How to have your own 'Consumable Christmas'
If you read my previous post, you’ll know that my goal this year was to do a “Consumable Christmas” with the intention of having a more sustainable holiday season.
Everything that I was planning on gifting to friends and family would, in some way or another, be consumable. It also wouldn’t include any plastics.
I opted not to use wrapping paper for any of the gifts, as many wrapping papers cannot be recycled due to the wax or glossy coatings. Instead, I used reusable glass jars for many of the gifts and decorated them with some fresh eucalyptus from my garden that is somehow magically still alive.
I also used recycled tins that I had for cookies and spiced nuts. One was from a trip to Ireland, and another was one that I’ve had for years, moving it from home to home - both of which felt really special to decorate and pass on because they had meant something to me.
Since my family celebrated Christmas two weeks early, so I can officially share some of the consumable gift ideas that I mentioned in my previous post.
With the help my dad, I made these all-natural soy candles from recycled jars. Over the past few months, I’ve been secretly making my friends smell certain scents to see which ones they liked best as part of my ploy. Rosemary + sea salt and forest fir were the winners. There’s a candle shop nearby my dad’s home, so they have all the necessities readily available, but I’m sure other places like this exist elsewhere.
Pinecone fire starters
These were made for my brother and his wife, as they have a lovely home with a fireplace. They’re made with the same wax used to make candles, and a wick is wrapped around the pinecone before the dipping starts. It’s a bit time consuming to get the layers to build - but in a nice, meditative sort of way.
Ginger crinkle cookies
My dear friend made this recipe for our wedding cookies, and I haven’t stopped dreaming about them since June. The clove and ginger make them feel extra festive. Tap for the recipe here.
One of those “little effort but big return” kind of gifts. Cayenne gives them the right amount of kick, and they are great to snack on when you feel like you’ve had too many holiday sweets. Plus, they look really nice when finished. Recipe here.
Homemade vanilla sugar scrub
Because if anyone needs self-care, it’s during the holidays. Recipe here.
I could go on and on about my feelings of the overuse of plastics, especially around the holidays, so I also wanted some Christmas decorations that were more sustainable for the environment. I made an orange garland by slicing oranges about 1/4 inch thick and baking for about 2-3 hours on 200F. I used some twine to string them together.
The orange slices can be used as bird feed after the holidays, or you can grind the dried peels into powder for marinades, flavored salts, or sugar scrubs. Use the citrus part to flavor teas.
There were some consumable items that I did buy instead of make, those of which were purchased local - like specialty marshmallows from a chocolate boutique nearby as well as coffees and teas.
Unexpected (yet delightful) outcomes of a Consumable Christmas:
I wasn’t stressed about what to “get” people. Instead, I simply thought about what I knew the person liked. I’ve had a whole year (more, technically) to pay attention to what others liked. The type of coffee they preferred, the way they spend their evenings, the scents that they are drawn toward.
In addition, everyone was surprisingly on board with the idea - and my family even got into the same spirit of making things.
It didn’t feel like I was blowing money on gifts that I knew people wouldn’t like. There’s nothing worse than forking over your money for a gift just to have one to give, knowing it will mean next to nothing to them.
Finally, because the gift-giving didn’t dominate the day, we had so much more time together. We had a lovely dinner and then gathered around our cozy living room filled with candles and twinkly Christmas lights. Whiskey and wine were poured, and we just sat and talked - it was one of my favorite moments of the year.