“Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care.”
These were the wise and somewhat irate words of environmental journalist and activist George Monbiot a couple of Christmases ago.
Great advice, we approve! Except for the minor detail that we are now living through a global pandemic, so do avoid kissing anyone unless they’re already in your bubble. And make sure you wash your hands for a least 20 seconds before passing any cake around.
If you are stuck for ideas on sustainable gifts, look no further. We’ve tapped into the legendary Bioregional hive mind and sourced a range of helpful suggestions for Covid-safe, planet-friendly gifts – all of them supporting at least one of our ten One Planet Living principles. Here goes:
Health and happiness – how about a recycled yoga mat from a company like Yoga Matters? Speaking from experience, the smug satisfaction of working out on an ethically sourced mat is unparalleled.
Equity and local economy – depending on what tier you are in, shopping may be a challenge. But grocery stores will all be open, so think craft gin or beer, local cheeses, or maybe a cheeky bottle of Fairtrade wine. Whilst one of the bigger beasts within the craft beer world, Brewdog recently went carbon negative and hosted their own COP alternative - so you can actually do the planet some good whilst enjoying that hopped-up IPA. (The fact that our digital comms manager James owns one of their epic advent calendars has in no way influenced their appearance in this list.)
BrewDog is now carbon negative. We take twice as much carbon out of the air as we emit.— BrewDog (@BrewDog) August 24, 2020
Read our plan here https://t.co/cjnRTNLYGf
We want to raise awareness of the climate crisis we are all facing. Now is the time to be radical in everything we do.#BrewDogTomorrow pic.twitter.com/U1s0S93q7k
Culture and community – how about buying a donation to charity as a gift? As senior project officer Hannah says: “I highly recommend checking out charities that have related gifts you can buy people. We've bought the gift of a dinner for two giant rats that can detect tuberculosis and landmines to save lives in Cambodia for one of our housemates!” What lucky housemates.
Land and nature – give a bird feeder, make a bee hotel, or buy an indoor plant to spark joy and reduce air pollution. Our sustainable business project officer Alice says: “ My friends just moved into a flat with a garden so I'm getting them a gardening starter kit with gardening gloves, hand fork, bee hotel and a mix of wildflower seeds.” Go Alice!
Sustainable water – what about a water bottle? You need water to survive so this is arguably a life-saving gift! Suggestions from the Bioregional team include Klean Kanteen or Ocean Bottle, which aims to tackle ocean plastic.
Sustainable food – homemade food always goes a long way, so bake a cake, mince pies, or something else edible, as George suggests. Even better, set yourself a challenge to bake with as many sustainable and Fairtrade ingredients as possible!
Travel and transport – keep it local, not that you have much choice, so maybe invest in a bike? Our Chief Operating Officer Hayley has just sourced a bike for her 5-year-old son via The Bike Club's innovative subscription service. Says Hayley: “I’m feeling very relieved right now that I don't have to conjure up a parachute, which was the other thing he wanted for Christmas.”
Materials and products – buy things you can imagine being used in years to come - we are fans of Wolf and Moon’s handmade jewellery as well as its sustainability ethos. Or, have a trawl through online second-hand market places like the World of Books, or Depop, which is great for clothes, books, electronic items and other small goods.
They're here! You asked for Peaches, we're giving you Peaches! 🍑— Wolf & Moon (@wolfandmoonshop) August 27, 2020
These gorgeous pieces are made using recycled acrylic ♻️ in a lovely pale peach shade.
Shop the newest additions to the Garden collection here > https://t.co/bHi0XhBs89 pic.twitter.com/aJEF1mHG6C
Zero waste – if the person you’re buying for has a garden, you could get them a compost bin! Earlier this year our sustainable business manager Stewart bought himself a wormery from Yorkshire Worms for his balcony so they could feast on his food waste. And who wouldn’t want the gift of worms at Christmas?
Zero carbon energy – we guarantee there’ll be someone in your inner circle who’d love to geek out energy-saving gadget. So try this energy-saving power meter socket - another recommendation from our Stewart, who clearly needs to get out more. Alternatively, just switch everything off and go to bed. It’s been an exhausting year.
So there you have it - your One Planet, Covid-friendly Christmas gift shopping list. You’re welcome.
Of course, we’ve surely learned this year that the best gift of all is time with our family and friends, not inanimate objects. We hope you enjoy any time you are able to spend with your friends and family this festive season – but please do so safely.
For anything you do buy, remember to keep the box, because as is said in every household across the land on Christmas day: “they always prefer to play with the box”.
And finally, we leave you with some wise and optimistic words from Roald Dahl to take you into the new year: