The festive season is upon us! That wonderful time of the year when everyone is starting to relax in anticipation of a much-needed break and looking forward to spending some quality time with their loved ones.
Christmas is all around, especially on TV, in supermarkets and shopping malls - encouraging consumers to buy more and more and more "in the spirit of the holidays". The tradition of gift-giving is an old one, and it definitely adds a little more excitement to Christmas, especially when you know exactly what the other person wants, and seeing their face when they unwrap your gift is just so heart-warming.
But then there is another side to our long-standing traditions. In the UK alone, consumers use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year! Add to that, 300,000 tonnes of card packaging, 500 tonnes of Christmas lights, 12,000 tonnes of Christmas Trees, and approximately £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents that are thrown out in landfill each year. And that doesn't even include all the food waste, with 7 out of 10 people admitting to buying far more food than they need over Christmas.
And if you think New Zealand is any different, I have bad news for you. Kiwis generate about 30% more rubbish during Christmas, which equates to an extra 50,000 tonnes.
So next time you rush to the shops for yet another "Secret Santa gift" or just "something small" for a person you forgot to buy a present for, do think twice and maybe use this guide to Zero Waste Gifts to help you make a difference.
Do you ever feel that buying presents have turned into more of an obligation – a hurry up and buy something – type event. Before my drastic lifestyle upgrade, I found myself making multiple trips to every nearby retail store, buying the cheapy holiday-themed gifts – you know – the house shoes that look like penguins, and slapping someone’s name on it just so I had “something” for everyone. Oh and worrying about how much money you’ve spent on someone like that had something to do with how much your love was worth? It was more stressful than enjoyable. That’s when I knew I had forgotten the meaning of gift-giving during the holidays.