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Promoting a circular economy at Christmas

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The most beloved time of the year for many of us has arrived. There are gifts for the family and lots of decorations, but Christmas is also synonymous with consumerism: long lists of unnecessary gifts, huge meals, more use of electricity and more waste in most homes.

According to the Christmas Cost of Living study conducted by WorldRemit in 2021, in some countries such as the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, or the United States, the average expenditure per family during this season is more than €1,000 combining gifts, food, and decorations.

Ending material waste, reducing waste and achieving sustainable production is goal 12 of the 2030 Agenda 2030 (Responsible Consumption and Production). One of the ways to achieve this is to commit to a circular economy. The European Parliament defines a circular economy as: “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible, in order to create added value. This serves to extend the life cycle of products.

This year at MAPFRE we wanted to turn Christmas consumption around, promoting the circular economy, and we have started right in our own offices. This year, the fun initiative #MAPFREUglySweaterDay, which we have promoted for several years, consisted of not spending and giving a second life to that old sweater we all have hidden in our closet, decorating it with accessories we already have or creating new ones from recycled material.

Being aware of the implications of the Christmas holidays on the planet, we want you to spend these days in harmony with the environment. Thus, we have prepared a list of tips and recommendations to spend Christmas in the circular economy, making each detail special and, above all, sustainable.

Gift ideas to promote a circular economy

  1. Give quality time

Rethinking how we spend Christmas is not just positive for the planet, but also for us. It involves valuing our time and dedicating it to those who are important to us. Giving the gift of a special plan involves spending time together and connecting.

A voucher to bake a cake together, prepare a picnic in the mountains or just a walk through your favorite place are some of the most popular plans that make the most valued gifts.

  1. Recover special details

Reliving memories that have made you happy is a beautiful feeling. You can spend a day at a second-hand market and even an antique shop, trying to find a child’s toy, a sticker of their favorite soccer player, or some other object they have a special affection for.

  1. Promote SSE

SSE, social and sustainable economy, centers on social action and sustainable products. Giving the gift of altruism is another option for avoiding giving a useless object that ends up forgotten at the back of some closet. You can contribute to the initiative you like best through a donation or contribution on their behalf. At the MAPFRE Foundation, we contribute to helping refugee families receive a gift basket with initiatives such as DONA Navidad from #SéSolidario. from #SéSolidario.

Another way to give the gift of solidarity is, for example, if you like animals, to contact a foundation that protects animals in danger of extinction and sponsor one in their name.

On the other hand, there are many small companies in the market that manufacture their products with 100% recycled or organic materials. One idea is to give useful and sustainable gifts such as necessary clothing, a backpack for school or work, personal hygiene products, and much more.

  1. Renew a valued object

You don’t have to be a repair expert to renew or restore an object. You just have to use love and imagination. A handmade pillow cover, an old shirt died their favorite color, or a hand-painted cell phone case are just some of the thousands of available options.

  1. Get to know new worlds without leaving home

Start a book chain with your friends or family beginning with your favorite book, writing comments on your favorite pages, and underlining those passages you remember for the person you give it to. This is a way for the book to stay alive, and to learn more about what other people like through reading it.

  1. Handmade wrapping paper

Forget about conventional wrapping paper for your special gifts and blow everyone’s mind with personalized packages. You can do it with used newspapers or fabric scraps. You can also decorate them with paintings, phrases, or natural details like leaves, dried flowers, and anything that occurs to you.

Sustainable Christmas decorations

We all love to decorate our spaces to give them an air of Christmas, but how to do it sustainably? Lights are a key element of Christmas, they cover our trees and balconies, but let’s remember the need to reduce energy consumption with LED lights, saving 90% of the expenditure.

If you don’t have a Christmas tree, you can decorate that plant you care for, adding any details you like. You can even do it yourself using recycled materials you have at home, such as cardboard, bottles, fabric, paper rolls, etc. The kids of the house can draw and paint the star that tops your plant or tree. In addition to being sustainable, it will be unique and enable you to spend a special moment as a family making crafts. 

During this holiday season, we promote responsible consumption and the circular economy so that our actions contribute to improving the environment and our society.