materials already in your home like old newspapers or magazines. Additionally, look into purchasing wrapping paper that’s recyclable or biodegradable as a lot of them are not - 100% paper would be a much more conscious option.

  1. The problem: buying new clothes

Many all over the world are tempted to buy whole new outfits each year to mark end of year celebrations. In the UK, it was found that about “£2.4bn [is spent] on new outfits for the Christmas party season this year – yet many items may be worn fewer than three times…

After shelling out an average of £73.90 per person on partywear for the festive period, one in five people admit they won’t wear the same outfit to more than one party or event, according to the study from environmental charity Hubbub.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/dec/16/uk-will-spend-24bn-on-christmas-clothes-that-barely-get-worn-hubbub-survey 

A solution: Look to the closet you already have. An effective conscious closet will already contain garments that you can wear to celebrate the season - try out mixing and matching them to create a completely fresh look. If you still are tempted to buy something new, look into buying something that would compliment what you already own; for example, a patterned jacket to match a dress you have in your closet; or try to find something that you think you would wear for many other occasions to increase its longevity.

What’s also important to note is that, due to all of these issues combined i.e. the process to create gift wrapping, transport excess tonnes of food and clothing to meet demand, it is inevitable that an excess amount of carbon emissions are created during this time, one US study estimated “each person produces an additional 0.64 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the holiday season.” 

All in all, a little bit of awareness and thought when it comes to all these aspects can do a lot of green good.

What to keep in mind when choosing a (conscious) gift

Moving on to gifting. The holidays are a way to share the love with those around you and giving gifts are, of course, one great way to do so. To make sure you’re doing it consciously, here are 3 key things to keep in mind:

    • Will it have longevity? Our first important and simple tip is to gift with heart and thought. Ask ‘what are my loved ones’ interests? What can I see them using or enjoying again and again?’. By taking this into account with whatever you buy, you’re sure to give them something that will last and not needlessly wasted once the novelty of something new has worn off.
    • Do your research! With whatever you buy, find out more about the brand you’re investing in and look for green values. A little bit of transparency such as sharing how sustainably a product is made step by step shows that honesty and ethical practice are a part of their core values. 
    • Do you know who made or crafted the product? Another way a brand shows their green heart is by highlighting their workforce. By specifically buying from them, this ensures that you are able to empower artisans/workers and better systems that can hopefully grow with your support.

And finally, on to some recommendations.

Some picks for your loved ones (or you!)

Finally, here are a few picks we think would make great gifts for the season:

  1. For those who are always on the go: utility pouch.

[Under The Sea & The Marigold pouches.]

These pieces are a perfect handy item to keep with you as you go about your day. They are upcycled using some of our signature fabrics and contain multiple pockets for all your little essentials.

  1. For those who love to add a little flair to their outfits: hair scrunchies.

[Sea Garden & Lily Love scrunchies.]

Need a little pop of colour to add to an outfit? Our scrunchies are made by hand and crafted in herbal-dyed, tie-dyed and block printed recycled fabrics.

  1. For those who need an easy go-to look for you everyday errands: our Bloom dress silhouettes.

[Holiday Bloom & Coral Bloom dresses.]

A community favourite (as well as ours), this silhouette is one of our comfiest that keeps you light on your feet whether you’re staying in or going out.

  1. For those who want to be as cozy as possible this season: The Holiday co-ord look.

[The Holiday kaftan & trousers.]

This co-ord is an outfit you can relax in wherever you go as well as mix and match endlessly to create fresh looks.

  1. For those who are looking for something to celebrate in: our statement dress.

[Sundown dress & The Purple Reef dress.]

Celebrate all your special moments in something made with a green heart. These pieces are created using some of our favourite slow craft methods by artisans.

There’s so much to celebrate this season and we hope this inspired you to do so consciously. We wish you all a wonderful time during the holidays, stay green!

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