And what to get the annoying person who hates “stuff”!
I recently turned 30 (okay, 40, I admit it) and was thrown a surprise party by my husband and friends. What a beautiful surprise it was, but the loveliest surprise of all was seeing how much my family and friends “get” me.
Coming out the closet
I’ve only really recently worn my heart on my sleeve as a really “out there” greeny. One of the hardest things about going green, and changing your mindset on the volume of “stuff” there is in the world, is what to do around gifting – what DO people buy a greeny?
What happens when the recipient genuinely hates to receive (I really do)?!
People love to give; it makes them feel nice inside and they get the buzz of a purchase. Over the last year or two I’ve got to the point that I no longer enjoy receiving gifts. I appreciate that people want to get me things but I genuinely dislike being the conduit for more “stuff” in the world and the associated packaging, CO2 and energy! Of course, not everyone has my point of view and I can see the conflict in that! I don’t want to upset these lovely gifting people but likewise, I don’t want to end up with things I don’t want or know what to do with. This societal pressure creates so much angst, guilt – and CO2!
And weirdly it goes both ways – I still feel the requirement to buy for other people even though I truly believe the whole idea of gifting has gone OTT! I try my best to buy responsibly with gifts that are genuinely wanted, or at least not irresponsible to the planet.
Luckily for me – my friends really GET this!
I wanted to share all of this in case it helps anyone else feeling like me, or who has to organise a party for someone like me 🙂
The Green Party Touches
After the initial shock, it was with great pleasure that I started to notice little touches all around me! For a start, a gorgeous homemade banner “Naomi is 40” – made with love and appreciated so much – all the more for its zero-waste nature but actually, it looked really cool and so much better than a plastic disposable banner.
My beautiful homemade birthday cake decorated with gorgeous and natural flowers! No balloons, streamers or plastic in sight! And a table laid out with delicious food that everyone had made and brought and done their utmost to make as vegan as possible.
First up – Fruit bushes & trees
Two trees and some fruit bushes for my garden. Now, this is something I can absolutely get behind – and so can the bees! Some lovely plants to munch that CO2 and, of course, to provide me with some food! A tasty source of healthy food which will provide packaging-free and chemical-free snacks for decades to come. Every time I look at these trees and bushes flourishing, I’ll have happy memories of where they came from.
A good friend took it upon themselves to rejuvenate my existing pots with some beautiful fresh flowers – a gift that will keep on giving all year, and that the bees will love!
Planter made from recycled material
Ah, getting something you love made FROM recycled plastic is just the best! Plastic saved from the biosphere and serving a lifelong purpose with me. Carbon capture at its finest!
A well-loved and completely appropriate book for me to read! What a perfect pressie, and a brilliant read. It’s hard to stomach that, in the ’80s, people could see what was coming with Climate Change but not enough was done… If this is something that interests you, it’s well worth a read. (I say that after only reading Chapter 1 so far – but that was enough to have me nodding my head and feeling angry!)
It’s a tradition in my family to club together to get a special gift when we turn 40. On this occasion, they commissioned a painting by a local and talented artist Jane McDonough of Whalligoe steps, my favourite place in the world and childhood haunt. Many a brooding teenage moment was spent gazing out to sea from the cliffs at Whalligoe and I will love and treasure that special painting for my lifetime, and pass it on.
A zero waste hamper
I barely know where to begin with the thoughtfulness of this hamper. The box itself, made of natural materials will be reused for sure in my kitchen. A bottle of prosecco – to celebrate the awesome hamper of course! Some home-made cookies which were wrapped in a reusable beeswax wrap and tied with twine – yum – were an amazing gift with reusable and natural packaging! Then a reused glass receptacle planted with mint, for me to make fresh mint tea. Some seashells made into little candles. If that wasn’t awesome enough, a voucher to try wakeboarding on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
Mmmmm – chocolate with responsible packaging
Some lovely chocolate by Green and Blacks which has fully recyclable packing, and it’s dark chocolate, so no dairy either! ++ environment!
Hands off my chocolate, Vader!
And this book from my lovely hub on how to use some of these amazing herbs that I plan on foraging, now I’ve had the training, including recipes for soap and other amazing uses around the house.
Bamboo Bath Book Rest
And where better to read a book than in the bath with a great new Bamboo bath book rest designed to keep your book / phone / wine dry as you have a soak.
And of course, a nice candle while in the bath! I loved that this was made from natural materials and had no packaging.
A voucher for a treatment! What an absolutely perfect gift to receive. The gift of time and self-love, which we all need. So happy to receive a gift which involved purely the exchange of energy. And btw, if you are local to North Ayrshire / Inverclyde, I highly recommend Emma Therapy! 🙂
Gin & Tonic
Of course, all my good friends know that I do enjoy a fine tipple! So happy to receive a consumable gift in recylable packaging: glass is 100% recyclable!
Yes you heard me!!! Actually, I have no idea if anyone didn’t get me anything but if they did – I was so grateful to have them there sharing with me and that was more than enough!
I felt loved, proud, and astonished by the thought that went into the presents and the whole experience of my birthday this year. Perhaps if you have a “green” friend or family member, this will give you some ideas on how to really make them smile too. Turning 40 ain’t so bad when you’re out of the green closet and loved because – and in spite of – it! 😀
Here’s a little recap of some great Little Green presents!
- consumables – especially in reusable or recyclable packaging
- plants & trees
- the gift of time / effort / presence
- second-hand books
- clubbing together to get something well-wanted – which otherwise wouldn’t be bought