Festive gifting from the garden

Friday, October 27, 2023

Now is the time to start preparations to make December gift-giving an absolute breeze. Kitchen gardens are a great source of gift ideas and can provide sustainable wrappings and trimmings to go with them. 

Herb drying resource

Header image: Warrnambool East Primary School, VIC

Kitchen garden gifts

We spoke to Nature Educator Amy Reed at Hills Christian Community School in South Australia about their approach to sustainable gifting and how they linked this special project to their Business and Economics class. 

Tell us about your ‘Need, not want’ theme – where did this idea originate from and how does it feed into the Kitchen Garden Program’s classes during the festive season?

This theme originated from a discussion with the Year 5 educators about how we could link the Kitchen Garden Program with their upcoming curriculum relating to Business and Economics. In Business and Economics lessons, students learn to distinguish between needs and wants and recognise that choices need to be made when allocating resources. They describe factors that influence their choices as consumers and identify individual strategies to make informed choices. 

From here, we discussed ‘needs versus wants’ and how this can tie in with Christmas gifts. We thought it would be a great opportunity to teach students the art of homemade gifts made with materials they already have on hand to bless their friends and family with, rather than buying more ‘new’ things that aren’t necessarily needed.

What festive, sustainable gift ideas will you be creating in the classroom this year?

We had a brainstorm and a look through the Shared Table to come up with options that would work in the garden or kitchen, last well until Christmas and make use of our current abundance of lemons and herbs. Some of the kitchen ideas we want to try include Old-Fashioned Citrus Cordial, Triple Citrus Marmalade, Preserved Lemons, Herb Drying and Lemon Myrtle Oil. Some of the garden ideas we want to try are Kitchen Herb Pots, Natural Wreaths and Propagated Rosemary Cuttings.

We will share these gifts with the wider school community through a Christmas market stall or gifting them as teacher presents during Wellbeing Week at the end of the year, with handwritten notes from the students.

Sustainable, cost-effective gift wrapping

Part of the fun of gift giving is watching loved ones opening handwritten cards and carefully taking apart their meticulously wrapped presents. But buying new wrapping paper and cards each year can be expensive, not to mention wasteful when most of it is discarded. Once again, you can look to the kitchen garden for an earth-friendly alternative. 

The Year 5 students at Hills Christian Community School plan on creating their own pressed flower and potato stamped cards and using leaf imprints to decorate reusable wrapping paper. They will also be making the much-loved Shared Table resource - recycled seed paper. This eco-friendly paper, which can be planted directly into the ground, is made of recycled paper scraps and seeds. Students can cut the paper into gift-tags or use it to wrap presents.  

There are plenty of sustainable gifting ideas to inspire you this season so we’ve put together a summary here

Green wall

Image: Junction Park State School, QLD.

We hope you were inspired to look at your kitchen garden in a new light and see what creative and sustainable gift ideas can come from it. Thank you again to Hills Christian Community School for sharing their thoughts on this topic and their kitchen garden plans for the festive season. Remember, you can share your sustainable gift ideas with us via social media by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram or by posting on the Shared Table.

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