Homeschoolers are notoriously money-savvy and environmentally conscious - and this year we are no exception. Our young people are particularly concerned about the state of the environment, in the wake of the most recent international climate report, which concluded that we have just 12 years to completely overhaul the way that we do everything in life - how is that for Christmas cheer? So we put our heads together and this year (and every year from now) we are starting a new tradition. An environmentally sustainable Christmas.
1. Get to know Groupon
This is not an affiliate post -and I am no way associated with Groupon, but I am a massive fan! If you have a little money to burn, and family all over the country, it is really fun to have a browse through different ticket and restaurant options, and have a gift voucher emailed, for your favourite little Italian place... This year we found movie tickets for Grandma, for under $13, and vouchers to one of the best all-you-can-eat vegan buffets in the city, for $12!
The key to keeping it sustainable is to buy tickets to experiences, with a virtual ticket (a photo of a ticket is emailed, rather than a printed ticket). There is no paper wasted, no wrapping, no plastic, nothing to throw away, and everyone has got to eat - right?!
2. Gift shop at the thrift shop
Long gone are the times when thrift shopping was taboo. If we are going to work on saving the planet, then we need to pass on our resources when we are finished with them (give away those baby clothes, those books you have already read a million times) and pick up some 'new' (to you) things while you are at it. As long as your gift wrapping is reusable (think, a Christmas-themed bag that you can re-use every year, or presents wrapped in a Christmas tea-towel or decorative table cloth) and you try to get public transport, or walk to the shop, then your gift could even be completely zero emission!
3. Give renewables themselves
We have found that the oldest and the youngest people in our family LOVE things that they can eat and grow! Last year we propagated plants from our vegetable garden and gave family and friends lovely pots of herbs, and vegetables. We have also given fresh produce before - mangoes from our tree, or dehydrated mangoes, and our friends make a killer plum jam that they pot up for us as a gift. Think 1950's, growing things with your own hands and leaving the planet healthier for it.
4. Give gifts of time
There was a time when certain members of our family were obsessed with the idea of the 5 love languages - which is the idea that people express their love for each other in 5 different ways. 2 popular ways are Gifts of Time and Gifts of Service. Do you have friends who would die for a dinner out alone, but don't have a babysitter? How about a free babysitting voucher? Or (teens) would your Mum or Dad love a shoulder or foot massage but would never spend the money to go and get one? Maybe you could give the gift of some foot massages!
5. Concerts, conferences and events
I know we already had a bit of a rave about Groupon and movie tickets, but if you are really looking for something special, then concert and event tickets are about as exciting as you can get! A few years ago, we bought our kids concert tickets that they had to wait a whole 6 months for (an exercise in learning patience - which is also valuable). The anticipation made the night something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. And there was no wrapping paper in sight. Have you got any more ideas for sustainable gifts for Christmas? we would love to hear them, Merry Christmas!
I couldn't resist adding this - the anthem for every thrift shop loving homeschooler!