The festive season can bring lots of happiness – and unfortunately, lots of waste. According to the University of Sydney, Australians typically spend 60% more of our income and generate 30% more household waste during this period with scholars even calling Christmas ‘the world’s greatest annual environmental disaster’.
It can be overwhelming trying to minimise your eco footprint at this time of the year, which is rooted in being grateful for what you’re given. But don’t fret: there are ways to make sure you not only give but also receive meaningful and eco-friendly gifts.
If you’re trying to think about how to word an email to your family about your (perhaps new-found) gift giving/receiving philosophy, then here’s a little template for you to copy, paste and add your own flair to.
Dear Auntie Betty,
I’ve had an interesting year of learning and one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is how much waste we send to landfill each year as a country with Christmas/New Year being the biggest time. Isn’t that icky? It has got me to thinking about what I really need and the answer is not much, so I thought I’d pop you a note to say…
(choose your own adventure here between 1,2 and 3)
- You always get me a gift and it’s so generous. I never expect anything but if you were going to again this year, I’m saving for a rather expensive cookware/electrical etc item with my new “Buy once, buy well” motto, and a little voucher from XYZ store, where I plan to get it from, would be great to put it towards.
- I truly don’t need a thing this year but if you really want to get me something, how about booking us a nice lunch in the new year as it’ll mean we get more time together.
- I need nothing, but there’s a gorgeous puzzle I’ve wanted to get for Oscar from this divine shop online and something for him is something for me, so that’s an idea if you really wanted to get us something.
- I don’t need a thing – why don’t you bring us a champagne/ rocky road/ your favourite cake to enjoy over Christmas together.
Thank you for helping me create less “stuff” in the world and I’m so looking forward to seeing you at Christmas!
Now, if gifting is happening, I’ve made us a little inspiration list. You can also look back through past year edits for inspiration:
and the Aussies – we can also gift these wonderful initiatives to support essential services in the face of our catastrophic bushfires and the damage they’re doing to people’s lives, farms, our beautiful wildlife. Heartbreaking! There are, as I type this, no less than 60 fires burning in my state of New South Wales alone. Isn’t that crazy!?
Buy from the Bush – Such a wonderful initiative to support our farmers experiencing drought.
And here are a few more ideas for this year. Enjoy! x
If you’re serious about a plastic-free Christmas, look no further than Biome. Gosh they’ve grown and created such a fantastic selection of goodness. Founded in 2003 by Tracey Bailey, it is Australia’s leading zero waste, ethical eco store. They have Australia’s strictest ingredient standards and are proud to be 100% palm oil free and a Certified B Corporation. Biome’s range of products will have you digging around the site for hours.
Check out Tracey’s interview in The Courier Mail where she shares her 3 top tips for a plastic-free Christmas.
They have a whole section of their online store dedicated to eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas if you’re not sure where to start. You can also go straight to the plastic free range HERE. I also put together a list of my favourites HERE.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget to enter their “gift of kindness” competition, there are 6 x $100 Biome vouchers up for grab. You can find all the details HERE.
I’ve discovered a healthy holiday season helper here: The Immuno Elixir! It’s perfect for additional support during a period we risk getting run down so you can enjoy that well-earned holiday…This little baby is high in vitamin C, Chaga mushroom extract, sea buckthorn and various Nordic herbs plus a splash of honey. All the ingredients used in this preparation are well known in the Nordic folklore and plant medicine. 50ml of Immuno Elixir (daily dose) has 250% of the daily Vitamin C. Each ingredient is EU certified organic. Eastern-European folk medicine has likely known Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) since the 1500s. Recent research confirmed that Chaga possesses a strong antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effect. Other ingredients in the formula include sea buckthorn, known to improve the efficiency of the organism’s own immune system, honey, pine oil which works to reduce inflammation and yarrow, for its strong antimicrobial properties.
We’ve reached out to secure a 20% discount with code lowtoxlife (valid until Friday 27th December). SHOP HERE
If you know someone who’s been on the hunt for low tox hair treatments and hair colours, then this might be the best Christmas gift around and when I first smelt the conditioner, I was literally transported to Provence (I’m a half Frenchie and that Orange blossom always gets me!)
Végétalement Provence is a global plant based beauty house from St-Remy de Provence in the south of France. Their product philosophy is “super organic”: combining health, beauty, efficiency and ethics. They are committed to limiting the environmental impact of their products (biodegradable packaging, reduction of their ecological footprint and water pollution in the manufacturing) whilst offering a selection of products containing hand-picked high-performance natural ingredients. The brand does not test on animals, is Peta Certified Cruelty free and vegan friendly.
If you live in Sydney you can have your low tox hair colour done by the wonderful Christina Nahum in her Redfern salon, she’s the exclusive distributor of Végétalement Provence in Australia and an expert colourist. I just love seeing that there are more and more options poping up for low tox locks!
Offer: receive a complimentary product (value up to to $34) for every order ($100 spend minimum; valid until Sunday 15th December). Use this code at checkout to redeem your gift: noel19 (the offer can also be redeemed if you visit the salon in Redfern, Sydney, before 15th December too).
Each year, Red Cross has a range of Festive gifts available with all proceeds going towards their humanitarian aid work to support people in need both in Australia and overseas. The gifts they sell can help someone who feels alone, a young parent realise a brighter future, a family comforted after a disaster or help a refugee start their life over. They really are gift that keep giving. They have a range of sustainable options including bamboo straws, reusable food cover sets, eco-coffee cups and drink bottle and a beautiful range of tea towels that can be used to wrap presents like pictured above. If you buy these sorts of go to’s as gifts normally, let’s do it for the Red Cross, right?
