…in order to get only what you wish for, and not what you don’t.
Christmas always means two things to me: a lot of excitement, but also a lot of frustration. It’s that time of the year the general common sense awkwardly says “buy a little crappy plastic something” instead of not buying anything at all because a) that person genuinely doesn’t need anything or b) you never took the time to mindfully listen to what that person likes and is interested in.
I hope I did not spoil the fun, as I love that period of the year where it’s cold outside (at least where I live) and we all gather around food with family and friends. So here’s what I’ve been doing those last years to minimise the frustration due to unwanted gifts and wasteful wrapping of things.
Speak your mind
I do my best to let people know how I feel about the environment and keeping it minimal (that’s for me personally — you might as well be eco-friendly but have an apartment as cluttered as a flea market). By doing so, my relatives know that they will ruin my mood by offering me some random thing. I also specify that second-hand things make me way happier and that an old newspaper is a wrapping option I particularly enjoy.
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Each year, we throw away enough wrapping paper to circle the planet NINE TIMES, in the UK only. 😨 Make things differently this year by using what you already have 🙃 The only limit is your imagination! ⠀ ⠀⠀ Repost 📷 from @ecolunchbox⠀ ⠀ #upcycle #reuse #wastenotwantnot #christmasiscoming #imdreamingofagreenchristmas #greengifts #ecofriendly #sustainableliving #simplelife #nowaste #zerowaste #chrismasgift #zerowasteliving #lesswastelessworries #saveourplanet #refusereducereuserecycle #christmas #consciousconsumer #zerowastechristmas
Share your wish list
This might sound a bit pretentious but hey don’t worry, you’ll actually help make Christmas more stress-free as people won’t have to go shopping for a day in order to find something for you. They’ll simply have everything at hand.
So how to write this list?
I usually sort it by priority. Also make sure you’re stating the price on it — your grandma might not know what the heck you’re talking about when you write “keepcup” (and if she does, you’ve got a super cool grandma). I also like to write different lists, to avoid any uncomfortable situation: my boyfriend or sister would be happy to find some lingerie in my wish list, but my colleagues wouldn’t.
I used to send a plain Word page to my relatives but guess what, it’s 2017 so we now got some better tools to help us with this task.
- Bookworms, have your Amazon wish list ready. You know the really cool thing about it? For most books, you have second-hand offers. (Do not forget to let people know you’d be over the moon to get it second-hand instead of new, as some people may think it’s rude to offer second-hand stuff).
- Use a Google Sheet or a Google Doc. Add links to online stores or images for each item to make things easier for your loved ones as well as to avoid any confusion.
- Listfully is also a handy tool to easily share your wish lists!
Just for Christmas?
I like to keep this list at hand basically all year-long so that I can add new wishes as they come up. I’ve found that it is a very good strategy to know if I actually really want something and to prioritise my material desires. Some items have been sitting on my wish list for months until I realise I don’t really need that thing and take it out. Annndd that’s one useless purchase, avoided! This list is as useful for relatives as it is for myself: it helps avoid impulse buying and to a greater extent, keep control of my consumption.
Image source: Kira auf der Heide — thank you.
Morgane is a London-based writer and the founder of Zero Waste Nest. She’s passionate about sustainable living, ethical fashion and social justice. She also founded the Ethical Fashion Guide, with the firm intention to make ethical fashion the norm. Her retirement plans are to adopt as many stray cats as she’s able to.