Little Green Idea: Christmas Shouldn’t Cost the Earth
By Susan Filan, Head of Environmental Education and Senior School Science Teacher
Christmas is a time of contradictions. We celebrate Jesus' humble birth by splashing out on large quantities of sparkling decorations, rich food and gifts galore. In 2017, Australians spent $11 billion on Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, many of these gifts were returned, rarely used or discarded. We generate 30% more waste during the Christmas period due to feasting, presents and decorations.
There are many ways we can celebrate the joy of Christmas without breaking the bank or filling our bins. In fact, thoughtful Christmas gift-giving can improve your close relationships and the lives of others. Last year my daughter gave her father a series of shared activities. On Christmas he received a booklet of hand-drawn certificates that each had a date and activity that they would do together. These included seeing a movie, having lunch, going to the gym, etc. The gift of time and relationship building is a precious one that he enjoyed far more than a book or clothing item.
Shared experiences are wonderful gifts for close loved ones, but what about work colleagues or those distant relatives you rarely see? One option is a donation to those in need. World Vision, Rural Aid and many other organisations have a range of Christmas gifts that help others. Our students have embraced this idea with their Christmas hamper project.
If you want to buy a gift and have a positive impact, look for items made in regional Australia. This supports rural communities and reduces the environmental impact of shipping. The Buy Regional this Christmas website has a wide range of gift options from NSW communities. EcoBags from the Abbotsleigh Environment Council are also a sustainable gift option and can be split up to use as multiple small gifts.