Christmas Spirit™ taps into the happiness, joy, and comfort associated with the holiday season. It combines Orange, Cinnamon Bark, and Spruce (think of a fresh-smelling Christmas pine for Spruce) to create a warm, spicy, and sweet Christmas essential oil blend that’s sure to be loved by everyone in the family. I pull this out every December 1 and play my Chrissy list to get in the festive zone.
It’s a great gift for the holidays, and it can easily become an important part of your family traditions as it has mine. Diffuse it during the holidays and winter months to help children, family, and friends reminisce over the past and create new memories for the future.
If you want more information on essential oils, I love and use Young Living and have done for nearly 6 years. Gary Young was a brilliant man who upped the industry standards and safety of essential oils – a true pioneer and a brand that I wholeheartedly support due to their ethical and environmental standards and practices as well as safe recommendations. You can read up on why I choose YL here.
Entertaining in a low waste, low tox way doesn’t need to be stressful and absolutely doe not need to cost a fortune. In this 115-pages eBook that I created a couple of years ago now, you’ll find wonderful recipes including snacks, canapés, feasts and festive drinks (37 recipes total) as well as a whole bunch of tips and resources for you to create less waste over your holiday season, fermented cocktail ideas, decorating ideas, table arrangements and floral inspiration, gift ideas and more. Here’s to creating more joy with lots of stress-free entertaining with the people we love this holiday season!
Get your copy HERE.
Grateful and excited to see the Low Tox message spread a little further with Spanish and very soon French editions.
And of course, if you’re on this side of the world, Booktopia is your best bet or Book Depository for a worldwide English option.
I can’t thank you enough for continuing to recommend it and share it with friends, family and colleagues as it continues to inspire change for people and that basically means a better world, so hooray for that, right?
A lot of peeps in our community are making huge progress in reducing waste, but with a long way to go might lament the amount of plastic they still amass. So much of it isn’t recyclable via standard channels either, despite many people putting empty moisturiser bottles and shampoo bottles in the recycling bin – especially those lids and pumps! So, Terracycle help you recycle the LOT with their boxes. Ours lives in the garage, and over a couple of years, we slowly, slowly fill it and ship back to Terracycle to ACTUALLY recycle it into new things. They’re an amazing business and I’d love to see every low tox home who isn’t quite zero waste, up the anti and get one of these! Are you IN?
So many of you loved the chat on the podcast a couple of years ago with the wonderful Cate, founder of QueenB and have since fallen in love with her candles. They make a beautiful, useful gift without a whisper of weird synthetic smells nor petroleum-based wax anywhere in sight. You’re supporting local farmers and makers when you support a candle business like this and the joy that honey-scented, amber hue brings to a family table is pretty special. I love their pine cones. So beautifully presented as a gift, too.
Nourished Life has an epic gift section this year but this, I can never go past when a family member or friend has a bubba or is expecting one very soon. Weleda Calendula range was what my son was brought into the world using, and 4 subsequent nephews – how lucky to be surrounded by all these gorgeous boys! This gift set is such a beautiful., gentle and generous way to nudge the curiosity of friends and family perhaps not yet on the low tox train. I hope the bubba in your life enjoys it as much as our family has!
Whether you go for the tiny Mini Waterman filter or the large 10L Bio 1000 filter, the Waters Co Water Filters are a truly high quality filter option – filtering everything you want OUT and putting back in all your trace minerals so that you receive true hydration, ever so slightly alkaline around 8-8.5Ph.
I’ve had my Mini Water Man for about 18 months and used it for my entire book tour, a month overseas introducing my little man to his cousins and I’ve successfully avoided any need for bottled water that entire travelling time for $149.95 for the Blue that comes with 3 replacement filters!
You have 10% off for the month of November with the code LOWTOXTXWC23 so there’s no excuse not to have your own travel filter or if it’s a special Chrissy gift, one of the benchtops. If we don’t filter the water, our bodies will! SHOP HERE.
If you do have the occasional tipple, why not do a little good while you sip. While I certainly don’t want to incentivise anyone to drink more, I do enjoy the odd gin & soda and this is a lovely drop that I was gifted last Christmas by a low toxer who imports it into the country. Elephant Gin is handcrafted with 14 botanicals including 5 rare African botanicals (Devils Claw, Lions Tail, Buchu, Baobab, African Wormwood) resulting in a taste that is complex but strikingly smooth, encompassing floral, fruity and spicy flavours. Crafted in small batches, each bottle is individually hand numbered. Elephant Gin contributes 15% of its profits to the conservation of the African elephant through Big Life Foundation and Space For Elephants. They have a super yummy sloe gin too! Available at Dan Murphy’s and around the world.
Give yourself a morning for this recipe. Play some Christmas tunes. Do some wrapping while you wait for pastry to bake or set. They will keep really well for a good 5 days, so you don’t have to make them on a hectic Christmas eve, which is great. After a couple of trials on the pastry front, I am super thrilled with this pastry. The texture will please even the most “gluteny” of glutinous fiends as it has my very British Dad! Enjoy it HERE.
So there we go, hopefully, a few ideas to get the creative juices going, expand the mind and try new things and do some deep reading. If you’re a small business owner with a wonderful low-tox product or service then please share with me below or pop us an email at [email protected] – we like to promote whatever excellent stuff is happening in the Low tox world whenever we can!
Low Tox. Happy People. Happy Planet