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Smart ways to celebrate this year

This year has been extremely difficult for so many people due to the bushfires and the Coronavirus pandemic. You may be thinking about how you’ll spend time with your loved ones this festive season and how present giving can be more sustainable and less wasteful. It’s also a good time to give back to your local businesses, the community and to those less fortunate.

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Top present buying tips on a budget

  • Make a list of those you’re buying for.
  • Set a budget that’s within your means.
  • Start early to avoid buying the wrong and usually more expensive gift.
  • Look for savings and incentives online.
  • Suggest a group gift-giving approach such as ‘Kris Kringle’ or ‘Secret Santa’.

Smart gifting ideas

Gift buying during the festive season can mean a lot of waste through unwanted gifts, additional packaging and wrapping. Here are some ideas to lose the waste and think locally.

Remember who you’re shopping for

When gift shopping think about the person you’re buying for. Will they use the gift or will it sit in the bottom drawer or go in the bin and into landfill?

Buy local

Many small businesses have been doing it tough this year. Think about the shops in your local area and support your local businesses such as clothing boutiques, market stalls, small grocery stores and specialty food supermarkets, florists and newsagents. Or, think further afield and support rural communities, like those who sell through Buy From The Bush and similar platforms.

Support bands and artists

With so many restrictions on events this year and with venues now slowly opening up, your loved one may appreciate tickets to see a band, sporting event, art installation or the theatre. You’ll also be helping the Australian gig economy get back up and running.

Wrapping your gifts

This year, rather than using tradition gift wrap that ends up in the bin, consider wrapping your gifts in a festive tea towels or cloth napkins that can be put to use on Christmas day and beyond.

Another option is to use the paintings and drawings your children have created during the year as wrapping paper. They could also be used as Christmas cards.

Christmas trees – real or plastic?

You may think that buying a plastic Christmas tree is more environmentally friendly than cutting down a real tree.

The issue with this is that most plastic trees come from overseas manufacturers with a huge carbon footprint. They’re made of environmentally damaging chemicals and will eventually go to landfill. Plastic trees need to be used for at least 20 years to have a lower environmental impact than a real tree that’s been purpose-grown in a plantation for up to 12 years, helped produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

So this year consider buying a real tree or simply decorating your backyard trees or pot plants. You could even get creative and make a tree from household items like books, fairy lights and driftwood.

Giving to those less fortunate

Not everyone can afford gifts or afford to celebrate the end of the year, especially this year. During the festive season there are a number of ways you can give:

  • Make a one-off donation to a charity – this option is much easier these days as many charities allow you to give online. Don’t forget that any donation over $2 is tax deductible.
  • Give to a charity as a gift – if you know someone who is passionate about a particular charity or cause, consider buying them a donation to a charity as a gift. Some charities allow you to buy seeds, animals or fresh water to help people in poverty.
  • Start a sponsorship – if you want to contribute more than a one-off donation, you might want to think about sponsoring a child. This can be for children either overseas or in Australia.
  • Volunteer your time – if you want to give your time rather than money, volunteering is a smart way to give. If your company provides you with a volunteer day, make sure you use it before the year is up.
  • Donate food or gifts – donating food or gifts is a good option to help families who are not as well off as you. Look out for opportunities to donate at work, schools or shopping centres.

A very merry Christmas from us

To you and your family, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.

IOOF Christmas card