Eco-friendly Parenting: How to Gift More Sustainably this Holiday Season

Black Friday sales have started, which is a sure sign that the holiday season is coming right up! If you celebrate Christmas, you may even have taken advantage of Black Friday sales to buy your loved ones their gifts in advance. What's Christmas without gifts right?

Christmas tree with baubles

While it hasn't always been like this, Christmas has long since become associated with shopping and gifting, even in Singapore. The holiday is no longer just celebrated for religious reasons--it isn't uncommon for non-Christians to buy Christmas trees to decorate their houses, gather and hold gift exchanges among their friends and family.

We love the idea of gathering and showing love, but how much waste is produced celebrating the consumerist parts of this season! As parents practising sustainability, how can we continue to show our love yet also help to reduce the amount of waste we produce?

Wrapping paper

In this blog post, we'll share some sustainable gifting ideas that you can consider for your Christmas gifting this year. (No, we're not recommending that you give up gifting completely!)

Gift Experiences, Not Items

Instead of a new toy for your child or a new pair of shoes for your family member, consider gifting entry tickets to the S.E.A. Aquarium or buying them a pottery session that you both can attend together.

Bungee Jumping Experience

From the sustainability perspective, gifting experiences helps avoid creating extra waste. In most cases, if the recipient is an adult, you can simply email them the entrance tickets or confirmation email to the experience. If the recipient is a child, showing them the website and booking a date with them can help them look forward to the experience you will soon share!

If you're still not convinced, here are some non-environmental reasons receiving experiences can be a better gift than an item.

Ask For & Create a Wishlist

And of course, make sure you gift what's on the wishlist!

This helps avoid a situation in which a recipient has no use or interest in a gift at all. In such cases, the gift usually ends up in storage for a number of years, then goes to the landfill.

Dear Santa Wishlist

While we might already prepare and refer to wishlists with our close friends and family, this tip should also be applied to all the occasions we play "Secret Santa" with acquaintances or in the office. It is particularly important if there is a budget that prevents us from buying anything that the recipient could really want. Here, a wishlist could contain snacks that the individual enjoys eating, or accessories that they currently need. I, for one, would rather receive 4 packets of prawn crackers I can actually eat than yet another soft toy I didn't want.

Do Away with (Elaborate) Wrapping

If your recipient really wants a physical item for Christmas this year, you don't have to disappoint them by insisting on an experience. Instead, you can still help to reduce waste by doing away with elaborate wrapping. 

Exchanging gifts in your own home? Great--you get to set the rules! Let everyone know that there will be no wrapping paper this year. If you'd still like to keep the suspense, get creative! Suggest wrapping with newspaper, magazine paper, used delivery packaging--anything you can get your hands on, as long as it does not involve buying wrapping paper just for the occasion.

Avoid Purchasing with Delivery

Delivery packages and boxes

From additional packaging to same-day delivery, shopping for your gifts online can result in them being less sustainable than purchasing them from the store. Consider purchasing from companies that offer sustainable packaging options. Alternatively, have your package delivered to your nearest pick up location so that you can drop by on foot to help reduce the carbon footprint instead.


At Bambino, we are committed to helping parents with their sustainable practices. Sign up for a baby clothing subscription box today to help reduce textile waste in our environment!

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