Simple ways to ease off from the rampant consumerism that normally characterises this time of year, to save some of the planet’s natural resources, without becoming a Scrooge this Christmas.
“No real trees killed this Christmas”
Yay for Fake: if you already have an artificial tree keep using it and make it last as long as possible, even passing it down to younger family members or friends. Plastics can be great long lasting materials and in this instance can save lots of trees – it is single use artificial materials that are the enemy, so don’t dismiss an artificial Xmas tree – really it is the greenest option.
Real Potted: if you are going to use a real tree, get one with roots which can live outside and grow year round in a big pot, ready to come indoors for the festive period. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional Christmas tree – you can even decorate a different large indoor plant to be a bit more radical (a yucca, palm, or fig for example.)
Rented: Some garden centres and nurseries are now starting to offer this option – hopefully by next xmas this will be a very widespread and easily attainable option.
FSC: still if you insist on getting a real cut tree, at least make 100% sure that it is FSC certified or approved by the soil Association.
“Buy less to give more”
Home made: get creative and make gifts such as jams, chutneys, cakes, cookies, (food is easy), or even bug hotels, or bumble bee homes or, bird boxes, or planters. There are loads of ideas online to help with inspiration.
Buy local: if you cant make it yourself there are lots of great locally made and eco friendly gifts available to buy.
Experiences not stuff: rather than give a consumable packaged gift, perhaps give someone a gift cheque for a day out or a meal.
Eco Gifts: If you still insist on buying new gifts, make sure they are green in intent and purpose, and carry a green message, such as reusable cups, guides to green living books, seeds and grow your own food guides etc.
Buy used: not only is second hand greener it is also cheaper. It doesn’t have to be new it just has to be thoughtful. When it comes to DVDs, Books, Games etc., they are now super easy to get used. Take a trip to your local Flea market as you are sure to find lots of wonderful unique things that don’t appear in any catalogue – it can also make a great family day out. Ebay, Gumtree – it is all there used if you are prepared to search.
Cards and Wrapping
“Re-use or don’t use”
Save and Re-use: across the year gather up anything you can use for wrapping saved from your recycling, such as the brown paper from other packages, and wrapping from gifts given to you.
Recyclable wrapping: only buy white backed wrapping paper, or brown paper – no glitter or foil backed.
Gift tags: make from cot offs from old Christmas cards or wrapping paper.
Cards: e-cards are great, and if you insist on buying xmas cards please make sure they are charity cars and made from recycled paper.
Call don’t send: rather than send cards put an evening aside and call everyone to say hello and wish a merry Christmas – I think that would be much nicer than a card, and much more personal.
“Don’t waste, eat veggi or vegan if possible, and buy local – easy”
Poor Turkeys: there are lots of veggie and vegan alternatives, and loads of sources for ideas from almost every chef and food publication – no excuses.
Make Boxing day veggie: if you cant break from tradition on Christmas day then make boxing day a veggie or vegan day. This can set the tone for the year to come when you see how easy and tasty food can be without meat.
Local: choose only local and preferably organic ingredients for your Christmas dinner, and at the very least make your meat free range.
No such thing as waste: consider your food waste, and make it a mission to not waste anything. Plan your meals carefully, freeze leftovers, and compost any final waste.
“No excuses here – sort and recycle everything”
Much of your Christmas waste will be recyclable, so please be sure to make full use of your recycling collection, local recycling point, as well as your compost heap and food waste bin. Try to make your waste as minimal as possible, but 100% try to make sure the smallest amount goes into your general waste.