Like most families with young children, my husband and I find the thought of Christmas shopping a little bit daunting. Or at least, we would do, if we were not also conscious about the environment. My husband is a Chartered Waste Manager, and he knows the waste industry inside out, upside down, back to front and every other way. Basically, he knows what happens to all of that wasted food, discarded packaging, and unwanted gifts that many people simply throw away. And we do not wish to contribute to all of this any more than we have to.
We do have young children, however, and so we cannot deny them the pleasures of receiving gifts at Christmas. We wouldn’t want to. They are learning that Christmas (or Yule) is about spending quality time with family and friends, and catching up with people that we don’t see very often. But we also want to give them some treats, and reward their good behaviour. So we came up with a brilliant, and very simple, solution. Many of our Christmas gifts are purchased second-hand. One of my favourite hobbies is to visit charity shops and see what bargains I can pick up. In that way I have amassed a small mountain of gifts, all in excellent working order, that I can give away to our family and friends.
In buying items that are second-hand and in good condition, we reduce the amount of excess packaging that goes to landfill, and of course, we reuse the unwanted items and give them to people that appreciate them and can make use of them. Perfect! I also found a selection of fabulous Christmas decorations on a recent charity shop visit, along with an absolutely gorgeous Monsoon party dress that is just perfect for my baby niece. Of course, there are some occasions where we buy new items, but we are always mindful of the packaging content, and my husband will not allow anything to go in the general waste bin if it can be recycled. He even collects old wrapping paper and rubbish from our family and friends on our visits, so that he can recycle it properly. I love him!
And let’s not forget the purpose of the charity shop. In buying my gifts and trinkets from places such as Cancer Research UK, Barnardos, Headway and St Luke’s Hospice, I am doing my bit to donate funds for very valuable and necessary help for people in need. That’s a winner all round, I’d say. Merry Christmas, my friends!
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .