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Five top tips for a money-saving, eco-friendly, joy-spreading Christmas!

Christmas is a magical time for many, but for some it can be lonely, and for others it can be really CRAZY!

There can be a load of stress, extra expense, and too much expectation surrounding Christmas, and it can be a challenge just getting through "the most wonderful time of the year" with our ideals and our wallets intact. So, with that in mind, I've compiled a list of my five top tips for a joyful, ethical and eco-friendly Christmas ... Here's how to save money, protect the planet, and spread joy all at the same time!

Kylie and Clover at Christmas

1. The Christmas tree

For years my husband would chop down a bunch of pine trees from a friend's farm, and deliver them to our neighbours and friends (and one for us too) because we loved the smell of a fresh-cut tree, and a plastic one never appealed to me ... BUT then I came up with a great idea whilst visiting friends on a citrus farm ... I chopped a branch off one of the dead trees, sanded it, spray painted it, and we've had it for years!  Citrus branches are fantastic because they have loads of nobbly bits which make hanging the decorations super easy! Here's a pic of mine last year, covered with our treasured decorations that we've collected over a life time, so not exactly stylised, but full of memories and yes, JOY!
There are so many ideas on Pinterest for making your own Christmas Tree using recycled materials, I'd love to see what you come up with!

home made Christmas tree

 2. Christmas wrapping

Most years we make our own wrapping - and it's so much fun! We have rolls of kraft butchers paper which over the years has been decorated in so many ways; from potato stamping to painting, tying up with brown string and popping a sprig of rosemary on it. This is a great blog post for creative ideas for wrapping gifts using kraft paper. 

hand decorated wrapping paper using kraft and string

3. Gifting to others

Last year my family decided we didn't need much, so we wrapped up a bunch of presents for a local women's shelter. Our local CWA was delivering on Christmas eve, so we made sure we'd dropped them all off by then, and each gift had an age-group guide, and we felt SO GOOD gifting in this way. There are so many places you can donate to, and I found this great blog post which Mamamia wrote with a list of charities you could choose from.

4. Christmas cards

If you are a family who love to send cards and to receive, then try Christmas cards this year from an organisation who support artists with a disability. Avenue FairTrade is a great place to start, but there are many more if you google. Since our daughter was born, we've made our own cards using a family photo that we take in November, print as many copies as we want to send out, and pop in a Christmas letter, sharing all that we've been up to for the year (not all our family and friends are on facebook!) Other fun ideas are e-cards and elf yourself - the whole family can have a laugh making these!
*Remember to put all your cards into the recycling bin after Christmas or use them for craft or donate to your local childcare, kindy or school for their crafts. 

5. Christmas gifts

There are many different ways to gift ... from home-made treats such as body scrubs, sweet treats like fudge and coconut ice or bliss balls, experience-type gifts such as vouchers for shows, concerts, movie tickets or buying gifts for loved ones, teachers and neighbours. By shopping fair trade and ethically, you're making an impact on more people's lives, not just on the person you're gifting to. Here at Rainbows and Clover you can find gifts for babies, parents-to-be, toddlers, kids and tweens, and everyone in between! From our rugs and canopies for bedrooms, teepees and eco toys for imaginary play, and baby bags and change mats for outings, the options are many and varied, and use all natural fibres such as felt, cotton and wood. Enjoy exploring our gift ideas, designed in Bangalow NSW, and made fair trade in Vietnam, India and Nepal.

christmas gifts for all ages ethical and fair trade at rainbows and clover

For many years, my mum has made her own Christmas crackers, and each one is personalised and contains our gifts, with vouchers, tiny bottles of booze for the adults (I love a mini Baileys!!!) jokes, funny paper hats, and loads more. She's very clever at fitting everything inside each one, and the outside is made out of a table mat, which we then use at the Christmas table! She's a clever one, my mum! They even have the real snapper, so we get the full effect of pulling the cracker!

home made christmas crackers with gifts inside

I could go on forever ... there are so many awesome eco-friendly, ethical and fair tade ways to create a magical Christmas! It just takes a little creative thinking, a little bit of mindfulness, and the desire to give JOY.

Love, Kylie xx

... who can't wait to sing a LOT of Christmas songs throughout December! ;)

 fun at christmas time with family games

Some sobering facts about waste at Christmas time;

*Australians are expected to spend about $10 billion on food over the Christmas period, but a staggering 35 per cent will be wasted and end up as landfill. ABC News.

**A recent Australian survey by McCrindle Research has shown that 78.5% of Australians have received a present that they didn’t want. 13.7% of people will throw away these unwanted presents – meaning they go unused from manufacturer to landfill. Clean Up Australia.

Click this link for ideas from the ABC on what to do with Christmas waste.


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