Updated: Dec 20, 2019
Christmas is wonderful time of year to come together with your tribe and celebrate the winter festivities. However, there is no escaping the fact at Christmas, we produce even more waste than usual.
Here are some simple ideas to enjoy a more Eco-friendly Christmas
1. Christmas Cards
Christmas cards are a great way to spread cheer and let others know you are thinking of them.
But after Christmas what happens to them? One way to reduce waste is to send e-cards instead.
You can get a bit creative and send personalised messages, pictures and more to your loved ones! There are loads of templates out there, so even the technophobes among us can have a go.
Reuse & Recycle – I reused last years Christmas cards by cutting them up to make labels for presents.
You could also create new cards out of the old ones. Or you could frame them to create beautiful, lasting Christmas decorations!
Many people don't send cards at all - instead they donate what they would spend on cards to their favourite charities.
Over-eating and Christmas go hand-in-hand (well, for me anyway! I’m already having to hide the chocolates from myself!). But do we need heaps of food?
Plan your meals and don’t over-shop the perishable goods to reduce food waste.
Buy local & organic where possible, farmers markets are amazing places to find delicious food, and will lower that carbon footprint (less food miles, pesticides etc!). Buying loose, organic veg without the packaging will help reduce plastic use.
Compost your veg peelings! This will create beautiful rich soil - you could use it to grow next years Christmas vegetables or feed gorgeous flowers for the pollinators in Spring & Summer.
Use your leftovers – this is probably my favourite tip, boxing day leftover sandwiches always hit the spot! There are loads of recipes out there, from stir-frys to pies.
The BBC have some good ones here.
If you find you have over-bought on long-life food products, why not see if you can donate them to a local charity or food bank? You can find your nearest food bank here.
Decorations are a great way to add that uplifting Christmassy sparkle, especially on dark, moody winter days. Not only that, it's a great way to spend time outside with each other and lets us top up on a bit more of that Vitamin D that we all need at this time of year!
Every single year since I can remember, me and my mum set aside a whole day to 'deck the halls' together. It means we get to spend some quality time together among all the Christmas madness.
A lovely idea is to go out with family and friends to collect beautiful, natural things to decorate with.
If you already have plastic or foil decorations, of course reuse them! If they are a bit worn, think about how you can up-cycle them.
There are some brilliant Christmas decoration tutorials out there, too!
Christmas trees are a huge part of the celebrations.
Artificial trees - get as much use out of them as you can!
"So if you have an artificial tree at home you would need to reuse it for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree"
- Dr John Kazer, at The Carbon Trust
If you really don’t want to keep on using it and it’s tidy enough, you could look into donating your old Christmas tree to a local charity, hospice, school who can enjoy it.
If you’re looking to get a new tree, get a real one! They always look amazing and you get that beautiful Chrismassy smell!
Look for sustainable sourced trees; The British Christmas Tree Growers Association have a strict code of practice and can tell you where to find local sustainable sourced & grown trees.
Instead of getting a cut tree, you can get a living potted one, with roots still attached!
This means that the tree can be replanted after Christmas and used again next year (either by yourself, or some companies will take the tree back after Christmas, a kind of 'rent-a-tree').
You can also recycle real Christmas trees; many councils & garden centers will take them after the festive period to use as mulch to fertilise soil.
Buying presents for others is one of the most rewarding (and sometimes frustrating!) parts of the festivities.
The ‘gift of giving’ is a great thing, but we should avoid buying for the sake of buying.
One of the most important things to me is; buying from small independent businesses & individuals. You will be giving the small business owners a better Christmas, too!
Buying from small businesses also tends to reduce your carbon footprint as the presents will have traveled less miles and won't have been mass-produced in a factory.
Making your own gifts can be fun, hugely satisfying and will probably mean more to the recipient - you have to put a bit of time, effort & thought into it, which makes it all the more personal!
Make sure the gifts you do buy are durable and nothing ‘disposable’ or unwanted that is going to be thrown away.
You can also think about buying experiences instead of physical gifts that might cause clutter and waste!
Cinema tickets, local comedy club tickets or a small amount towards a holiday could be much more meaningful than another bath gift set. It doesn't have to be extravagant.
We hope these tips help to inspire you to go a bit greener this Christmas!
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