As Christmas approaches, 2020 will undoubtedly be the strangest festive season any of us have experienced. Yes things will be different, and if you are someone who loves to celebrate Christmas, you can still do so in style, but it may require a different approach.
Choosing a more sustainable approach to Christmas is the way to a better future. If you watched Netflix’s David Attenborough documentary “A Life on Our Planet”, you will have heard his plea regarding climate change, and how we need to do something now.
Every year the festive season is a time of excess; too much eating and drinking, buying so many presents people get into debt, stressing about cooking far too much food it ends up wasted in landfills.
Although it is the season to be jolly, the spirt of Christmas has become lost. It’s not about how much money you spend or how many presents you buy. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s to value time spent with friends and family more.
Christmas is the season for being charitable, and after a difficult year, presents are not always the best way of showing your love. Remember that spending lots of money on a gift doesn’t necessarily make it special.
Moalboal Eco Lodge share an eco friendly gift guide for all occasions; Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthday, or any occasion where you need to give a present.
Flip the Script – The “No Gift” Gift
The most eco friendly gift is not to buy a present. Before you think "bah humbug", what I mean is you should choose to spend quality time with people who are dear to you, doing something fun together. This will create a longer lasting memory, and it doesn't use wrapping paper which is coated in plastic and cannot be recycled.
Over consumerism and buying presents “because it’s Christmas” isn’t how things should be. Flip the script and instead of giving and receiving gifts, arrange a date to meet up. Any of these options will save you money, and be far more valuable.
Don’t forget your camera – this how you preserve those memories.
Book a Night Away
Lockdowns in 2020 have stopped unnecessary travel, but booking a night away somewhere with your best friends, cousins or anyone you care about will be a welcome break. It can be a surprise, or you can arrange the trip together which is part of the enjoyment.
The most eco-friendly way of travelling is to take the train or bus, but if you want to ensure you are safe in these uncertain times, travel together in the same car.
Eco-friendly accommodation like Moalboal Eco Lodge have chosen sustainable options such as a rainwater collection system, upcycling and composting. Book a place which has a “no plastic” policy, have plant based menu choices, or are able to help educate others on how to lead a more sustainable life through their every day practices.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money when you spend a night away. Take a hammock to sleep in or go camping for a night, often these simple times provide so much fun.
If you live in a cold climate, look for a log cabin or treehouse, somewhere that is cosy and different.
Experience based gifts provide lasting memories without the clutter. There are so many ideas to choose from, and vouchers can be purchased for any of the following:
For the adventure seeker, book a morning canyoneering, ziplining, abseiling, climbing, kayaking, or a trip to an escape room to test their wits under pressure.
Cook a Meal
Cooking a meal for someone is a personal experience, and one that is always appreciated. If you are a good cook then prepare their favourite meal, if you aren’t so adventurous just do what you can following a recipe that isn’t too complicated. Pair it with a nice bottle of wine or a delicious dessert, but anything you do will be special.
Alternatively, arrange a cooking class as a gift. It can be something you do together or they can do it with someone of their choice. Maybe they want to learn how to cook Indian food, Thai cuisine, more vegetarian dishes, or maybe they just want to learn the basics from a professional.
For the Alcohol or Chocolate Connoisseur
For someone who enjoys a tipple or two, send them on a wine tasting session, brewery tour, or create your own cocktail session. Of course there is always the option to buy a bottle of their favourite wine, prosecco or treat them to a bottle of champagne.
Although chocolates are always indulgent, all the big chocolate producers use unsustainable palm oil (Nestle, Cadbury, Green and Black, Hershey's). Deforestation in Borneo, the world’s largest palm oil producer and exporter, is contributing massively to climate change, and our cousins the Orangutan are being killed because of it.
For an eco-friendly chocolate gift, choose a palm oil free company such as Divine, Booja Booja, Green and Black, Seed and Bean, Raw Chocolate Company, Moo Free or Alter Eco.
Support an Animal Cause
The year 2020 hasn’t just been tough on humans but also on animals. Safari parks, zoos, conservation centres are all struggling to feed the animals they care for without the funds from tourists.
Find their favourite animal such as tiger, elephant or orangutan and see if there is an adoption scheme, check websites to see if there is an online shop, or offer to make a donation to a cause such as Moalboal Dog Rescue.
The Philippine Eagle Foundation is a perfect example, and there are places all over the world who are seeking help during these challenging times.
If you are giving someone a gift, don't use shop-bought metallic wrapping paper because it is coated in plastic and cannot be recycled.
There are many alternatives to wrapping paper; use brown paper and tie it with jute string or ribbon, decorate an old box (shoe box, online delivery box etc) with old greeting cards cut into shapes, ink stamps, string, ribbons left over from a previous year, coloured sticky notes cut into shapes or draw a pattern. If you have children, get them involved and draw pictures.
Gift tags made from old Christmas cards are perfect, and don't be afraid to re-use gift bags given to you!
