Who comes every year
sailing from Spain again?
Across the vast, vast sea
Saint Nicholas, hurray!
Now that "Sinterklaas" (Saint Nicholas) is back in the country, and it's finally the moment to enjoy all the pepernoten, speculaas, and chocolate letters, it's also the time for gift-giving night, a dice game, or "surprises". We have 3 tips for you on how to think about sustainability during Sinterklaas. So that you give Sinterklaas s a sustainable birthday, and he can come sailing over the sea with his boat again next year, without the sea level having risen further.
Choose sustainable gifts
Saint Nicholas treats us to gifts every year, and a whole group of helper-Sints assist him. How can you, as a helper-Sinterklaas, make a sustainable choice?
- Opt for gifts with a long lifespan: This spreads the environmental impact of production/transport over a longer lifespan, making the gift more sustainable. Give something that the recipient will truly appreciate, use, and enjoy for a long time. Choose high-quality gifts designed to last.
- Select gifts made from sustainable and environmentally friendly materials: Gifts made from recycled paper, organic cotton, bamboo, certified wood, recycled plastic, etc.
- Consider second-hand gifts. Agree with your friends/family to exchange second-hand or hand-me-down gifts. Look through your belongings; do you have something you never use but could make someone else happy? You can find unique items at thrift stores, which are often very affordable.
- Opt for fewer gifts; giving less is inherently more sustainable. Every gift has an impact on the environment. Quality vs. quantity is crucial; if you spend the same budget on fewer gifts, you can purchase higher-quality products that also last longer.
- Choose experiences: Instead of a physical gift, give an experience. Think of concert tickets, workshops, subscriptions, or a day out. However, the type of experience matters; traveling by car/plane to a Formula 1 race is not exactly sustainable.
Wrap your gifts sustainably
How long is a gift typically wrapped? Many helper-Sinterklaases are prone to last-minute planning and wrap a gift just before giving it. The wrapping paper is torn open, and it ends up in the recycling bin. Not very sustainable. How about:
-Reusable gift packaging: Use fabric bags, scarves, or Furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths) to wrap your gifts.
- Reuse old paper as wrapping paper. This can be various types of paper: newspaper, magazines, old postcards, paper bags, or old maps. You can paint or decorate the paper yourself to make your gifts look festive and unique.
Saint Nicholas was thinking
What he would give to...
A poem printed out
Just when you don't care about!
Okay, this Saint is a bit harsh. But somewhere, he might have a point?
A poem is essential, but you don't have to print your 10-line poem on a brand-new A4 paper. Make your poem more sustainable by writing it by hand on paper you already have, such as the back of a letter, newspaper, or flyer. And if you're a to-the-point Saint, it can even fit on the back of a receipt from your groceries ;)
Not using any paper at all? Record your poem as a voice memo, and distort it with a tool like this to keep the identity of this Sint hidden.