Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the most wasteful. And among heaps of wrapping paper and a depressing quantity of food that ends up in the bin, there is another villain of waste: Christmas presents. UK research has found that one third of gift recipients ends up sending their present to landfill, further adding to the monumental waste that humans are creating. Plus, we all know the disappointment of unwrapping a shiny package only to find something that we don't really want. To make sure your loved ones have a gift-opening moment full of festive cheer, master the art of mindful gift-giving. Here are some dos and don'ts to help you get it right.
Do...choose with care. Too often, we worry about how a gift will reflect on us, and the recipient actually becomes an afterthought. Really focus on the person you are giving the gift to, their wants, likes and dislikes. Ask yourself if they will get use out of the gift. Conversely, when you are on the receiving end, communicate your desires clearly – if we were all just a bit more honest about what we want and don't want, there would be many fewer unwanted gifts going to landfill.
Don't...go last-minute. Rushing around shopping centres (or crafts fairs, for that matter) on the 23rd of December or late-night browsing shopping sites for next-day delivery options is almost a guarantee to end up with a bad gift. Planning ahead might seem like it's adding another layer of stress to an already bursting calendar, but failing to prepare is, in this case, very much preparing to fail.
Do...support small, ethical brands. The shopping frenzy of the holiday season offers another opportunity to choose how to vote with your money. If you can, lend your support to the brands working to make their industries a better place and minimise their impact on the environment. Bonus: you will end up with quirkier, more unique gifts rather than that top from the high street that everyone has.
Don't...overdo it. Heaps of colourful parcels filling up every inch of space under the Christmas tree might look enticing – but do we really need mountains of gifts for every person in our lives? So many of us are already drowning under all the stuff we own. Just one gift, but thoughtfully chosen, is likely to be more memorable.
Do...support a good cause with your gift. Some ethically minded brands make donation a part of their business model, meaning that part of your money will go to a charity. We are proud to be such a brand. Choosing the Atlantis or Sofie limited-edition designs from our boot collection – as well as any other A Perfect Jane design – means that you will also be supporting Melief, an animal sanctuary in Germany that cares for over 1000 animals.