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Five tips for sustainable Christmas shopping

With Christmas around the corner, we're making a list and checking it twice. But Susanne Sweet, Associate Professor and Research Manager at Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum), wants to fill our stockings with gifts that make the planet – as well as the recipient – happy.

Here are her best tips for a more sustainable Christmas:

1. New memories.
Ditch the physical gifts and give your friends and family a new experience that you can share– and make some wonderful memories together. Why not go to a theatre play, art exhibit or a concert? Or volunteer for an organization helping the homeless, elderly, or homeless? Or invite friends over for dinner and play old fashion games like Monopoly, Card games or Word Feud (if you don't have any board games, you can get them second hand for cheap.)

2. Pre-loved is doubly loved.
Explore the many second-hand shops and sites available to find unique and pre-loved items. A lot of the fashion we see today is inspired by previous decades – so why not get the original versions? And by doubling the time we use an item of clothing we reduce the impact on the environment by 50 percent!

If you are considering buying more expensive gifts, like electronics, consider refurbished. Instead of the latest smartphone, why not the second latest that has been restored to almost new condition?

3. Make your own. 
Are you good at arts and crafts? Make your own Christmas gifts, reusing things you have at home or using thrifted materials. Give the curtains a new life as pillow or a tote bag. Those old towels? Reusable makeup remover pads.

4. Be thoughtful.
If you have decided on buying new stuff – be deliberate and thoughtful in making a choice that will truly make the person happy or fill a need that they have. Avoid buying things just for the sake of just giving something.

5. Give yourself a break.
Do you think that presents are overrated? Give yourself a break from shopping and spend some time reading all the books piling up on your nightstand or go for a long walk away from the Christmas crowds.

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