I’m dreaming of a green Christmas: where it really is the thought that matters

Christmas tree

This Christmas, The Early Hour is going GREEN. And we your need your help. Because rather than publish gift lists that encourage people to go out and spend money, we will be publishing our readers’ suggestions for thoughtful secondhand presents, instead…

The emails have already started flying in: ‘Have you started planning your Christmas guides for The Early Hour yet?’… ‘CAN WE BE ON IT??’. And until this morning, I didn’t have my response planned. So I simply answered ‘No, I haven’t thought about it yet.’ And duly deleted those emails.

But then I was out running this morning and had a brainwave. It came about because the panic was setting in about the burdens of Christmas. I absolutely love the celebrations, and present-giving, and coming together of family. But Christmas also means:

Financial pressure.


Unwanted gifts.

Too much plastic.

Last minute shopping.

Focusing on all the wrong things (spending more money, rather than time together).

I was not only concerned about everything I’d need to buy for our ever-extending family and friends, but what I’ll be given. It’s lovely being bought presents, and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but half of what you’re given you probably wouldn’t have otherwise bought – and so it becomes clutter, or you give it away.

This is when I wondered how it would be to only give out secondhand presents. Something from your own house…

A novel that you love but won’t re-read.

Those sofa cushions that are lovely but always in the way.

The baby toys you no longer use.

Children’s clothes.

A cookbook that you have memorised.

That jumper you bought, forgot to return and now it’s too late.

An indoor plant that you no longer have space for.

Or something from a charity shop. Or a car boot sale. The brick-a-brack shop around the corner.

Giving previously used items relieves all the aforementioned pressures:

Financial pressure: You don’t have to spent a penny.

Panic-buying: Start looking around your home now, or as you go about your day.

Unwanted gifts: Well, at least if it’s unwanted – it’s not something you’ve shelled out money for.

Too much plastic: Secondhand plastic is better than brand new plastic.

Last minute shopping: You won’t have to rush to town on Christmas Eve (just around your home).

Focusing on all the wrong things: Line up the preloved presents then hang out with your family instead of Christmas shopping.

And, of course, you’ll be doing your bit towards saving this rather damaged planet that we are continuing to destroy with our obsessive shopping habits.

So, this is where I need your help…

Instead of publishing Christmas gift ideas, as I have on previous years – it’s been an ethical list, but has always showcased items to be bought brand new – I will publish your secondhand Christmas present ideas. A photo of what you’ll be giving someone else, with a description about why you have chosen that particular gift – what it means to you, and what it will mean to them.

As we often say: it’s the thought that counts. So I’d love to hear/see your thoughtful ideas for secondhand Christmas presents. That’s if you come on-board with this idea. And it doesn’t have to be all your presents – even finding just one item in your house that would work as a present for someone this year is better than buying everything brand new.

Each week, in the lead up to Christmas, I’ll put out a list of secondhand present ideas from The Early Hour readers. That’s the only gift list I’ll be doing. Now, who is up for joining me and making this Christmas a GREEN Christmas?

If you’d like to share your secondhand present ideas with our readers, please email me: annie@theearlyhour.com. And there will be space for a little bio, so if you have a business/creative project to plug – get involved.