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The Christmas season is upon us again and massive amounts of waste is being generated in the form of packaging, unnecessary items and gift wrapping. In fact, during holiday season, we generate 25 percent more waste than usual. For several years now, I have stressed to my relatives and friends that we do not need any material gifts in this house since all of our drawers and closets are already packed to the limit with stuff. Instead, on my wish list is quality time and services. I would love a new hair cut, quality dinner time with my man, or maybe a spa day. My children would certainly appreciate activities like concerts, a theatre play or a movie together with loved ones. In these hectic times, I feel that time is the most valuable thing you can give someone and frankly, giving gifts to adults seems unnecessary - they probably already have what they need.
If, for some reason, you are unable to give time, here are some tips that can help reduce the holiday waste load.
1) Make your own gifts. Bake sweets, sew an oven mitt or if your time is limited, by consumable goods like wine or chocolate.
2) Wrap your gifts in old magazines, boxes and cloth.
3) Shop in flee markets - everything does not have to be new!
4) Remember responsible shopping; sometimes it is necessary to buy something material but be aware of your choices! Choose natural materials, durability before price and choose certified products. Buy locally grown and seasonal products which support the local economy, need less packaging and have smaller ecological footprints.
5) When it comes to food; use leftovers for pizza, lasagna or tortilla stuffing and calculate how much food you really need before buying.
Here are some voucher ideas if you want to go with the immaterial gift:
1. A gift cards to a spa, massage, hair dresser, restaurant or adventure park.
2. Gift card to Itunes.
3. Movie tickets.
4. A voucher to Netflix or HBO.
5. Offer to be a nanny for a day, extremely appreciated among parents to young children.
6. A voucher to a cleaning service.
The contributors to this blog are the marine biologists Maria Koivisto (left) and Anu Riihimäki (right).