Countdown to Christmas, the sustainable way!
We all know how excessive Christmas is. We all buy too much, spend too much and eat too much. We don’t have to. Less is absolutely more. I have put together 12 tips to help you celebrate Christmas sustainably – you can still have an amazing time but reduce the negative impact the season can bring. It’s Christmas – without the bad bits!
- DIY & Refillable Advent Calendars
Standard advent calendars create a lot of unnecessary waste and all end up in the bin on Christmas Day. You can try making your own plastic free advent calendar from fabric pockets or wooden boxes – 1 for each day of advent. Fill them with homemade gifts or snacks or notes with jokes or poems on. Once empty, you can pack it away and re-use it year after year!
- Rent a Real Christmas Tree
There is an ongoing debate on which is more eco-friendly, a real tree or an artificial one. One involves cutting down a natural resource, the other adds plastic to an already over polluted world. So which is best? Real Christmas trees are always the best option, however you have to check you are buying them from an FSC approved source – that will ensure it has been grown sustainably and preferably from a local farm. Best to buy a tree in a pot so after Christmas you can replant the tree for next year. Better still, rent a Christmas tree! This has become increasingly popular this year and saves you worrying about what to do with it after the festive season. 7 million trees go to landfill each year, so if you do buy a real tree, that can’t be re-planted, be sure to recycle it correctly.
- Send E-Cards or Eco Christmas Post
I love sending & receiving cards at Christmas but with 1.5 billion sent each year, how can we reduce the waste? You can go digital and send personalised e-cards or try sending eco-christmas cards. I’ve ordered mine from 1 Tree Cards (1treecards.com) – they’re made from recycled paper, printed using vegan inks, can be recycled after Christmas & for every card purchased, they plant a tree! Amazing!
- Hang Natural Decorations on Your Tree
Not only a great way to reduce plastic but a perfect excuse to get outside! Pine cones, holly, ferns, twigs & repurposed ribbon make fantastic decorations to hang on the tree, or for a wreath – plus they look so much better than the mass-produced items you can buy in the shops. You can also make clove and orange pomanders or tie cinnamon sticks together, they look fab and make your home smell amazing!
- Buy Local & Seasonal Produce
Christmas food is the best food – even better if it’s organic & you can support your local high street & farmers at the same time! Food is the single most important, everyday way for people to reduce their own environmental impact, so if you can try reducing your meat consumption over the festive period that will help. Vegan and vegetarian recipes are now amazing, so don’t worry you will be eating more than just nut roast!
- Wrap Your Pressies the Eco Way
108 million rolls of wrapping paper will be binned at Christmas – most can’t be recycled due to glitter, foil & tape. So what can you do? Start by buying less, then wrap your pressies in brown paper & string & decorate with holly/fern from the garden. Or you can reuse gift wrap & bags, or try wrapping in scarves or eco-materials.
- Pull an Eco-Cracker This Christmas
No Christmas table is complete without a cracker but do you really need those plastic toys? No. Go for eco crackers this year! Make your own or try www.keepthiscracker.com for the gift that keeps on giving! Or ditch the cracker and just give a small naturally wrapped table present instead.
- Switch to Soy Candles
Christmas is so cosy with the festive smell and glow from a candle – but burning regular candles releases a cocktail of chemicals into the air. This year, make the switch to soy or coconut wax candles this year. They smell better, last longer and are free of plastic, parabens & other toxins. They are fragranced with pure essential oils, have an organic cotton wick and come in glass jars which can be recycled. Plus they’re vegan friendly!
- Gift a Gift That Lasts
Christmas can be overwhelming & the pressure to panic buy grows every year. You can try the #4giftrule – something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Are you giving a gift for the sake of it? The reality is we don’t really ‘need’ anything, so try gifting an experience or something personalised or homemade, which can be really memorable, instead of lots of ‘stuff’.
- Go LED with Your Lighting
LEDs use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs & last for more than 100,000 hours! Plus if one bulb goes the rest of the string of lights stay lit! So switch to LED for your Christmas lights inside and outside your house, just don’t forget to switch off at bedtime!
- Re-wear your Christmas Jumper
Christmas jumper day is celebrated on 13th December! Whilst it’s a fantastic event & cause, 95% of Christmas jumpers are made using plastic. Don’t buy a new one, re-wear last years, buy a second-hand jumper or swap with friends & family! Fast fashion is one of the most unsustainable, polluting industries – don’t support it.
- Watch your Christmas Waste
An extra 30% of rubbish is produced over the festive period – that equates to 3 million tonnes of waste! How can you reduce this in your home? Plan meals ahead of time, and only buy what you need to reduce the waste. Start making room in your freezer for leftovers and for anything you really can’t get through, donate to iniaitives such as https://olioex.com/. Remember it’s not just food waste – remember to recycle your Christmas cards, wrapping paper and definitely your Christmas tree.
It’s not about sacrifice, you don’t have to go without, its more about being mindful of what you buy, where you buy and how you dispose of it when you are finished with it. You don’t need to do all these things, just see what resonates with you and experiment!
Have a wonderful and most importantly a sustainable Christmas! 😊