After a year like no other, 2020 is coming to an end with a slightly unusual festive season. We won’t be visiting Santa’s grotto or bustling Christmas markets, but we can all find a special way to celebrate this Christmas.
This year visits to parks, woodlands and beaches gave us a welcome escape from our homes. More people than ever discovered the importance of our countryside. Give back to nature this Christmas by considering the environment as you pick out gifts for your loved ones.
Local independent businesses have had a tough year and they need our support more than ever. While lockdown might have tempted you to turn to online shopping, most local businesses have put in place online and click and collect options as they adapt to the new normal.
If you buy from a local business you will be supporting the local economy and reducing your carbon footprint. No shipping means less air pollution, and local jobs mean people don’t have to travel further to work or shop (creating more air pollution)!
A few of our favourites around Kent are:
Marie’s Emporium, Gravesend – tea, coffee, soaps, bath salts all sustainability packaged and excellent quality.
Bare Bazaar, Ashford – plastic free products from households necessities to food.
Made in Folkestone, Folkestone – online website selling all sorts of locally made items and art.
Think about how products are packaged. Does that bath and body gift set need three layers of plastic around it? Lots of businesses have made a move towards more sustainable packaging – it should be recyclable and the less of it the better!
The same goes for wrapping your gifts. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable as it contains glitter, foil or plastic. If you scrunch up wrapping paper and it unfurls on its own, then it’s not recyclable. Make sure you choose recyclable paper, or something reusable, like gift bags or fabric.
A lot of us have too much stuff already, so why not gift an experience instead? You can buy gift vouchers for a whole range of experiences online, from spa days to zoos to adventure holidays. One of our favourites for an active gift is a trip down the River Stour with Canoe Wild.
Or if you fancy giving a more educational and edible gift experience then why not buy a cooking class for a loved one, the Kent Cookery School is located near Ashford and hosts a variety of classes from perfecting your macaroons to making a perfect pad thai. The memories of a special day out will last a lot longer than a box of chocolates!
Make your own
Give presents a personal touch by making your own. The time and effort put into a special project can be much more meaningful than an expensive gift. Knit a scarf, redecorate an old photo frame, make candles, sweets and more.
Moral Fibres, a sustainable lifestyle blog, suggest 10 homemade Christmas gift ideas that might inspire you to try your own DIY gifts. You can also make your own Christmas decorations, like this Christmas wreath.
Give your time
If you live far away from your friends and family, or have vulnerable relatives, you might have felt lonely and isolated this year. Go for a walk with someone (socially distanced), talk on the phone or play some party games on a video call.
Tier 3 guidelines are in place in Kent and we need to be responsible this Christmas, but the best gift someone could get from you might just be a few hours of your time.
Check out more eco-friendly Christmas tips from Explore Kent.