What is the best part of Christmas for you? The mountains of gifts? Or the memory of time spent with loved ones? Perhaps like me, you watch Love Actually every December and cry your eyes out. Maybe you love the placing of the note to Father Christmas, or the family cricket game after lunch. Whatever it is, I bet it is not the presents. Every year, many people spend enormous amounts of money, buying new stuff at Christmas time that nobody needs. There is so much waste, from the packaging to the carbon footprint of the gifts, to the unwanted items that break and end up in landfill. Not just reserved for the gifts, waste is part of the food consumption – throw away plates and cups, knives and forks; wrapping and more. This year, why not try to be a conscious Christmas participant, and try secondhand items and experiences instead.
The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre is committed to reducing waste going to landfill by encouraging reuse of everyday items. At The Bower, you’ll find everything you might need for Christmas – from extra tables and chairs for dinner party guests, to a refurbished bike for the kids. Or give the gift of knowledge and buy a Bower Gift Voucher for someone to attend a workshop including basic carpentry, furniture restoration and repair and introductory upholstery. You can find out how to shop their online store here
Their Bowerbirds have put together this guide for The Bower’s 12 Days of an Upcycled Christmas:
1. Upcycled Christmas Trees
If you are reusing a plastic tree over and over, then at least it is having a good life. You can find some in op shops too, where you can reuse and stop them going to landfill. Try a potted tree. We have a small potted tree that lives on the deck during the year, and comes in for Christmas. Or you can make your own with an upcycled tree made from reclaimed materials. This tree was made by The Bower using vintage timber fence palings. A great one to try!
2. DIY Christmas Decorations
Deck your halls with creativity! Reuse your decorations each year. It is part of the ritual to bring out the old decorations that the kids made. Or look for secondhand materials or items you no longer have a use for, such as CD’s! This CD Wreath was made by affixing discarded CDs onto the rim of an old microwave turntable. You can find our paper wreath project here.
3. The Great Christmas Baking Schedule
You can find all sorts of electrical appliances secondhand to help you in your Christmas cooking. Just make sure they are checked and tested by an electrical technician, like the ones at the Bower. Just right for making your Christmas pudding or festive treats, or gifting! Why buy new?
4. Make it a Cycling Summer
Kids ready for a bigger bike? The Bower has bikes a-plenty as well as all the spare parts to fix up a bike at home. If you need help, bring your bike down to the weekly Repair Café and they will get you back on two wheels in no time. Many cities now have repair cafes, including Adelaide.
5. Tricks of the Trade Workshops
Give the gift of knowledge and make someone’s New Year’s Resolution come true with a gift voucher for workshops on furniture restoration, upholstery and basic carpentry. You can find these at The Bower, or in your local area, check council and search online – there are plenty of options in most locations.
6. Cards Aplenty
It’s a thrill receiving Christmas cards in the mail but displaying them can be tricky, and many of us do not send them anymore. If you have lots of old cards lying around, try this Christmas tree card holder made by The Bower using reclaimed timber and clips from old conference lanyards. Or why not get creative with an old bike wheel and bulldog clips?
7. Standing Room Only
If you’ve got an influx of guests for Christmas then pop on down your local op shop or secondhand store. The bower have stacks of tables and chairs and offer a delivery service! Most local secondhand stores will have an abundance.
8. Crikey! It’s Kris Kringle Time
What do you buy for the family or workplace Kris Kringle gift? Sticking to a small budget is easy when you shop secondhand! You’ll find Christmas gifts galore including books, CDs and bric-a-brac.
9. Dinner for two……or ten
Avoid disposable plates and cutlery for your Christmas barbeques and parties. Op shop’s bric-a-brac prices are consistently low to make it affordable for everyone. Plates, glassware, cutlery and serving bowls are all here waiting for a new home. You can also find plenty of gift items such as vases, glasss, mugs and collectibles.
10. Easy Entertainment
Need a good book to read over summer? Or need some new tunes for your playlist? With a whole section dedicated to books, CDs and old records in most op shops and secondhand stores, you’re bound to find something to keep you entertained this summer!
11. Summertime……..and the living is outdoors!
If you’re planning a garden tidy-up for summer then secondhand stores and op shops can help you. Also try online such as Gumtree and garage sales. You can find pots, pavers, lattice and garden tools ready for green thumbed gardeners. When the garden’s looking great, take a seat in an outdoor chair to appreciate your hard work.
12. Last Minute Gifts? Don’t buy more stuff.
This Christmas, avoid waste by reusing wherever possible. By buying a secondhand gift, or giving someone an experience such as a day out together, a massage, or an adventure, you are making a massive difference to the amount of packaging, waste and unwanted gifts that will make their way to landfill.