ARE you planning to be a Secret Santa for colleagues or family? Or confused about what Christmas present to get for who?  

As merry as the season can be, the thought of buying appropriate gifts for everyone can be stressful.  Here are five eco-friendly gift ideas that are not only easy on your pocket but would also send out a message to your buddy/ family to keep the sustainable movement going… so do give it a try!

Support artisans

Gifting local, eco-friendly handcrafted apparels and jewellery helps sustain the livelihood of the rural artisans – and their art. There are plenty of platforms that have made traditional  artisans’ handicrafts available worldwide –  from earrings, chains, handlooms and toys there is a whole range of gift options.

Go green 

Plants are always a good idea, keeping in mind that it is a small contribution to combating climate change. Also plants, unlike many other presents, can last for a long time, so this is your chance to give a sustainable present and be remembered as Santa.  

Bamboo v. plastic

This is a product that can help one break free from contributing to toxic waste – replacing plastic hardware with biodegradable products. Check out these bamboo speakers that amplify the sound from your phone itself without a plugin. It is super handy and cost friendly too. 

Bags of goodness

Handmade bags are a safe bet. They will always be used and reused and currently cloth and jute bags come in various colours and designs from which to make a choice. Also finding the right place to purchase will enable the livelihoods of local artisans.

Be Santa on Small Change

You can choose to be Santa this Christmas by actually gifting anything ranging from a picture storybook for an underprivileged toddler, to sweater to for an elderly widow living below the poverty line or even treatment and care for injured stray animals . You can choose a wish that you want to fulfil on Small Change’s virtual Xmas tree and further gift your donation to a family/friend for Christmas. Or you can start your own fundraiser encouraging your friends and family to also be someone’s Santa this year.

To wrap it up, flashy gift paper uses a lot of plastic – really not required just for aesthetic purposes! Here are a few ideas for a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to still have fancy looking gifts. You can use newspapers, old pages from books or brown bags to wrap and paint with some watercolour for a personal touch. Another great alternative can be old clothes. You can be creative with any material – chiffon, georgette, satin, silk, cotton…to create a bundle of joy.

Go on, be creative and sustainable this Christmas – both your present and message will stand out 🙂

-by Ashika Jaffar

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