So, the kids are back at school, autumn is creeping in on us and now’s the time to start harvesting and stashing good stuff for the winter months.
If you haven’t got a flourishing veggie plot and tons of time to make jam, preserve vegetables and have baking days to fill the freezer, there are still lots of wonderful things you can do to ease the winter budget and up the family well-being.
Winter is an expensive time for many of us; higher fuel bills, more laundry, simply because we wear more clothes, and holiday festivities that seem to take forever to pay off. Plan ahead and save yourself a few headaches this year.
This year, think about giving green and avoid the piles of plastic gifts that eventually end up as land-fill (ouch!). A thoughtful natural gift will always be gratefully received.
Giving Green Ideas:
1. Take a woodland stroll with the family and collect fallen twigs and branches, or if you live near the coast, collect driftwood. Don’t go charging in with a chainsaw, just collect what has already fallen and will rot if not picked up. In this way, you help the undergrowth in the woods as well.
Use the branches or driftwood to make fun gifts for family and friends. If you don’t have time or don’t feel very creative, simply add a few dried grasses or flowers and a little silver or gold paint to create a table decoration.
It’s amazing what you can do with a small chunk of wood. You don’t have to have a carpenter’s degree or years of carving experience. And it doesn’t have to be perfect.
2. Plants are always a lovely gift but rather than going for exotic Christmas plants that are almost guaranteed to die before February, go for a selection of herbs instead.
Many of us buy fresh herbs in packets from the supermarket these days and they can be fairly expensive, so a few plants on the windowsill will reduce the cost and give us the variety of tastes we want without having to add to the shopping list.
Aloe vera is a wonderful herb to have on the kitchen windowsill. It’s not really a culinary herb – although aloe vera is included in many health drinks etc;. But best of all, the sap inside the leaves is perfect to treat minor burns… keep it in the kitchen! The great thing about aloe vera is that it doesn’t need much looking after, and it will, hopefully produce more baby plants as time goes on. Lots about Aloe vera here.
Pick up a plant from your local nursery or garden centre then re-pot into a decorative container. Write out or print a little information about the plant, and present as a naturally green gift this Christmas.
3. Arts and Crafts: cards, knitting, crochet, drawings, pressed flowers
Get creative with the kids and make home made greetings cards, print out photos, make collages. Don’t forget to use the digital technology in conjunction with creative pursuits. Printing out photos and decorating them with pressed flowers or bows, buttons or glitter will produce a unique gift that will definitely not be the same as anyone else’s!
Do you knit or crochet? There are hundreds of patterns online – and there’s time to get some gifts made while you relax in front of your favourite film in the evening.
Fun Knits for Beginners could get you started (listed here), or if you want to create your own eco-friendly toys for the kids, pop over to this page where you’ll find the full range of Ekokid patterns.
If needle-crafts aren’t your cup of tea, choose something that resonates!
Can you draw? Could you share your artistic talents and create unique gifts for family and friends.
Do you love to cut and glue things?! Get the kids involved and the ideas will flow.
Check out crafts and gifts other people have made on Etsy or pinterest or just Google ‘gifts to make’ or something similar. Even if you spend a few pennies now on a craft book, if you really have the intention of following through, giving green gifts this year will be inexpensive and your family and friends will be delighted with their one-in-a-million gifts. 🙂