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Christmas

Shopping

Two women shopping and looking at a handbag

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Perhaps the easiest way to reduce our Christmas impact is to buy less 'stuff'. This doesn't mean becoming a Grinch—there are frugal but fun ways to do this.

You could try doing a Secret Santa or Kris Kringle with your loved ones or at your work—where people in a group are randomly assigned other members to whom they anonymously give a gift. This offers a way for many people to give and receive a gift at low cost to those involved. You could also choose this year to give gifts only to the children in the family or determine an upper limit on purchases, and stick to it.

Not everything has to be bought new. There are many great flea markets, estate sales and local craft fairs that are a great source for gifts like vintage jewellery and bicycles or early edition books. Choosing these options also supports local providers and sellers.

If you're keen to reduce the materialistic focus, you could buy a really practical present to help someone from any of our world's poorest countries to lift themselves out of poverty. You can purchase gifts like trees, animals, tools, educational podcasts, or even solar power.

Christmas time is a great time to teach children about giving to those who will be alone at Christmas or don't have the means to buy everything they'd like to give their children. You can share the spirit by asking your children to pick toys that they don't play with very much and donating them to a charity or putting them under a giving tree.

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