Over £5 billion a year in UK wasted on unwanted festive gifts

Image Credit: 
Andrea Piacquadio - Pexels
22 December, 2021

Let’s do something better Bristol.  

Supporting local good causes rather that flinging money at those last-minute gifts could be win, win, win...because it turns out we are giving masses of unwanted gifts. Over the festive period, it’s estimated that over 21 million (50.77%) of people receive at least one unwanted gift. That averages out at £41.70 being spent on each of these disliked presents which means an estimated £5.03 billion is going down the drain.  

The irony is that we then waste more resource by beautifully wrapping up those disappointing pressies. Consumers in the UK will use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over the festive season. Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) estimate that it's enough to wrap the island of Guernsey. Sadly, over 83km2 of this will end up in our bins, in fact the amount of wrapping paper thrown away could reach to the moon – equivalent to 384,400 km.  
Let's support our sector, our communities and the planet, by giving with genuine goodwill. Volunteering time, asking others if they would like us to make a donation to one of the causes they support, or giving something genuinely useful seems much more in-keeping with the season's sentiment.  

Donate to a food bank  

South and East Bristol Food Bank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.  They work to ensure no one in our community faces going hungry. Local people are referred to them in crisis and when a guest visits the food bank, they are provided with three days’ nutritionally balanced, emergency food.  You can donate food and other household necessities or money to support their work.   


Donate your time   

Caring in Bristol deliver projects around homelessness that engage an amazing community of volunteers, bringing people together to make change happen. Caring at Christmas is their Christmas homelessness project which combines a remote, delivery-based format with volunteers dropping hot food, presents, and Christmas cheer to the doorsteps of people in temporary and emergency accommodation across Bristol., with a more ‘traditional’ day-centre style project at Trinity Centre which is open to people who are rough sleeping. Guests can enjoy a hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as fun and games, and companionship. They are also able to access advice, mental and medical support services in a safe and welcoming space. Sign up to volunteer and spread a bit of cheer.  


New year's resolutions - keep the goodwill going beyond the 25th of December.  

We all know that some the need for charity doesn't end when the festivities do. Marmalade Trust Companions is a project that supports some of the loneliest people in our region all year round. They match volunteers with Marmalade members, and ensure that each individual receives a tailored response that connects them with the kinds of services and support they think would help them.  


Whatever you give or receive, we hope your festive season is filled with kindness.   


Best wishes, happy holidays, happy Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, happy Hogmanay!