As the leaves begin to fall from the trees and people start preparing for cooler months, minds automatically turn to Christmas. Christmas is a time to give thanks, to enjoy peace and joy with friends and family, and to fill your homes and hearts with merriment.
However, from an environmental perspective, Christmas can be a disaster: paper, Christmas crackers, food, gifts and even trees being wasted and sent to landfill all for just one day. From green Christmas gift ideas to simple sustainable swaps, we look at how you can make your dreams of a green Christmas a reality.
Choose Your Tree Wisely
Let’s start with the most obvious: the Christmas tree. Some say that using real trees is detrimental to the environment, while others point out that artificial plastic trees aren’t great either. The truth is, it is all about provenance.
A locally grown Christmas tree cut from a nearby farm is sustainable (the farm will replant each year), environmentally viable (the tree doesn’t need to travel far) and potentially carbon neutral (your tree is providing precious oxygen before being chopped down). If you make sure that the wood is recycled afterwards, you can argue that getting a real Christmas tree from a local supplier is the most responsible option.
If you must go artificial, get a good quality (preferably recycled and/or biodegradable) one that will last for years before it goes to landfill.
Crackers for Crackers
What would Christmas be without the pop of a cracker, a jaunty hat and a bad taste joke? Crackers have a bad reputation as they do undeniably produce a lot of waste; not to mention tiny plastic novelties that will head to landfill before the Christmas dinner has been digested. Making your own is simple and cheap; you can buy cracker snaps online, print off or write out a few of your favourite jokes, and even use newspaper or recycled wrapping paper for the crackers themselves. Homemade drink charms, wind-up toys or even miniature bottles of drink and chocolates are great fillers, without the waste.
It’s A Wrap
Everyone is becoming more conscious of the huge waste that is wrapping paper. In fact, Marks and Spencer’s have pledged to remove all glitter from their cards and wrapping paper this year. However, we still fall into the trap of spending huge amounts of money on gift wrapping, and just because it is made of brown paper, doesn’t mean that it is recyclable.
The best way to make unique, environmentally conscious wrapping paper is to make your own. It’s not too tricky; a few rolls of recycled brown paper and some natural twine, a stamp set, and a little imagination could produce wrapping paper worthy of a high-end boutique. If you haven’t quite got the artistic flair to do it from scratch, there are some great wrapping paper kits to get you started.
Image Source: notonthehighstreet.com
The best way to go green this Christmas is to buy ethically. Wherever you can, buy local, whether it’s artisan gifts or locally grown or reared produce. Trust us, the fewer food miles your Christmas dinner has, the better it will taste! Go to craft fayres, soak up the atmosphere and put money back into the local economy.
If you can’t think of anything to buy, support a charity; plenty have sponsorship programmes or Christmas appeals that make fantastic Christmas gifts.
Image Source: amigos.org.uk
Christmas is a time for giving thanks, making the most of the people and things that we have and spending time together. It doesn’t have to cost the earth. So take a breath, take care of yourself, and take care of the world around you.