Sustainable Gift: 5 Eco-Friendly Tips to Celebrate Christmas and New Years

We always celebrate New Years a little differently here in Australia. Instead of a puffer jacket, roasted chestnut and mulled wine, we wear shorts and thongs and have a barbecue instead.

That said, this Christmas is set to look even a little more different than usual. We will still have a fun (and safe) celebration, but potentially with some adjustments around the number of people we can have over and other COVID-safe measures. If you are also thinking of the amount of waste you will be contributing to this holiday season, look no further than our guide to celebrating Christmas and end-of-year holiday season this year!

1. Use waste-free decorations

Instead of purchasing more Christmas and New Years decorations, get those Christmas socks and wall decors of yesteryear. Have your house holiday season-ready by putting up your Christmas tree early and every time you go for a walk or a bike ride, you can choose to pick up those pine cones to hang on your tree at home. Get the whole family together to paint those cones and craft even more eco-friendly DIY decoration pieces. Ultimately, the holiday season is all about spending time with the people who you would love to be with.

2. Get creative with Kris Kringle

Buying new kris kringle presents every time adds up. Depending on how many circles of family, colleagues and friends you are having a holiday get-together with, you will need to think of gift ideas for as many times. We have seen so many Christmas presents being exchanged that do not get to see much beyond the very party day/evening. Not to mention whatever the limit of value is for the presents, you can only get your money worth so much buying new items.

To reduce waste, you could opt to add a more sustainable tradition to your kris kringle this year: Everyone can only gift stuff that you already have at home and are not using. Chances are, we have lots of stuff that we rarely use but others might enjoy better. Like that waffle maker that you’ve used twice—your foodie friend will probably make better use of it!

If your circle is not up for the challenge, you can opt to buy thrifted gifts from an op shop near you. Sometimes overlooked, op shops such as Salvos or Vinnies are an excellent place to get your kris kringle gifts, because not only do they offer things that are unique in great variety, but also you would generally get much more bang for your buck by thrifting from op shops. That way, you are being kinder to the earth and your wallet, by saving another item from the landfill. On top of everything else, you will be doing a small bit to being good this Christmas, as these charities will help you channel some of your spend into people and families who are less fortunate.

3. Buy secondhand Christmas clothes

It’s no secret that Christmas clothes are some of the least worn outfits out there. Unless you have many Christmas parties in a year (or just simply love wearing red and green), Christmas-themed clothes are often only worn once or twice a year. It’d be difficult to complete the #30wearschallenge with them. 

This is why thrift shopping is the way to go for Christmas outfits! Online thrift stores like SwapUp offer great online collections that you can go thrift shopping from the comfort of your own couch these days. 

Buying second hand offers even more value when shopping for your children. Your little ones will likely only wear the outfit once or twice because they’ll probably outgrow them by Christmas next year! You can also check out shops such as *ahem* SwapUp for preloved baby and kids clothing. We have prepared a Christmas collection so your kids can rock up to parties in full holiday vibes. We chose to think simple. The collection features a Santa hatChristmas tree romper and Rudolph tee, but also a massive collection of items in red and green. Top tip: By buying red and green clothes, the children can wear them all year round (at least until they become too small). Minnie Rudolph, anyone?

4. Buy just enough local produce

Another opportunity to reduce waste comes from the food department. Did you know that 90% of Aussies usually discard over 25% of their food during the festive period? </3

To reduce this, consider spending a little extra time planning the meals. If you have a potluck gathering of 10 people, maybe coordinate how much food each person should bring so you don’t end up throwing the leftover. If possible, choose meals that can be frozen in case you can't finish them within the few days of festivities. 

Get extra bonus points by cooking meals using local produce which are typically harvested during the holiday season in Australia, for example mangoes, avocados and bananas in Queensland or plums and peaches in NSW. You will feel more connected with your community and cut down on our carbon footprint at the same time! So a little extra guacamole dips made out of Queensland avos would not hurt the environment so much, we’d say!

Speaking of local-made products, some of you may be thinking about beverages already. You could definitely also check out the local markets in your area and see if a local seller offers home-made apple ciders, ginger beers or kombucha. And don’t forget to send us a photo of your kids at the local market if you get a chance. We’d love to waive hello 🙋‍♂️

5. Host a party on Zoom

Some of us may like to spend this precious time close with our loved ones, but due to one reason or another may not be able to this year. COVID has ruined many plans in 2021 but don't let it stop you from having a memorable Christmas!

You can have everyone call in via Zoom, wearing your best DIY costume and enjoy homemade holiday-themed treats and beverages. Play quiz, family trivia or online board games as you normally would in person, and share recipes or movie playlist to swap notes on the next time you catch up.

Looking for even more inspirations? Check out other great resources online such as Sustainable Families' tips for a low-waste Christmas! We all have the power to reduce waste and we're here to help you do just that xo

How do you plan to stay green this Christmas and New Years holiday season? Share your ideas with us in the comments below 🙏

The original content was previously published on Junico Kids, the baby and kids version of SwapUp. Junico Kids have now been fully consolidated into SwapUp.

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