Looking to be greener and less wasteful this Christmas? Even the Queen is said to reuse wrapping paper and ribbons, so there are many things we can all do…. Here’s a whole range of ideas from very small to much bigger.
~ Decorations ~
Use what you already have!
Already have an artificial tree? Use it as long as possible!
If you do need a few more bits, ask your family if they have spares, check out the charity shops and buy second-hand, or make your own…
Create your own decorations
**Start now** save your waste paper, cans, jars, loo rolls and cardboard now to use for your creations!
Look in charity shops and your local scrapstore (Orinoco in Oxford) for more resources.
There are lots of ideas online, here is one selection.
Make your own advent calendar or invest in a re-usable one
Make something unique! You may be surprised just how many ways you can make one – recycle some old card, coloured envelopes, wood or fabric – some ideas here.
~ Buying Gifts ~
Get what they need
**Start now** find out what your family and friends really need!
Consider gift vouchers or cash so you don’t give gifts that go to waste.
Quality over quantity
Resist the plastic stocking-fillers and multiple cheap gifts – try to focus your spending into fewer, higher-quality items that will last.
For kids who have everything – try a “one-gift” policy, or a family “Secret Santa” buying one thing each.
Not very crafty? Try home made things from your kitchen: jams and marmalade, sauces and dips, pesto, oils with added herbs, vegan parmesan, baking mixes, chocolate, or home-made cosmetics.
Try swapping things you no longer need for things you do with friends, neighbours, or at a community swap shop such as this one for children’s toys and books in Florence Park, 1st Dec.
Gift zero-waste to inspire your friends
Re-usable cups and water bottles, bars of soap and shampoo, cleaning products, plant cuttings… You can even support environmental charities when you buy them e.g. Surfers Against Sewage.
Avoid “things” altogether – gift experiences instead
Your loved ones might appreciate theatre tickets, arts or cookery courses, repair courses, getting out into nature, or other experiences. There are lots of options in Oxford.
Consider sponsorship for a tree or animal via environmental charities.
Avoid excessive packaging – you could pack smaller items into your own reusable or recycled wrapping – selection boxes are a great example.
Support environmental charities – e.g. Sustrans sell lots of cycling items in their online store.
**Start now** Think about what you really need and let your friends and family know – they’ll appreciate the ideas, and you’ll get less of things you didn’t need!
Don’t need/want anything? Request “no gifts”
Tell people you’re trying to be greener!
You could ask for donations to a good cause as an alternative.
~ Wrapping ~
Invest in some fabric for family gifts – tie it with string, ribbons or rubber bands (or tie it up as a furoshiki), and re-use it year after year.
Heather says…. My mum made lots of different sized pieces and all our presents would be wrapped in material and held together with ribbons, rubber bands and safety pins (all re-usable!) It is the only Christmas wrapping that I remember having!
Freya says… I sewed bags for presents some years ago and my friends are still using them, for example, as sponge bag, or as produce bags for zero-waste shopping.
Save brown paper bags, newspapers, magazines and calendars
Newspaper picture pages make particularly good eco-wrapping, but any pages will do!
Spruce it up with some foraged items
Prepare for next year
Keep those pretty cards to make gift tags, advent calendars and other decorations
Save your used wrapping paper instead of throwing it away – use it for decorations next year or just use it again (no one will even notice!)
~ Tableware ~
Use the tableware you already have
Think before you buy those tempting Christmas plates, tea towels, table covers that will sit in the cupboard for 11 months of the year.
Consider renting if you need extra glasses/tableware
Avoid single-use plastic for your large gatherings
As you’ll know if you’re a regular borrower, we moved into our new, larger space in Makespace a couple of months ago. This has increased our storage space to expand our collection, and given us more comfortable work space, and we’re settling in nicely.
Our new neighbour, using our old space, is Paint Buzz, run by Mary Zacaroli. They’ll be opening at the same times as the Library, so next time you’re nearby, why not drop in and say hello to us both!
Like our repair cafes, Paint Buzz can also help you reduce waste: bring new life to some tired old furniture with their upcycling workshops, run for individuals and organisations. They are also selling Frenchic eco-friendly furniture paint and finishes to help you upcycle.
At SHARE Oxford we love helping you to keep your things alive for longer by fixing them at our regular Repair Cafés. However, we also want to empower people to have a go at repairing their own things. Besides being fun and rewarding, it teaches you about how things are made and how they work, and makes you value your things more.
-> A hole repair. With a little practice, this type of small sewing repair can become quick and easy!
We can already help you to access some of the tools you might need via the Library of Things – but what if you don’t have the skills? If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know where to start when something is broken, we want to help you!
Please fill out this survey to let us know what kinds of simple repair you’d be interested in learning, or get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any other ideas! (If you’ve previously filled this out via the link in the newsletter there’s no need to re-fill, we do have your answers 🙂 )
We will try to demonstrate the most popular skills during our upcoming Repair Cafés (including the next one on Sunday September 1st).
Oxfordshire County council has won an award for recycling electricals in recognition of repair cafés they funded via the CAG network between November 2017 – 2018. Together, a network of 49 electrical repair cafes worked to save nearly two tonnes of TVs, radios, toasters, and other electronic items from being thrown away, helping over 1,500 residents use their items again.
We were pleased to be involved in this effort and to continue to run Repair Cafés on an ongoing basis. Our next event is 1st September at Makespace in Jericho and there’s also a Rose Hill repair cafe on 3rd August, along with others around the county. You can of course repair more than just electricals – keep an eye on our website as we confirm which services we’ll be able to offer at the next event.
We need more friendly volunteers to help us run the Library of Things and to expand our opening hours, so we can help even more people to borrow instead of buy.
No experience is necessary, so if you’re enthusiastic and you can spare a few hours per week we’d love to hear from you. You can read more about the role here, but if you want a real flavour of what’s involved, come along to our information and demo session on Wednesday 10th July from 6-7pm.
Please get in touch at email@example.com if you plan to attend, so we have an idea of numbers. If you can’t make it to the event but you’re interested in volunteering please also email us or drop in during our opening hours and we’ll be delighted to tell you more.