Do you hear that? Or is it just me? Is your eco-conscience radar going off? Mine is ringing like Jingle Bells! That magical time of year is approaching, where we get to show our love and appreciation for the people that we care about. This time also tests our principles of earth-friendly living. Check out Gould League‘s eco-friendly gift giving guide for the kids in our lives!
I recently came across a powerful post by writer George Monbiot called ‘The Gift of Death’ that really got me thinking. This quote in particular:
“Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for (goodness) sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.” – George Monbiot
It’s strongly worded, but impactful, don’t you think? We all have strong principles about sustainability, especially when it comes to our kids, but staying true to these values during the holidays can be hard. Kids still expect Santa to come! George’s words inspired me to write this post today – to explore how we can get creative this holiday season with gift giving for your children or the kids in your life. Here are some options that allow for both Santa and sustainability.
Try the Rule of 4
Instead of buying a myriad of gifts for your children, why not opt to keep it simple and plan just four gifts: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Take some time to plan out your four gifts. Make some notes in your phone when items spark your child’s interest and then sit down and consult with your partner (if applicable) to make a list together of what gifts you think about be best.
“Too much stuff leads to too little time and too little depth in the way kids see and explore their world.”
– Dr K J Payne, Simplicity Parenting
Give ‘Green’ Gifts
What if the aim of your gift was to build their connection to nature, increase their eco-literacy and help them reduce their ‘footprint’? Here is some inspiration:
- Gifts that encourage waste-wise behaviours:
- ‘Nude food’ bento-style lunchboxes & quality food thermos’. Biome.com.au have some great options.
- Good quality insulated lunch bags & reusable drink bottles
- Metal straws
- Kids design hankies
- Reusable patterned wet-bag for wet swimming gear, muddy boots, etc
- Gifts that encourage spending time in the garden:
- Good quality kids gardening tools. Ecotoys.com.au have a lovely set.
- Things they can grow! Seeds for butterfly attracting flowers, a small fruit tree, grass-head kits, beans to make a living tee-pee, or a sweet corn or sunflower cubby
- Mud kitchen supplies
- Gifts that help them take a closer look at our natural world
- Magnifying glasses, binoculars and quality bug hunting equipment. Australian Geographic have bug viewers!
- Snorkel and mask
- A small digital camera to zoom in and explore their artistic side!
- Gifts that enhance their eco-literacy and nature connection:
- Kid friendly field guides and nature journals. Gould league have some great field guides.
- Books that feature natural ecosystems and/or sustainable behaviours
- Gifts that help them to spend more time outdoors, whatever the weather!
- Gumboots, rain-pants/overalls or rain hat. Muddlarks have a great range.
- Hat, rash vest, wetsuit or beach shoes for rock-pool rambling
- Camping gear
- Even better, consider gifts that are experiences, not things!
- Or something a little more creative!
- Something delicious to eat: make a gingerbread house kit, make them their favourite food in an “epic-meal-time” event
- Or, like George says, something written or composed just for them: a song, a poem, a photo book, a bedtime story of your favourite things about them.
George’s impassioned quote can inspire us all to show our kids we care, without trashing the planet. In fact, it can help the environment, our wallets and most importantly enrich the childhood of the precious little people in our lives.
Best fishes for a safe, simple and nature-filled festive season.
Gould League (www.gould.org.au) is an environmental education organisation based in Cheltenham, offering hands-on and engaging excursions and incursions that support teachers to integrate science, geography and sustainability into their curriculum, connects students with their natural world and empowers the community to live more sustainably.