Are you looking forward to Christmas? Many parents are looking at their credit card bills, wondering how much of a hit they are going to take over the next few weeks. Others object to the ever increasing Christmas consumerism on ethical or environmental grounds, and we think there might be ways we can all have a more ethical Christmas this year, just because it’s actually more likely to make us happy.
Ethical presents to make with your children
If you have the time (and skills, and energy!) making presents rather than buying them has several benefits:
- It helps your budget
- It gives your children a chance to use/develop key skills
- It creates happy memories of time spent together doing something constructive.
For example, you can help your children make a mixtape or Spotify list for a member of the family, or put together a bake jar with all the ingredients for a batch of biscuits or hot chocolate with marshmallows. Let your nanny get in on the act by suggesting things you’d like to receive from your children as gifts like a planter of spring bulbs, or a making an old pair of jeans into a coffee cup cosy.
Ethical presents for children
Parents can reduce their expenditure and encourage creativity by giving their children presents that are repurposed or home made.
- Science box – putting together a series of science experiments like a baking soda volcano, lava lamp and rainbow creation costs very little, gives your kids a head start on practical science and will keep them quiet for hours at home. Your nanny will thank you too, for this pack of practical activities that can usefully fill a rainy afternoon!
- Drama box – similarly, donating some of your own old clothes, taking a quick trawl around the charity shops and buying a few simple supplies like mask blanks can create a gift that literally lasts for years. Put together in a dressing up trunk, with a few sample story starters (what happened to Cinderella after she married the Prince? What would you do if you found a bear in your bedroom etc) you can help your children learn to self-express and put on shows for you to enjoy.
Experiences as gifts
By which we don’t mean buying expensive days out! Instead consider:
- Put together a Christmas picnic and go to the park.
- Have a bonfire in the garden and tell Christmas stories around it.
- Take dried food and treats to a local animal shelter.
Think about changing your ways for Christmas
- Using recyclable wrapping paper, recycling last year’s paper or using non-paper wrapping such as bandanas and scarves that are part of the present, can all reduce the 227,000 miles of wrapping paper the UK discards every year.
- Choose a Forestry Stewardship Council approved Christmas tree – or plant a small conifer in your garden and decorate it for wildlife with suet balls, and winter bird food.
- Plan your menu to use up your leftovers with turkey hash and soup, panettone bread and butter pudding – you can even make ice-cream with your leftover Christmas pudding.
If you’ve enjoyed this guide, please take a look at another Christmas problem solved – our guide to special diets, nannies and play dates