We wish you a Merry Zero Waste Christmas.

I’ve said it…. the word that we normally don’t allow until at least November. Christmas!

But if we need to keep on top of the excessively over the top wasteful bit we need to think about it now!

Last year I so desperately wanted it to be a zero waste Christmas but I found so many things kept cropping up that I hadn’t thought of. The boys have now, at 11 have got to that stage where it gets hard to fill a stocking because they aren’t so bothered about books, PJ’s, games etc. So what do you do? You end up buying for the sack of buying because you want them to have pressies to open. It took some thought last year, making sure they had lots of fun things to open and be excited about without the unnecessary. And I guess I didn’t do to badly, but I also had a new baby at the time so I’ll cut myself some slack.

Having said that I doubt it will be any easier with a toddler this year. At least I could browse the shops with her in the sling as a tiny tot, now her attention span will not tolerate this.

So how am I going to get around this? Well planning!!

I’m writing list after list two months in advance. Ideas of what the boys and Mat will need for the coming year, plus things they love and are desperate for. If I start with lots of time can I source any of this sustainably? organically or better yet, second hand? Can I make them anything they will love, something we can enjoy together over the Christmas period. Can I pop any vouchers in their stocking so they can shop themselves, or perhaps a day out together?

Mat is forever telling me that he will not buy things I need as presents, only buying fun things I may or may not want. I somewhat agree with this. Presents are suppose to be fun, but I do think we can do it without unnecessary tat.

“Less tat buying” Mat’s words not mine, is something he definitely is onboard with.

Then there’s the extra things that come with Christmas. Like advent calendars, selection boxes, a tons of sweets and cheese. All wonderful things, so I’m trying to think outside the box on how we can do all of these in a fun, low waste way.

So here my friends, is what I have so far to help you plan your own lists, and get thinking about the fun we have ahead as the festive season gets closer. Hopefully this will make the idea of all the shopping and cringing at the waste somewhat less stressful.

What do they need?

Got any holidays coming up? Even if it’s as far away as the summer, buying for a holiday can get everyone excited for the year ahead.

We drive to the mountains every year for a ski holiday which the boys count down to as soon as Christmas is over. Naturally they have grown out of most of their ski stuff, new or secondhand kits will get them super excited for the next trip.

Every year it’s get to spring and Mat comments on how he would love a new wet suit, a decent pair of flip flops and some nice summer gear, but being a man who hates shopping he never gets around to such things and waits until his flip flops have fallen apart before buying the first pair he sees in the first shop. Therefore I’m thinking of utilising the sales, taking the time to source some sustainable brands and setting him up next summer.

What are some nice things we can do together?

We don’t often eat out but when we do the boys love it. They are foodies, just like their dad, so I’m going to pop a few vouchers in their stockings to their favourite restaurants. That way they can pick when they want to go, and make out they are going to pay for this one.

Last year Nanna brought them vouchers for a terms worth of Art club every week, which they have absolutely loved and somehow convinced her to carry on paying for for the rest of the year, but I also know they are keen to go to cooking club, so I’m on the hunt for one of these. If your in the Eastbourne area and know of any, please let me know.

Other experiences we’ve brought them in the past, a overnight stay in a hotel and two days at Legoland. This was an expensive one so Grandparents chipped in. Tickets to Harry Potter World. It’s great when they have some to look forward to as well as open, otherwise the magic ends too quickly.

Lastly, they love a movie night, so for Christmas Eve I’m thinking of making them the ultimate cuddle on the sofa box, filled with unpackaged popcorn, hot chocolate and maybe even a takeaway pizza vouchers. Told you they love their food.

What about the younger kids?

The babies are easy. Let’s face it they don’t need much and of course other family members always buy more than they need to. Use Christmas as a great way to get things you know they have great fun with and use for the year. All of this can be done second hand. Facebook market place is a great tool and charity shops are the place to seek out books and games.

Did you know Father Christmas collects toys he has previously given from children that no longer need them? The elves recondition them and Santa gives them again to be loved once more.

I didn’t know this either but Santa’s pretty eco-friendly.

How about the extended family?

Mat once brought his Mum, his sister and a friend tickets to go clay pigeon shooting together….. They were horrified and he thought it was hilarious. But they actually had a really fun day as it was something they would never normally do.

We’ve given and received slightly less ridiculous ones too. Like High Tea, concert tickets, and the fore-mentioned dinner out.

One idea for the extended family we decided on last year was secret Santa with a £40 budget. That way you don’t buy everyone little things for the sake for it but everyone gets one lovely thing they want.

Hampers are a great idea for Dads. When your at a local food market, farm shop or grocers do they have local cheeses? Wines and Ciders? Cured meats you can buy over the counter that comes unpackaged? All would keep Dad’s happy over the festive season.

So start your lists now.

Start thinking, searching eBay, finding great brands. I promise you’ll feel like your winning at adulthood with your organised lists.

Hannah x