Christmas is always a time of colour, twinkly lights, over indulgence and, overall, fun. However, it is not always the best time for our environment. But it doesn’t need to be like this!
Here are a few top tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas. It may look daunting but give it a go and see how easy it can be. Good luck!
tip 1: Christmas trees
Reusable trees sound like the right route to go down but they aren’t. They are generally made of plastic, break very easily and are wholly unrecyclable so, bad news all round.
Buying a real tree is lovely but please make sure is has a “Grown in Britain” label attached and search for a local drop off point for it to be recycled into wood chippings for woodland areas and parks.
Even better, you can rent one! They deliver in a pot and replant it after the festive season!
tip 2: Christmas Cards
Try an re-use last year’s cards, or even better, send an e-card. Best still, those that donate your spend to charity, like 'Don't Send A Card'
If you still want to send an actual card, please make sure it has the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark, as this means the paper has been produced ethically.
tip 3: Wrapping
Traditional wrapping paper is notoriously difficult to recycle due to it being shiny and often glittery. Ditch that and use old fashioned brown paper, recycle old newspapers and also, think about how the packaging your bought gifts arrived in and reuse that.
All this wrapping means a lot of tape. String is a lovely alternative and can be kept and used again and again. Pimp it up by tucking in a sprig of rosemary or holly to make it extra festive. Check out Upcyclist for inspiring eco gift wrapping ideas.
tip 4: Decorations
Many of us dig out our Christmas tree decorations year after year. A lot of these will be plastic. Look after them so they don’t make it into land fill! But how about foraging for this year’s decos? There is an abundance of holly and ivy out there to decorate your Christmas table, mantel pieces and shelves. Get the kids searching for pine cones too. Make sure your lights are LED and try solar powered for your outside inspiration.
tip 5: Advent calendars
Get creative! Shop bought versions are lovely but are often full of plastic and unrecyclable materials. Buy a wooden one and put your own gifts in every year, or if you are feeling really crafty, hang string and peg handmade gifts along it! Country Living has some great ideas for DIY advet calendars.
tip 6: Crackers
Crackers are always full of plastic knick-knacks which always go in the bin at the end of the meal. Make sure you buy recyclable ones or better still, reusable ones often made from fabric, in which you put your own gifts. If you are feeling really brave, make your own! See this tutorial with downlaodable template from 'The Simple Things'
tip 7: Presents
this year has been hard on everyone and especially when if comes to our bank balances. Instead of buying a gift for a loved one this year, give the gift of a promise. Create a voucher (like this one from moneysavingexpert) whereby you pledge an evening’s babysitting, a week’s dog walking or simply a home cooked meal. If a gift doesn’t have to be wrapped in fancy paper, it can just a kind gesture. Otherwise, shop second hand and local.
tip 8: Food & drink
This year’s planning will be slightly different as we are having to reduce the number of guests around the table, but careful menu planning and buying is still important. Don’t overbuy. The shops are only closed for one day people! Get creative with any leftovers that you do have, making them into delicious pies and soups or simply freezing batches. Controversially, there are many calling for a more plant-based theme this year, do you dare ditch the turkey??
Organic alcohol is the best option if wanting to be more sustainable. Not only does it lower the impact of fertilisers and pesticides on the environment, but some say it also reduces hangovers! Win win!
See how many of these green tips you can achieve this year and please let us know of any of your inspired ideas to add to our list for next year.