on Nov 12, 18

How to make this Christmas more Good and Green

By Hannah McKnight, a good gift giver and fan of The Good Registry

For me, Christmas is a very special time of year. It’s the one time my whole family comes together. I get to enjoy Mum’s spectacular cooking, the scent of pine, Dad’s guitar songs, silly hats and the joy of pulling out the decorations we made when we were kids for the tree. It’s also an opportunity for me to show the people in my life how much they mean to me by enjoying quality time together and sharing gifts.

For most of us, gift-giving is a big part of our Christmas holiday celebrations. Retailers rejoice in our shopping habits as our pile beneath the tree grows, often with beautifully wrapped items that we don’t really need — the ‘I had to get something’ gifts or the ‘must-have’ toys that soon make their way to the bottom of the toy box. Or even worse, into landfill! The season of giving seems to have become the season of shopping. I for one would like to see that change and so would my friends at The Good Registry!

This year, The Good Registry team is embracing the true spirit of Christmas by giving for good. As a Good Gift Card lover, I’m choosing to join them by giving gifts that not only benefit the people I care about but also do great things for community causes and our planet.

We’re calling this mission a ‘Good and Green Christmas’ and we’d love for you to come along on the journey.

To get you started, I’ve put together a guide on how to celebrate Christmas with gifts that truly do good for others and our wonderful land.

Read on and let us know how you’re celebrating a Good and Green Christmas this year in the comments, or using the hashtag #GoodGreenXmas.

The Good and Green Giving Guide'

1. Minimise your gift list

Not only will scaling down your gift list ease your Christmas shopping stress, it will also mean you spend less on items people really don’t need.

Work in with your family and draw from a hat to choose one person each to buy a gift for — like a Secret Santa. This way you can choose something truly meaningful and useful for that one person and free up your budget to select a gift that is high quality and will stand the test of time, rather than be discarded when the shine wears off.

2. Make it yourself

There is nothing quite like opening a hand-drawn piece of art, a photo collage in a frame or a home-made candle or scarf from someone you care about. Showing you care isn’t about fancy or expensive gifts — it’s about giving a gift you’ve put time and thought into. You can even make your own cards and wrap! And if you’re not particularly crafty or artistic (like me), get baking, grow some seedlings, pick some flowers — think outside the square.

3. Choose to give to charity

Not quite sure what to buy someone? Don’t give them an item for the sake of giving — give them the gift of goodness with a Good Gift Card from The Good Registry. They can choose which charity their Good Gift Card donation goes to and sending it is as simple as sending an email. Show you care and make someone feel good about giving to charity this Christmas.

If we all swapped just one $10 gift for a Good Gift Card, we could collectively give $47 million to New Zealand charities. Now there’s a gift with serious impact.

4. Say it with words

Telling people how you feel about them and why they’re so special to you means more than a gift ever could. Give the gift of thoughtful words. Let people know that you love them, you’re proud of them and highlight the special qualities you see in them. Write down what you wish for them for the coming year. We don’t hear feel-good messages about ourselves often enough, so take the time to put your thoughts about others into words that will make them feel truly special. Keep it eco-friendly by making your own card from recycled items or write an email.

5. Buy from local, ethical and socially-conscious brands

If you really must buy a ‘thing’, choose to buy from local, ethical brands that care about making a positive social or environmental impact. There are so many New Zealand brands that make items to benefit causes across the globe, while sourcing their materials and labour ethically. By choosing to buy local, you’re also backing the little creators of goodness who rely on your business to keep employing local people.

A few ideas from my favourite local brands in Christchurch (I’m a Cantabrian lass) include clothing from Little Yellow Bird or Style Dux, mascara from Indigo and Iris, bottle-free beauty products from Ethique, wooden toys from Kilmarnock Enterprises, and arts and crafts from Hapa.

6. Give eco-friendly gifts

Introduce interested friends and family to eco-friendly products you love this Christmas. Helping others discover plastic-free and waste-reducing options is one way you can do your bit for Aotearoa and our planet. Some of my gift plans for this year include shampoo and conditioner bars, beeswax wrap, reusable produce bags, stainless steel drink bottles, reusable makeup wipes and gym gear made from recycled bottles.

7. Give an experience or offer to help-out

The most memorable gifts are moments! Plan an experience for your loved one this Christmas or offer your support as a babysitter, cleaner or lawnmower to help out family members. This type of gift needn’t cost you a thing but your time — and time is the best gift of all.

8. Ditch or recycle the wrap

Unwrap those gifts carefully (resist the urge to rip and tear into them) and save the paper for next year. Gift wrap can be used over and over with a little care. Better yet, ditch the wrap entirely and get creative with newspaper, tea towels (as part of your gift), fabric scraps or re-usable bags.

9. Buy seasonal, local produce

Food plays an important role in the iconic Kiwi Christmas, so whether you’re roasting a turkey with all the trimmings, or going for a casual fish and chips on the beach approach, it’s important to think about where your food comes from. Buy from locals who source from locals. Grab organic produce from the farmers market rather than the supermarket. Choose meat from the local butcher — or try a meat-free Christmas to go even greener. Locally-sourced and organic food saves on carbon miles, is better for you and you can’t beat the taste!

10. Hire your Christmas outfit

If you’re like me and your family likes to dress up for Christmas and those once a year photo opportunities, choose to hire your outfit for Christmas day. There are so many places you can hire quality clothing online, rather than buying another item that will no doubt sit in the back of the wardrobe for the next year, and then end up going on Trade Me or in the clothing bin. Hiring means you’ll look fab without the extra expense and extra clothing waste. If it’s not your thing, head to the second-hand store to find a deal amongst the racks.

Share your ideas!

Got other ideas and tips on how to have a Good and Green Christmas this year? Share them with us in the comments. Let’s do this!

About the author

Hannah spends her days helping socially and environmentally-conscious brands and charities tell their stories through her business The Word Lab. Her work has inspired her to write about how to embrace a more giving and waste-free lifestyle, one simple step at a time. She believes that if she can change her habits with her hectic schedule, which also sees her travelling a lot — anyone can! She’s been backing The Good Registry since it began and is keen to see more people choose to swap their usual gift giving to make an impact by supporting charities instead.

How to make your Christmas more Good and Green with The Good Registry

The Good Registry isn’t anti-gifts — we just want to make sure every gift counts, and give people a way to pay the giving forward when that feels like the right thing to do!

We have created two simple ways to give, and receive, through our website this Christmas:

  • Create your own Good Gift Registry for Christmas and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose, instead of buying gifts. Once you create your registry, we'll give you a link to share with family and friends.
  • Give Good Gift Cards for your Secret Santa Gifts, stocking fillers, and for those hard-to-buy for family and friends... to enable others to make donations to charities they care about.

Share article


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Sign up for The Good Registry Newsletter