Last week, we shared some of our tips on staying grounded amidst the holidays. With a focus on slowing down, quality over quantity, and limiting plastic whenever possible, we highlighted some of our recommendations for decorating and setting gifting boundaries.
The holidays can be a lot – both overwhelming and joyful. It’s important to remind ourselves to slow down this time of year, so we can reduce our waste, while truly enjoying the special moments with family and friends.
In part 2, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite ways to reduce your impact, when it comes to gifting & holiday cookies. As we shared in the last roundup, we love finding ways to get creative, while emphasizing quality and longevity.
1) Choose Open-Ended Play Toys For Kids
Open-ended play gives kids the chance to express themselves creatively without specific boundaries or limitations. Since they don’t encourage a specific end goal, open-ended play toys can last much longer, stimulate imagination, and allow for a plethora of uses over the years. Here’s some great gift ideas:
- Magna-Tiles (encourages solo play and fosters imagination)
- Grimm Blocks (offer longevity for the kids and look beautiful in your home)
- Heirloom Toys To Hand Down
- Tegu-Blocks (magnetic wood blocks that encourage problem-solving; made by a social impact business)
- Search For Secondhand Toys on Ebay, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace (many of the above options can be expensive – you can often find gently used options on secondhand platforms for far more reasonable prices)
2) Opt For Classic Clothes That Easily Transition Into Hand-Me-Downs
At City Threads, we make styles that last, clothes kids want to wear on repeat, and designs that can easily be handed down when your child outgrows them. We believe in making quality classic clothes that last. Here’s some of our favorite styles to gift:
- Family PJs & Thermals (cozy, comfortable & perfect for family photos)
- Long Sleeve Twirly Dress (a staple for everyday wear & also ideal for holiday parties)
- Leggings (match with the Twirly Dress for a monochromatic look or pair with another fun, bright color)
- Cord Soft Stretch Pant (a classic pant that transition well from play to school to festivities)
- Turtleneck (comfort-first and ideal for the winter months)
3) DIY Or Make Things
Our culture of consumerism makes us think that we always have to *buy something* to gift. But making something can often hold extra meaning for the gifter and receiver. Here’s some fun gift ideas, that also allow you to get creative with your kids:
- Make A Card (while it may seem simple, the act of making and giving a handmade card is beautiful, and can help the gifter and receiver connect on a deeper level)
- Do A Craft Or Make A Craft Kit (Pinterest is a great place to search for craft ideas, or you can make a craft box to gift –watch Craft Basics video to get inspired)
- Write A Song (you can then play / sing it for the receiver and wow them with the thought that went into it)
4) Share An Experience
According to research, experiences can prove more meaningful than things, as over time, experiences become a part of our identity. They also help reduce the buildup of clutter in our homes. Here’s a few ideas:
- Gift A Special Picnic In The Park (plan a day & bring lunch and outdoor activities to enjoy moments together outside)
- Gift Zoo, Museum or Park Passes (this is something the receiver can then look forward to)
- Gift A Cooking Or Art Class (a way to encourage learning and discovery by exploring something new)
- Gift A Day At The Bookstore To Choose A New Book (this allows a special experience with your child at the bookstore, and cultivates their excitement for reading and books)
- Gift A Movie & Dinner Night (a great option for extended family members, as an excuse to get together with uncles/aunts/nieces/nephews/grandparents/etc)
- Gift A Candy Shop Day (this gives the kid the chance to choose what they want, while getting the experience of a rainbow of candy all around)
5) Choose Recycled Or Reusable Wrapping Options
It’s tough to resist the shiny, new wrapping paper options at the big box stores. But, one way you can largely reduce your waste is by opting for reusable or recycled wrapping options. Here’s a couple ideas:
- Use Wrapping You Have on-hand (you may already have leftover wrapping paper, newspapers or fabric – these are great options for reuse; also, it can be fun to get creative in decorating with your kids, using found elements around the house)
- Invest In Reusable Wrapping (ditch the disposable wrapping for options you can use over and over again – check out these cool options from OLSEN+OLSEN, The FabWrap & Wrappr.
- Reuse Paper Gift Bags (these can be reused over and over until they wear out; then, you can recycle them)
BAKING & SHARING COOKIES
6) Use Secondhand Or Borrowed Cookie Cutters
Ask a neighbor if you can borrow their holiday cookie cutters, or check out Facebook Marketplace for reused options. If you only use them once a year, you might as well save the money and resources by opting for secondhand or borrowed cookie cutters.
7) Opt For Reusable Cookie Tins
While it can be tough sometimes, try to ditch the disposable plastic cookie tins and one-time-use plastic bags for sharing cookies. A thrift store can be a gold mine, when it comes to finding beautiful and fun tins to use for gifting cookies. You might even find colorful casserole dishes that could be used to pass along cookies to friends and family – then, those can be transitioned into another utilitarian purpose in the kitchen.
8) Freeze Leftover Cookies To Reduce Waste
During the holidays, we are known to waste far more than we already do throughout the rest of the year. Before the cookies *go bad*, remember to pack them up in an airtight container and put them in the freezer. Then, it can be fun to bring them out later, and extend the celebrations into the new year.
Written by: Kestrel Jenkins, responsibility consultant & host of the Conscious Chatter podcast.