Updated 11 December 2013

Great green gifts

Christmas can easily become a stressful, wasteful and decidedly unspiritual consumerist frenzy, but counteracting that needn’t mean going ‘cold turkey’ on presents.

Foregoing gifts, or insisting they be homemade, will help shrink your festive carbon footprint, but it can feel a bit dismal – especially if you're celebrating with kids.

Keep the pleasure of giving alive with these environmentally conscious gift ideas:

  • Solar-charged lamps and strings of lights add a lovely gentle Christmassy glow, and will continue converting free energy into illumination on any sunny day of the year. The example shown here is the solar jar from Consol Glass.
  • A living indigenous tree – it can stand in for a Christmas tree if you add a few handmade ornaments, and it doesn't get turfed out or packed away afterwards.
  • A Wild Card: the very reasonable membership fee gives you free entry to our national parks for a year, and is an important way to support them. It's also a way of giving that doesn't involve material "things".
  • A seeded notebook or card. Store-bought wrapping paper and cards really should be phased out - unless they’re made from recycled paper. Or, if you want to go one better, seeded recycled paper: once you’re finished with it, you plant it, water it, and wait for it to burst into bloom.

Got a good green tip to share? Email me at or post on the EnviroHealth Forum – if it's a planet-saver, we'll publish it.


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