Christmas is definitely a time for over consumption from presents wrapped in yards of festive paper, plastic coated gifts bags and the hundreds of sparkly Christmas cards and yards of tinsel that end up in land fill all over Bangkok. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, by being a little bit more mindful during the festive season you have a zero waste Christmas without being the proverbial Christmas Grinch!
There are so many small ways we can reduce our environmental impact in the festive season. And if enough of us are aware, and trying, that can add up to a big difference.
Here are our top tips for greening your Christmas presents and decorations.
Give an experience
Have they been begging you to visit Kidszania? Perhaps they’re a climbing addict and would be in heaven at Flight of the Gibbon in Chonburi or Chiang Mai? You could even be thinking big about your holidays next year and planning a trip to Disneyland Tokyo.
Whatever your child loves to do, think about things you could do as a family that connect with that. What are the simple pleasures they get really excited about enjoying? Give them vouchers for these. An envelope served alongside a Swensen’s cake with vouchers for visits in the year ahead should go down a treat with ice cream lovers. Cinema vouchers are a great option for film buffs, and if your kids are creative they should appreciate an afternoon out at The Paint Bar.
Whatever you go for there will be excitement and also a reduction in packaging and waste – win win!
Help Them Learn and Grow
Being in Bangkok opens up some unique learning experiences for your children. Depending on what they enjoy, you could invest in a course for them to develop their skills in an area they enjoy.
- Muay Thai – Grand Master Toddy explains the benefits for kids here. You can also browse the sports classes section on our site.
- Dance classes – browse a huge range on offer on our website.
- Art classes – try Paron School of Art
- Learn to surf at Flow House, Bangkok.
- Photography (which could be combined with their first camera); there’s a children’s course available online with Udemy
Eco friendly Stocking Fillers
If you’re keen to leave a few presents to unwrap under the tree, there are some wonderful wooden nature based toys available – both biodegradable and longer lasting than their plastic counterparts. Little Legend are one of the world’s leading wooden toy brands, with most items made from reclaimed rubber wood. Sustainability is key to the company’s ethos.
Do you need to buy that roll of wrapping paper? Often it contains a laminate covering which isn’t actually recyclable. Instead, you could wrap presents with newspaper or other discarded paper – perhaps forgotten paintings by the kids, or old maps you were planning to get rid of. Make tags out of last year’s greetings cards – there’s a whole game in finding the best patterns to use. Tie parcels with twine or scraps of ribbon from your crafting box to finish the rustic look.
There’s plenty of fun to be had crafting Christmas decorations. But rather than buying new, single use materials think about what you could make that’s biodegradable. The kids should enjoy a session baking gingerbread decorations to hang on the tree or crafting ornaments made from nuts, shells or popcorn strands. We love these gingerbread houses but any Christmas shapes can work well – just remember to poke a hole in the top before baking (and make extra for guzzling).
From reindeers made from old wine corks to bunting made from old Christmas cards, there are some seriously fun and creative designs out there that can hold their own against any shop bought decorations.
Our absolute favourite is this creative use of old baubles. Rather than throwing them out when they’re looking a bit tired, transform them into Star Wars bb-8 ornaments. The ideal afternoon’s crafting for Star Wars loving kids.
Find more ideas for crafting from recycled materials with kids here. Note: glitter is a microplastic, so if you plan to get sparkly with your ornaments, consider investing in a biodegradable variety such as Eco Stardust. As it has to ship from the UK, offset the carbon by bulk buying with friends.
Whatever you’re up to this festive season, have fun making, doing, and enjoying family time. Memories are the most eco-friendly gift of them all!
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