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This year has flown by and I can’t believe we’re less than a week away from Christmas already! It’s been an incredible year with so much going on – the #EthicalHour tribe has grown rapidly and we’ve met some brilliant brands who are having a real impact.
Last week, Abi from Global Action Plan joined me on the #EthicalHour podcast (have a listen above!) to talk all about having a more ethical and meaningful Christmas. On Monday they sponsored the last #EthicalHour Twitter chat of the year (a good excuse for a bit of a Christmas party!) and everyone had some fantastic takes on how they’re making their Christmas more ethical – from giving experiences to shopping ethical instead. They’ve shared a roundup with us and it’s full of plenty of tips to have an ethical Christmas your way…
They say it’s ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but when you delve into the statistics behind Christmas it’s not so magical – especially for our planet!
In 2016, UK adults received £2.6 billion worth of unwanted Christmas presents. That’s a lot of presents that end up gathering dust in our cupboards or worse still, in landfill. Not only that, but 1 in 4 UK parents are planning to go into debt this Christmas to pay for those presents.
At Global Action Plan, we think Christmas could be losing its magic.
Gone are the days where Christmas was all about fun, seeing friends and family and celebrating… instead Christmas is all about spending money and buying presents. That’s why we developed our Christmas campaign ‘Elfless Acts’ which is all about putting the magic back into Christmas and giving the gift of your time (not stuff).
But how do you give the gift of your time?
What makes an experience a good one?
Won’t is cost a lot of money?
Don’t I have to physically hand them something on Christmas Day?
Worry not! We’ve already asked ourselves all of these questions and here are our tips on how to give a great experience this Christmas:
1. Create something good
The great thing about experience gifts is that they are personal. Think about the person you’re planning to give the experience to and ask yourself:
- What things have you enjoyed doing with them in the past? (Recreate those moments – did you once go for tea and cake or eat fish and chips on the beach together?)
- What special interests do they have, or what do they always talk about? (Are they really into a certain sport, or nature? Why not take them to see a match, or go with them to a different national park each season?)
- Is there something new you think they’d like to try? (Is there a free museum they haven’t visited, a random art exhibition you think they’d enjoy – or enjoy giggling about with you?)
We have lots of ideas on what these experiences could be on our website.
2. It doesn’t need to cost the Earth…or in fact anything
An experience present doesn’t need to be a holiday, concert or theatre tickets – you don’t need to break the bank! Little things can be just as memorable and precious. Why not try giving:
- A random act of kindness every day for a year
- A beer in the fridge every Friday
- A knitting or baking lesson – teach someone how to make your signature cake or make a scarf!
- A treasure hunt!
- A hand-painted or hand drawn gift
- A picnic in the park
The key to giving an experience is framing it right. Make it funny, make it kind, make it personal… If you’re really worried about physically handing them a gift on the day – then give them something! Write out a beautiful card or ‘voucher’ for your loved one, or go one step further and box it up! Use a cardboard box, put your voucher inside, wrap it up and stick a bow on top!
Giving an Elfless Act is a super fun, easy way to give the gift of your time and not stuff at Christmas. To find out more, or give your Elfless Act go to http://www.elflessacts.org.uk.
Once you’ve given your Elfless Act, why not ask for one back?
Direct your loved ones to the Elfless Acts website, or try out one of the great alternative wish lists available online. The SoKind Registry allows you to make a list of things you want – stuff, time, second hand, brand new – and share with friends.
Or if the experience you want is a big one, we love the idea of the Patchwork registry which allows people to chip in together to buy a gift.
Thanks to Global Action Plan for helping us have a more meaningful Christmas. I’m looking forward to giving some #ElflessActs and am hoping to get some myself in return – I’ve asked friends to give up plastic straws as a small step to less plastic in 2018. What will you be giving and doing over the holidays? Don’t forget to tweet us and tag us!
To everyone who has been part of #EthicalHour this year and supported us to live and work more ethically, grow the tribe and be the change, I’d like to say thank you, and wish you all a very merry Christmas!