We've all been gifted something that's ended up being thrown out or discarded after a couple of weeks, and the extra rubbish produced around the festive period has a knock-on effect on the environment.
On a more positive note, gifting sustainably has gotten much much easier! Get some eco-friendly inspiration with these thoughtful experience gifts that are unique and personal whilst also having a lighter impact on the planet:
1. Make an organic lip balm with Seatox
If you're looking to gift someone skincare and beauty products but you want to be 100% sure what's in it, why not let them make it from scratch? Ocean-inspired vegan skincare brand Seatox have workshops that help people take their first steps into creating their own sustainable skincare.
They'll learn about natural dyes, scents, sustainable packaging, and the properties of different essential oils. Host Tess will also give guidance on sustainable beauty brands and how to continue on a journey of earth-friendly skincare.
-> Make an organic lip balm, £20 per adult*
* Child, student, and "bring a friend" tickets available.
2. Make a custom Japanese embroidered denim piece with Oxidate Design
Make someone something heartfelt whilst embracing the art of reuse, repair, recycle. Oxidate Design embraces traditional Japanese textile arts which have roots in mottainai (the concern of being wasteful).
This Boro Repair workshop will teach you the meditative art of sashiko embroidery using your own denim pieces that could do with a bit of love. Sashiko is the thing that you do and boro is the end result. The history of this art lies in the colder parts of Northern Japan where textiles were very scarce and boro was used to restore structure back to textiles and extend their life.
Visible repair is a sign that someone cares for their clothes and the planet it's also a great mindfulness practice. We have an intimate relationship with our clothes, and the act of fixing the wear-and-tear in order to fortify them and reimagine them stronger is a great metaphor for the attention, kindness, and work we do on ourselves.
-> Boro Repair Workshop - Fixing Denim, £35 per adult*
*Student, Senior Citizen, and Concession tickets available
3. Make a bird or bug house from recycled material with Black Paw
This experience is a wonderful gift for anyone that loves to garden or is a fan of British wildlife. Using all recycled materials they'll create a birdhouse or a bug hotel that they can proudly display in their little patch of nature.
Creating homes for our wildlife to live in is great for biodiversity, and it's a great way to start teaching children about ecosystems and the critters we live with.
In this workshop, your lucky person will learn some incredible upcycling skills that they'll be able to take home with them.
-> Make a bird or bug house from recycled material, £95 per adult
4. Discover natural yarn dyeing with Ria Burns Knitwear
This woolly experience is for your favourite knitter/crocheter! They'll join Bristol textile designer, Ria Burns, and discover how to naturally dye a selection of British wool yarns with homegrown and foraged plants and food waste.
They'll work with multiple different types of yarn (from different breeds and with different weights) including Ria's bespoke Mendip lambswool yarn to create seven mini skeins of custom-dyed yarn.
The finished skeins are perfect for knitting, crocheting, or weaving!
-> Discover natural yarn dyeing, £50 per adult
5. Wrap your gifts with an eco friendly alternative with Oxidate Design
Unfortunately, most wrapping paper is coated in plastic or glitter which makes it unrecyclable and means that it ends up in landfills. However, choosing to not go store-bought for your wrapping needs means that you can have way more fun and end up with something that looks far more showstopping under a tree.
Oxidate Design's upcoming Japanese Itajime Shibori ('kaleidoscope' dyeing) workshop can help you create some wonderfully unique dyed textiles which could then be used for furoshiki wrapping.
Alternatively, you could use your fabric to make beautiful soft furnishings, a tote bag, upcycle some clothing, or even simply frame the piece to hang proudly on the wall!
-> 'Kaleidoscope' dyeing: Japanese Itajime Shibori, £43 per adult*
*Senior Citizen and Concession tickets are also available.
6. Glass upcycling with scrap metal workshop with WTF Workshops
Know someone that can't help but peek into a skip as they go by? Know a magpie-like person that likes to pick things up and repurpose them? Then you have to get them this experience!
This two-day workshop will be led by them. They'll come with an idea for a sculpture or art piece to the workshop and the lovely hosts will help make that dream a reality. They'll be able to choose from lots of interesting pieces of scrap metal, coloured glass, bottles, jars and objects to play with!
They'll learn welding, cutting, grinding, braising, copper foiling, and cold working- phew! That's a whole lot of new skills to enjoy!