I know the kids have only just gone back to school and we haven't even celebrated Halloween yet, but I'm already making headway with our Christmas Plans, which I kicked off in August.
This weekend, triggered by one of the comments on the blog (thanks to John) I've been thinking more about how we can plan for a minimal waste Christmas by reducing our present list. I attempted this last year and managed to save on five presents, that's five fewer presents bought by us and five fewer presents received, which meant a joint saving of about £100.
So I've finally written this year's hitlist, sorry I mean Christmas List, to work out who can be saved from the annual present exchange and all the wrapping and stress that comes with it.
Now before you start feeling sorry for them, please don't. It's hardly as if I'm going to cause anyone any harm. My list just features all those people, grown-ups and children who I consider will not be offended if I ring them to ask the all important question.
"Shall we do something different this Christmas?".
I thought that would be a good question to start discussions. It's non-assumptive and won't make me come over as a scrooge. Even better it also gives the other party an opportunity to suggest an alternative solution first. You never know, they probably have been muttering about it for years but haven't felt brave enough to suggest something different.
Christmas is so personal and my priority is not to offend, especially as there are people who we rarely see but who want to play some part in our Christmas celebrations.
So taking the opportunity now will enable time for careful planning on both sides.
Of course a Zero Present Exchange is the perfect outcome, saving wrapping paper, precious time and money. But there are lots of gift options that help to minimise waste.
- Books (no packaging required)
- Gift Vouchers from the Post Office (which use old fashioned paper)
- Transferring money into a bank account
- Contributions to a joint, shared present
- Adopt an animal at a santuary, or a book at the British Library.
- A home-made present such as chutneys, jams or biscuits
- Seeds or bulbs that can be planted in the garden or in a container
- Favourite products that the recipient already uses, e.g shampoos
- Meeting up for a shared outing, especially if it is a special trip that is already being planned.
- Donations to a charity that is close to someone's heart
But what about the Christmas Cards?
As you can guess, the Christmas card list will also be pared down and where possible will be replaced by ecards and free phone calls, using the opportunity of technology to spread the Christmas Cheer.
I'm also going to ask the kids what they want to do about school cards and see if they and their teachers can come up with some suggestions for their class this Christmas. I think I might start with a small maths lesson to illustrate my thinking. See what you make of this.
If a class of 30 children each sends 1 card to every other child in the class, what is the total number of cards distributed?
Hmmm.....by my calculation that's 30 children each sending 29 cards, which means a multiplication of:
WOW 870 cards distributed by one class alone.
That's 870 cards that are destined for either recycling or landfill once the festive period is over. If that figure is extrapolated to take into account the capacity of our school (150 children), I guess the figure could possibly reach the whopping tally of 4530.
4530 cards in one school. Blimey I've never even considered that before. I'm now wondering how that translates to money.
If we assume that it costs 10p per card that's
Now that's a lot of money to go to waste, even if it is recycled. It's like throwing NINE £50 notes in the bin and hoping it will be reincarnated as next year's toilet paper.
Now that I've picked myself off the floor in shock, I'd better get on with my phone calls, and after that, I'd better start thinking about the next stage of proceedings....making a good old-fashioned Christmas cake, now that's a zero-waste challenge if ever I've seen one.