Tag Archives: christmas

10 Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas

bag-21467_960_720Christmas is a time of gift-giving but what are you going to give to your loved ones? It is easy to find gifts that are trendy and beautifully presented but … you may want a present that they will like longer than just a season, is not junk and is made in places and under conditions that you can feel good about.

Inspired by a few great blogs on the same topic from Econation, Sam Judd (New Zealand Herald) and the Sustainable Business Network, here are 10 sustainable gift ideas!

10 Ideas for Sustainable Christmas Presents

1. Give one good quality, durable gift.
Think about buying fewer, higher-quality presents that will last longer. Buy for life, not for trends.

2. Gift an experience or service rather than a ‘thing’.
A dinner, a movie, a high tea, a hair cut voucher. Or encourage your loved one to explore our beautiful environment by giving them a boat trip, a dive, or a whale or dolphin watching trip. Take them on one of the nine Great Walks. It does not need to be a massive expense either: what about a local experience, such as a boat trip to Quail Island, the ferry to Diamond Harbour, a picnic, or a camping trip to a DoC campground? Gifting a course can be wonderful too; think surfing/paddle boarding lessons, a pottery course, a defensive driving course, a chocolate making course. Or what about offering a service (performed by either you or a third party)? To clean their windows, dig their garden, service their car or fix that gate.

3. Give a sustainable/green/ethical/fair trade present.
Here are some websites/stores/ideas to help you in the right direction:

  • Cool gifts with a conscience: Humanity, Etico
  • Sitka sells amazing natural-fibre clothing, re-usable drink bottles and gift a portion of their profits to charityliminal-apparel_-26-691x450
  • Sustainable clothing or bags. These are some NZ based businesses: We’ar Clothing, Liminal Apparel, Chalky Digits, Kowtow, Cactus (durable outdoor clothing and bags), or Simply Jute. If you do want to buy from mainstream shops, do check out which ones treat their workers and the environment well – for an overview see here.
  • Buy books from Good Books: all profit goes to Oxfam and they offer free shipping!
  • Jewellery made from sustainable sources: e.g. Stone Arrow
  • Trade Aid shop
  • Cruelty Free shop: www.thecrueltyfreeshop.co.nz/
  • Coffee-related gifts (fair trade of course): e.g. Kokako or Addington Coffee Company
  • Give seeds, a plant or a tree: Seedlings and pot plants are a great present that will endure. Choose organic seeds or native plants that will encourage native birds and insects.
  • If you are into gimmicky presents choose something like a solar powered USB charger.

4. Gift a useful, practical present
Everyone has received (and given) useless, whimsical  presents – and they end up being thrown out. Useful, practical presents are much more sustainable. Think about items like food (supermarkets also offer vouchers), clothes or tools.  Or what about a beautiful kitchen knife that lasts a lifetime or durable camping gear? If you choose a less expensive practical item, this can still be very exciting, especially if it is a bit more ‘luxurious’ than the receiver normally allows themselves to buy (think personal care products, ‘special’ foods). Other practical ideas:

5. Choose a locally-made present
Buying locally made products (art, music, furniture, clothes, crafts, or foods such as jam, chutney, cheese) helps the local economy but also reduces the impact on the environment because the product did not have to travel far. Rather than supporting faceless multi-national corporations, you support local people, people you may know.

6. Give a second-hand presentPhoto credit: http://www.ecooutfitters.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/wrapping.jpeg
An obvious one. Perhaps not the quickest or easiest option, but definitely personal and unique. A vintage dress, old craft tools (available at many of the local markets and much liked by many a handy man or woman), a teapot, a second-hand book, a bike. Look in at your local opp shop, check out the garage sales, or use a website like Trade Me.

7. Give a home-made present
A personal touch often means the world. Make jam or preserves. Bake biscuits or cakes. Craft a wooden breadboard or carve a spoon. Give an artwork or knit a scarf. Infuse some oils to make essential oils. Record an audio book. Make jewellery. As Sam Judd at New Zealand Herald suggests: “If you are stuck for a concept, check out the Green Ideas magazine website, or simply search ‘upcycling’ on Google Images, Youtube or Pinterest for more project plans than you would ever need.”

8. Gift a donation
A wonderful option for those who have everything or don’t want anything else, is to donate to a worthy charity or initiative on their behalf. Some ideas:

9. Bees
Loved this suggestion from Sam Judd at New Zealand Herald: Buying, renting or building a beehive for a Christmas present is a gift that keeps on giving. “Aside from the fact that bees will produce delicious honey, they also add an estimated $5.1 billion to our economy through ecosystem services by pollinating crops so that we can eat fresh produce for our Christmas dinner. Beehive solutions is one of several excellent providers and there are even rental hives available as a cost-effective solution. You would be surprised how easy it is to have bees, even on small property. One of my colleagues lives in a tiny, urban flat and produces amazing Pohutakawa Honey out of his little back yard, which I have in my coffee right now. Delicious.”

10. Think about the wrapping
That huge pile of wrapping paper and packaging at the end of Christmas is really no good. Try to buy gifts with less packaging and instead of wrapping gifts in new wrapping paper, why not use reused or reusable wrapping materials: a piece of cloth, newspaper with hemp string, or old wrapping paper. For the last few rounds of birthdays and Christmas, for instance, we have used the same gift bags to gift our gifts in (rather than new ones, and instead of wrapping each gift in paper).

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone! Be kind, enjoy each other and be safe. More from us in 2017.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

Uni Pharmacy: Christmas sending dates

Did you know that the Uni Pharmacy is still open daily for all your health, pharmaceutical and Post Shop needs?

You can even post parcels from the pharmacy up to 5kg through NZ Post.

Here are the sending dates for Christmas:


The pharmacy is open Monday to Thursday 8.30am-5.30pm and Friday 9am-5.30pm.

Keep an eye on the Uni Pharmacy Facebook page for any updates or their website.

Have a blast this summer!

This summer is your opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, hang out with friends and family, and bathe in the sun! Here’s 5 insider’s guide tips for summer fun…

1. New years: whether it’s a getaway with some friends, a concert, or just a chill night with the fam, make it a night to remember! If you don’t have plans there is always a FREE New Year’s Eve event in Hagley Park which I’ve heard really kicks off once the Irish music starts!
2. Head into town and explore the botanical gardens:  chill out in the sun on Lazy Sundays listening to the sounds of local performers, or take a stroll through the rose gardens. Kayaking along the Avon is also an inexpensive and fun activity on a hot day!
3. Summer Theatre: relive your childhood with a summer theatre performance of Peter Pan.  Every year I find myself returning to watch the summer theatre’s newest production, as it makes for such a nice (usually warm evening), and is even better if you bring a picnic! This year’s performance is at Riccarton Bush, and is FREE which is even more of a bonus. There is also a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth held in the Mona Vale Gardens, tickets are $10-$12.
4. A Very Merry Scriptless: anyone who has seen the Court Theatre’s Scared Scriptless will understand just how hilarious improv comedy can be. To get you into the jolly Christmas spirit why not go to the Christmas themed show? Get in early as tickets sell out fast!
5. Cricket World Cup: I’m sure all you cricket fans are excited for the beginning of the 2015 cricket world cup (right here in CHCH!). The cup which is being jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia will showcase the world’s 14 best teams in a 44 day competition. See if you can grab some tickets!

Whatever you plan to do this summer make sure you make lots of memories, take heaps of photos and have a lovely Christmas break!

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