Fabric gift wrap is colourful and creative, a handkerchief, scarf, festive towel which are all a present within a present. If you are gifting someone who loves vintage, use newspaper, comics, or an old map and tie with a colourful bow.
If you are given a present in a gift bag, or something tied up with ribbon, or maybe you have unwrapped your gift without tearing the paper - keep it all for another year! It's better to reuse it again than throw away.
A handmade gift is heartfelt, and is something unique. Bake a cake or ginger cookies, paint a picture, make chocolates or mulled wine, knit a scarf, crochet a set of coasters, create a candle or scented room spray using essential oils, the only limit is your imagination.
If you are really creative, make a pottery bowl, glass jewellery, weave coasters or placemats, carve a wooden candle holder or jewellery tree. The list is huge.
In the past I have gifted homemade chocolates, and recently for a friend’s birthday, we made drinking glasses out of beer bottles. We have also made a vase, candle holders and lights, all you need is a cutting tool. Look on youtube for the heat and cool method that suits you best.
Our method: Score a round bottle using the cutting tool. Light a candle, then slowly turn the bottle over the flame along the score line for a few minutes. Plunge the bottle into a bowl of water and it should break cleanly. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process two, three or even four times. We use temperate water but some people use ice cold water to provide more stress on the heated bottle.
Gift of Time for People Who Need a Break
Giving time to people to help them unwind or relax is one of the most precious gifts of all. Offering to help with the simple things in life is often a huge relief, and appreciated more than we realise.
Arrange for a house cleaner to do the weekly chores, offer to babysit or arrange a babysitter so they can have a date night or go out for the day, clean their car, mow the lawn or arrange for a gardener to tidy things up.
You can make up a voucher on Canva to print and hand to them, or if you want to be zero waste, send it in messenger or by email.
Soy or beeswax candles, bamboo scarfs, woven planters, hemp clothing, purses made from upcycled cement bags, jewellery made from coconut shell, shampoo bars - the list of natural gifts you can buy (or make if you have the talent) are endless.
Essential oils are also a great natural gift, whether you are newbie or experienced. For the added extra, buy a diffuser to go with the essential oils. To create a festive aroma, choose the smells of pine, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh or sweet orange.
Essential oils which can be used every day for a variety of reasons are tea tree, lavender, lemon, rose, citronella, lemongrass or peppermint.
I make a natural mosquito repellent which is a great gift for anyone living in a hot climate, or for travellers visiting tropical destinations.
An Air Purifying Plant
Plants are beautiful gifts, and if you choose the right one, they will help purify the air in your home. Some of the best air purifying house plants according to NASA’s clean air study are Snake Plant (also called Mother-In-Laws Tongue), Devil’s Ivy/Pothos, Areca Palm, Aloe Vera. Alternatively, opt for the quintessential Christmas plant the Poinsettia.
If you have time, grow a plant from seed and gift it. Someone recently gave us an avocado seed which has begun growing and we plan to keep it as a house plant.
Gift seeds to green fingered gardeners who prefer to grow their own plants. Carolina Reaper chilli if they like spice (they are a very interesting plant to grow), coriander, mint or basil for the herb enthusiast, or maybe giant sunflower seeds to brighten up the garden.
Plastic Free Bathroom Kit
For people who want to start a plastic free or zero waste journey, this is the perfect gift. In the UK it’s tradition to give a “pack of smellies” which would be fancy shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturiser, body spray, and you can still do this but in a sustainable way.
When choosing plastic free bathroom items, where palm oil is used (listed as glycerine), make sure it is sustainably sourced. If you are unsure, choose a product that is palm oil free.
Pick any selection of the following, then wrap it in a pretty scarf, a festive tea-towel, tablecloth or any of the eco-wrapping suggestions listed above.
Eco Friendly Travel Set
For the avid traveller who wants to be more eco friendly and plastic free, these gifts are perfect. Not only fantastic for taking overseas, but for camping, hiking, caravanning, and every day use.
We hope you have found inspiration from our eco friendly gift guide, and will choose sustainable options this Christmas, and for every future occasion.
Visit our Eco Shop* for all your plastic free,
zero waste, palm oil free travel products!
(*10% from every purchase is donated to Moalboal Dog Rescue)
Do you want to travel responsibly?
Sustainable Travel: How to be a Responsible Tourist
12 Plastic Free & Zero Waste Travel Tips During Coronavirus
Plastic Free & Zero Waste Toiletries: Space Saving Travel Essentials
International Orangutan Day: Palm Oil Free Challenge
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Fancy a Day Trip from Moalboal?
Kawasan Falls, Badian
Basdaku “White Beach”, Moalboal
Mantayupan Falls, Barili
Lambug Beach, Badian
Montpeller Waterfall, Alegria
Taginis Falls & Budlot Spring
Simala Shrine Castle Church, Sibonga
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