If you've been part of the Mini-Cycle community for any length of time, you probably value buying things sustainably, and secondhand, or pre-loved, as we say. So why should the Holidays be any different?
When it comes to needing new items for each season and size, you might not think twice about buying used items, but for some reason at the holidays, we re-think this practice. Often we view birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other gift-giving holidays as the times when we need to present the perfect, brand-new gift, despite shopping pre-loved all year round. If this is important to you, feel free. We source the most timeless, durable, and sustainably made children's clothes from beloved brands such as Organic Zoo, Tiny Cottons, The Simple Folk, and Bobo Choses. However, would you permit us to make a case for buying pre-loved, even for the Holidays?
We truly believe the best way to live sustainably is to limit as many "new" things as possible, as each new item represents a carbon footprint of production and transport. Our Pre-loved shop is full of special outfits and daily basics for babies, children, and women. We have an incredible selection of moccasin slippers, swaddle blankets, and winter accessories, and all have been gently used with lots of life left in them. Will a baby or toddler know or care that their gift wasn't bought new? Of course not! And think of the teaching moments with older kids when you choose pre-loved for them in an effort to live sustainably.
So many beautiful traditions and memories require zero carbon footprint at all. Resist the urge to buy new decorations each year and instead re-live the nostalgia each year. Instead of buying chocolate Advent calendars, make or buy a fabric or wooden one that you can reuse annually, the same goes for Christmas stocking. We are delighted to have Liewood's Basil Christmas Stocking for sale this year, if you're looking for one.
Instead of an artificial tree which is made from plastics that take hundreds of years to break down, opt for a real tree, which is a renewable resource and happens to smell incredible. The tradition of hunting down the perfect pine will stay with your children for a lifetime!
Simple practices such as swapping out traditional wrapping paper for truly recyclable gift wrap make a significant on waste. If you're unsure if your wrapping paper is recyclable, here's a tip: anything with glitter, gold, or shiny finishing is not recyclable. Bows and ribbon aren't either. Craft paper, old newspaper, and upcycles paper bags are a great option. Remember, it all ends up in crumpled mess on the floor anyway!
Immaterial gifts or experiences are the most sustainable option, but what's more, they're usually the most memorable too. Consider a family outing, a museum pass, tickets to the ballet or cinema, or gifting a class such as pottery, art, karate or yoga. It will probably require some explaining and preparing for children who are used to receiving many material presents over the holidays, but it will be worth it to see them grow into adults who value relationships and experiences over things, and who consume consciously.