Sustainable Christmas gift ideas – Consumer NZ
Miriama Kamo – broadcaster and member of the Zero Waste Network
My biggest tip is not to use Christmas wrapping paper. Instead, wrap gifts with old fabric (pro tip: buy scarves from thrift stores), newspaper, cards, wallpaper – whatever you have lying around. They look awesome, especially if you save old ribbons and bows to reuse.
As for gifts, think about handmade (cakes / cosmetics / crafts) or experiences (zoo / boating / time together).
Always look for companies that are committed to sustainability. Buy local and check the ingredients to know the product is eco-friendly. I like to think of gifts as local, low-waste, and luxurious – gifts and experiences that make people and the planet happy.
Miriama Kamo is a broadcast journalist (Sunday / Marae, TVNZ1) who has been involved in the zero waste movement for three years and works hard to try to reduce her family’s carbon footprint.
Sarah Pritchett – WasteMINZ
For a few years now, my parents have given my family and my sister’s family an experience, instead of Christmas presents. We ziplined, jetboating, white water rafting and at a family concert (pre-Covid).
A good friend and I donate for each other at Christmas time. Last year she donated to the Christchurch Foundation on our behalf, and I paid Stuff a koha on their behalf and gave them a voucher for a local cafe.
Flea markets contain all kinds of treasures. Young tamariki don’t really care where their toys come from, and you may be able to find some good quality purchases.
Consider buying items that last. For the coffee lover in your life, manual espresso machines (from the simple cooker to the slightly flashing ROK espresso) produce coffee as good as an electric espresso machine (and without the need for pods). And they’ll last pretty much forever, with just the occasional new filter needed for them to make great coffee.
Sarah Pritchett is a senior project manager for WasteMINZ, which represents the waste and resource recovery industry in New Zealand.
Paul Smith – New Zealand Consumer
Since getting involved with our Built to Last campaign, I’ve tried offering (or requesting) news articles that don’t waste resources (and can actually help keep things used for longer).
IFixit repair tools will help your friends and family use the items for longer. While Sugru fixes broken handles, strengthens charging cables, and has endless ways to make tough things easier to use.
CaliWoods razors are fun to use, eliminate plastic waste, and, with replacement parts and a blade recycling service, are an easy way to get around.
Don’t buy new tech devices – models refurbished just a few years ago do everything you need to know. I have used GoodTech.co.nz but there are many more.
Paul Smith is the Consumer NZ Testing Manager whose mission is to make sure the products we buy are built to last and can be repaired.
Kahurangi Carter – Para Kore
Think about the whakapapa of your gifts this Christmas. Have they been ethically made? Are they from a creator whose values match yours?
In our whānau, our tamariki are given something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
Offer an experience: One of my favorite places to hang out with friends and whanau is on Mount Ruapehu. They have gondola rides and 2022 season passes available now.
Donate on behalf of someone: Two of my favorite charities are City Mission Donation and Rainbow Youth.
Offer something you’ve made: There are some amazing recipes in the Hiakai book, from modern cooking warrior Monique Fiso. You can cook something delicious for your friends or whānau. Last Mother’s Day my kids made me muesli and I loved their thoughtfulness.
Give something second-hand: It’s so much fun browsing the op stores. You won’t believe the treasures you find that remind you of your loved ones, yet stay away from the mall fever. Another great option is Trade Me – I often find beautiful clothes from brands I love, like Kowtow.
Offer a voucher (not a plastic gift card): Who knows what your person likes better than themselves. A voucher for Mutu, where you can rent things you need like tents for summer camping is a great option.
Kahurangi Carter is the regional director of Para Kore, which advocates a te ao maori solution for a waste-free world
Georgie Ferarri – Sustainability Trust
It’s the season to think sustainable, be ethical and #SupportLocal. My biggest advice, then, is to give a fun experience as a gift.
Not only does this mean giving zero waste gifts, it’s a great opportunity to support a local business. Here in Wellington, you can offer an annual membership to Zealandia or the Wellington Zoo. One of our EcoShop staff said the best gift he had ever received was a zoo membership – he was able to pack a picnic and go to the zoo with his kids every time he got there. wanted to. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving!
For more ideas, keep an eye out for Sustainability Trust’s Christmas Gift Guide in early December, full of great tips and tricks for a sustainable holiday season.
Georgie Ferrari is the Managing Director of Sustainability Trust, a social enterprise that supports sustainable living.