This holiday season, we're trying to be conscious of not buying plastic-y, non-Earth friendly gifts for people that they may not even like! So we've got 10 suggestions for sustainable gifts for everyone you will be gift-giving to this year.
1) Christmas Crackers from KidsCan
They’re only $2.50 each from Countdown, Harvey Norman, The Coffee Club and other retailers. Inside you’ll find a party hat, cheesy joke and the chance to win a spa pool, trampolines, toys, and sweet treats instead of a plastic toy everyone throws in the bin.
Even better, DIY crackers – You can buy the "Bang" from spotlight, rescue the rest. At Creative Junk in Christchurch (who also do gift vouchers) you can buy a big bag of craft supplies for $10. North Shore Recycling Centre in Auckland is also incredible value. OR if you just want to buy ready made sustainable christmas crackers you can't go past Hopper in Wellington, available online.
2) Ethical, natural cosmetics and skincare from Go Native NZ
Go Native are a premium online seller/supplier of natural, organic and ethical skincare ingredients. Over the almost 20 years the business has been around, they’ve developed a global network of suppliers of essential, carrier and fragrance oils, cosmetic butters, waxes, raw materials, ready-to-go bases, and more. The ingredients must be ethically sourced and where possible they buy direct from the growers, so they can establish a relationship with them. You can buy raw ingredients, made products OR Make Kits which are a really fun gift.
3) Nectar Feeder
A fantastic way to support native birdlife and easy to make yourself (or buy one). Forest and Bird have a great guide on the basics of bird feeding and how to make an upside down bottle feeder. The feeders take a sugar water solution that is easy to make and can help birds get through hungry seasons.
To make a feeder, take a one-litre milk bottle and attach the lid to a shallow dish or jar lid. Fill the milk bottle with sugar water and make a few small holes about 0.5cm from the bottom of the bottle. Screw it into the lid and turn the dish upside down. Sugar solution will come out of the bottle and fill the dish to the height of the holes.
Banks Peninsular Conservation Trust pamphlet (warning: PDF) on care and concerns. Buy ready-made for about $60 delivered to your door.
4) A Bee House
It’s crucial we start looking after our pollinators and a the most effective in the bee family are solitary bees, which need housing while doing their job all day. The ready-made houses start from $30. You can even make these with recycled materials, using a waterproof container (1.5L fizzy drink bottle), wool, air drying clay, string, holy tubes such as bamboo. Video instructions are here and here. Also if you receive a gift like this and really want to learn more, get to the Big Buzz Festival festival, 14 Feb, Matakana.
5) String Art Kit
They’re back in fashion and a beautiful way to provide art and stress relief to someone you care about. All you need is a backing board, nails, wool or string and an image. You tack nails in and provide string. Any wooden backing board (renovation off cuts, flatish drift wood, chopping board) will do and any string or wool that isn’t too fluffy will work. Check TradeMe and secondhand craft stores to source what you'll need. Reverse image tree is here and a feather template is here.
6) Sustainable Coastlines Merch
We love Sustainable Coastlines and you can support their cause AND share their brand. They’ve got jandals made from recovered plastic from the ocean that are 100% recyclable (but very strong and hard wearing - $30), water bottles and t-shirts all available here.
7) Inoculated Mushroom Log
Admittedly, a bit of a weird one but for the right person – a fantastic gift! You can grow your own NZ native Oyster and Shitake mushrooms by using dowel plugs and use own log, see here for instructions. Takes six months to a year for the spores to take, then lasts for years. Note –you can only use a log from a deciduous (hard wood) tree. The log needs a shady spot, damper the better. Great video (apart from USA imperial measurements) is here. SporeShift NZ have what you need here.
8) Donations informed by Givewell
If you’re giving in the name of someone, GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give to produce the greatest impact for those in need. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, Givewell focus on the few charities that stand out most and assess them using a rigorous criterion. They’re also extremely accountable and transparent (and free to use).
9) Ticket to a Show
There’s few things more sustainable than a live show (especially comedy; Just a person, a microphone and a stage). Why not give the gift of an experience this holiday season. It has the added benefit of supporting your local musicians, comedians, threatre-makers and other artists and you could introduce the recipient to something they never would have taken a chance on themselves if they were paying!
10) Cooking Someone A Vegan Dinner
Speaking of introducing people to a new experience, cooking someone a vegan, vegetarian or sustainable meal can be a great way to break some myths in their head about more eco-friendly food options lacking taste or punch. These days, people are time poor and we’re missing out on connection with each other more than ever, so hosting someone round at yours for a delicious meal could easily be the significant gift they receive in the season (plus – it doesn’t have to cost you the Earth).
Bonus: Here’s some eco-friendly tips for decorating these holidays.