Steer clear of the high street this Christmas by making your own gifts or giving people an alternative or sustainable gift. Here are just a few ideas..
Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Friends and family will really appreciate your gifts of home made food such as Christmas cakes, puddings, cookies, truffles, mulled wine, jams or preserves.
Homemade Beauty products
If you try your hand at making your own beauty products you’ll end up saving a lot of money and feel more self-sufficient and sustainable as well. Most of these products use the same types of ingredients such as essential oils, aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, etc. So you can make a lot of products from a few basic, low cost ingredients. Here are a few ideas:
If you enjoy knitting, sewing, woodwork, metalwork or you’re the type who’s a bit arty and creative there are lots of homemade gift ideas online to inspire you.
If you’re not good with your hands then there are plenty of craft fairs happening around Christmas time where you can pick up the perfect gift. Craft fairs also help support the local economy.
People will appreciate a gift of flowers, plants, fruit trees, seeds, bulbs or vouchers from garden centres at Christmas, or indeed any time of the year.
Books on sustainability and ‘how-to’ books make great gifts. Books about gardening, woodwork, upcycling and DIY are useful and will be appreciated by the handymen (and women!) in your life. Green Books is a good site for books about Eco-Building, Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency. You could also consider giving someone a vegan recipe book, especially if they have already expressed an interest in veganism.
Vouchers are another alternative as they don’t have to be for shops or consumer goods. You could buy someone tickets to a concert or show, give them a meal voucher for a restaurant, give sports vouchers, or sign them up for lessons for something they’ve been wanting to learn for a long time!
If you don’t have any money why not give the gift of a helping hand or your knowledge. Teach someone how to play the guitar or give an older person lessons in using the internet. Ask people to make out a list of things they would like a bit of help with such as house cleaning, child minding, dog walking, lawn mowing, etc. Make out vouchers for each of these tasks and give them as gifts.
Animal lovers will really appreciate a gift that involves animal sanctuaries, wildlife and animal rescue. Some rescues allow you to ‘adopt’ an animal and will send you an adoption certificate – you can make this out in the name of a friend or family member. Vegan animal sanctuaries are also worthy causes, so please remember them at Christmas time.
Say ‘NO’ to farmed animals as gifts
Please do not donate to animal charities that operate in the developing world. These are charities which send live animals abroad. We at Vegan Sustainability have been trying to get the message out about the destructiveness of animals to the environment and to human health. We realise that there are people in need of food in many parts of the world, but we also recognise that if animals were not part of the food system there would be enough plant-based foods to feed the entire world many times over.
This link from ‘Free From Harm’ outlines the reasons why we should not give money to these charities. See also this article in our current edition by Richard Oppenlander: ‘Animal Agriculture, Hunger and how to feed a Growing Global Population‘.
(Article by Bronwyn Slater)
This article is part of the Creative Commons and is free to publish under a CC licence.