Friday, December 23, 2016

5 frugal and plastic-free gift ideas

This week I caught up with my friend Di on Radio Rhema to talk frugal and plastic-free Christmas gift ideas. As always with Di, it was lots of fun. Listen to the interview here.

Or for the visual learners among you (I'm one too), scroll down and read about the five frugal and plastic-free gift ideas I gave Di.

1. Make your own
People love home-made gifts. They just do, so you really can't go wrong. Check out Pinterest if you want to be inundated with ideas for baking, sewing, DIY science kits, DIY craft kits and more.

This year we made rocky road for all the kids' teachers and support staff, plus several family members. (We have a BIG family.) My kids loved helping chop up the rocky road ingredients and write out the labels for the gifts. And they got many hugs from teachers and even the school Principal upon delivery. Everyone was happy.

2. Digital gifts
There's no packaging with digital gifts, and you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

This Christmas we're gifting The Aetherlight family season pass to several of our nieces and nephews. The Aetherlight is a steam-punk Bible game, and the family season pass includes episodes 1, 2 and 3 for up to five family members.

3. Make your own adventures
This gift is really only limited by your imagination, but the idea behind it is to make memories instead of stuff. Ideas could include picnics in unusual places, tramping, camping, geocaching and beach trips.

Every year my husband organises a pirate treasure hunt for our kids and whichever nieces and nephews we're holidaying with at the time. He makes a treasure map, dipping it in tea and burning the edges to make it look authentic. Then he pops the map in a bottle and leaves it lying around somewhere near where the kids are playing at the beach so they can find it. The treasure is usually the same wooden chest used over and over again, and filled with gold-wrapped chocolate coins. He buries that at another location and marks it with an 'X' so the kids can find it by following their map. Adventure ensues.

4. Slave for a day
Use your skills to bless others. Building, sewing, painting, gardening, cleaning, babysitting, etc. If you can do it, offer it up as a gift to others. I guarantee your recipients will be grateful.

My favourite Christmas present of all time was when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law spent three days painting our house with us. They really broke the back of the project for us, and did it with such a cheerful attitude too.

5. Buy second-hand
Before you hit the mall, visit garage sales, Op shops, school fairs, church galas and Trade Me. You might just find what you're looking for at a fraction of the cost. And you'll be supporting charities and giving items another lease of life, helping to keep them out of the waste stream.

Last Christmas I wanted to get roller-blades for my girls, so I looked out for them in the months leading up to Christmas and managed to find two mint condition pairs of rollerblades at a Salvation Army store, and two sets of wrist guards at a church gala. Win!

Merry Christmas. What ideas would you add to the list? 

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