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Need to do some last minute Christmas shopping? Here are some ideas on how to do it sustainably

Need to do some last minute Christmas shopping? Here are some ideas on how to do it sustainably

Christmas has a habit of creeping up on you, doesn’t it?

Before you know it, it’s a few days before Christmas and you’ve yet to get your family their presents, let alone think about what you’re going to get them. Everyone’s in the same boat - the shops are jam-packed, most things are out of stock, and you’ve run out of time to order something online and have it delivered on time.

You begin panicking. You can’t show up to the family party empty-handed, can you? And you don’t want to be that person who rocks up with wine from the bottle-o next door, nor do you want to succumb to another generic gift that will probably just end up as waste anyway.

Shop at the Op

Despite contrary belief, opportunity shops and second-hand stores offer a paradise for Christmas shopping… especially when you’re out of ideas on what to get.

BehaviourWorks Australia’s Dr Kim Borg, who has committed to leading on one of our most recent multi-partner collaborations, the Responsible Consumption Mission, suggests, “You can get some really good, high quality and branded stuff… but because they’re not coming straight out of the store, you can get great bargains on good-as-new stuff… you can even find some things that still have the price tag on them!”

The Responsible Consumption Mission aims to uncover research to support Australia’s target to reduce the total waste generated by 10% per person by 2030 in accordance with the National Waste Policy Action Plan. Shopping second-hand gives perfectly good items a second life and offers consumers an opportunity to contribute to the circular economy, and in the case of shopping at charity shops, give back to the community, whilst getting great deals on products that are unique and in great condition. 

Plus, more often than not, your local second-hand shop is going to be pretty empty compared to department stores, and packed with rare finds from those partaking in Christmas donations and end-of-year clear outs.

Re-purposing and re-gifting

As the saying goes: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Have a look around your house. Is there anything you’ve barely used, never used, or even still in its original packaging? Instead of it going to waste, why not gift it to someone who could give it a new life?

“For example, for parents, toys and clothes are especially notorious. Kids grow out of their clothes, and get bored of their toys, within months because they’re developing so quickly.” Dr Borg suggests that, instead of throwing out clothes or toys their children have grown out of, parents should gift them to other parents.

This technique also saves you the hassle of competing with the rest of the last-minute-shopping crowd… double win.

Becoming a trend-setter

If the thought of Christmas shopping (and the holiday period in general) stresses you out, why not avoid the anxiety and breakdown by normalising more sustainable gift-giving practices among your friends and family?

Instead of your regular buy-one-gift-per-person tradition, why not start a Kris Kringle? Or, even better, incorproate a Kris Kringle style ‘regifting’ for next year’s festive season? Having adopted this approach at BehaviourWorks Australia’s Christmas parties for the past four years, we can confirm this can be a very fun tradition! 

“It’s a fantastic, sustainable and entertaining way of doing gift-giving where most of the time you end up with something that’s useful for you (after a little bit of trading) that would have gone to waste if it had stayed with its original owner… On the other hand, you may end up with something that’s a little less than useful. But you can always bring it back to next year’s Kris Kringle event and get a laugh out of people.”

It definitely beats your regular gift-giving tradition of playing the guessing game of ‘who’s going to like what’ or getting generic gifts that people may end up shoving to the back of their closet or bin anyway.

Remembering what the spirit of Christmas is all about

In most cases, we’ve allowed Christmas to become a time of decadence. We’ve let our guard down, ignored our responsibilities and accepted that it’s going to be a period where sustainability can be ignored just because it’s too hard to do otherwise.

But that doesn't have to be the case. If we just step back and remember what Christmas is supposed to be about: family, charity, generosity, and kindness, it's clear that sustainable gift-giving is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

And on that note: BehaviourWorks Australia wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy searching.

See you in the New Year!

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