Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I pull out all the stops and go all out on decorations, to the point where even my relatives start to hate me. But as much as I love all the Christmas tat, this year I’m also trying to make more effort to make this time more sustainable. It’s easy to get so into the festive spirit, that you forget how much of an impact we have on the state of the Earth. Just over three days, an average person will create as much carbon emissions as a flight from London to LA. Every year tons of ribbons, wrapping paper, cards, and Christmas trees end up in landslides. Alongside unwanted gifts, cheap decorations and a load of wasted food. With a bit of know-how, everyone can have a more sustainable Christmas. It’s super simple and easy!
Support small businesses instead of massive chains
I’m sure you’ve heard that when you buy from a small business ‘someone does a happy dance’. And it’s true. Buying from a big chain is all fun and games (if there are no crowds), but, let’s be honest, you don’t really make a change in anyone’s life. Apart from adding to someone’s massive fortune. Buying your Christmas gifts from small shops will let the owners afford their children’s dream gifts. Not to mention that you’d be fuelling their passions. Whenever possible I choose smaller shops as it usually means that what I buy will be more unique and special. Goods that aren’t mass-produced very often don’t use cheap labour either. It doesn’t always mean they are a lot more expensive! Just have a browse on Etsy and you’ll see a whole world of incredible gifts to buy.
Sustainable gift wrapping
Jingle bells, jingle bells, wrap with brown paper… Wrapping gifts can be extremely therapeutic – I could do it all day long. Unfortunately, each year we use miles and miles of unrecyclable paper.
Want to know if your wrapping paper is recyclable? Scrunch it up in your hands. If it unfolds on its own, then you’ll know it contains non-recyclable materials. If it stays scrunched, you can recycle it. But the safest option is choosing to wrap your gifts in brown paper. Or, if you fancy something more colourful, opt in for scarfs or pieces of materials. Reusing gift bags you already own is a great option as well.
When wrapping gifts, use washi tape instead of normal tape – it’s recyclable and you will be able to save the wrapping paper as it won’t rip it. Who remembers that episode of Friends where Monica kept the wrapping paper from gifts? Everyone laughed and thought she was crazy but she had a point. You don’t have to iron it though 😉 Ribbons and glitter are also not biodegradable, but you can find recyclable alternatives. The cheapest one is a simple twine that looks great paired with eucalyptus or Christmas tree twigs.
Swap cards for online alternatives
I stopped buying Christmas cards a long time ago. Mostly because I found that 99% of people, including me, throw them out as soon as Christmas is over. If everyone tried to keep every card they got, we would be swamped by envelopes and batch-made folded paper. It just seems like a waste of money. But I also know that many people like to send cards to relatives and friends who they can’t be with. And there is a great option for that – use online cards service!
I have used Paperless Post services multiple times already this year and I love how simple and easy it is. It’s also a great way to save money! That way you can fully customise your cards, add a photo and write your own wishes. It’s a lot more personal than many cards available in stores. If you want to read my full review, click here.
Avoid food waste
I know we’re always left with an abundance of food after Christmas. With everyone fully stuffed after three days of non-stop eating, no one is rushing to take care of the leftovers. There are many ways to deal with ‘unwanted’ food. To keep them for yourself, you can freeze everything and defrost when a need hits. Fancy turkey sandwich in March? Won’t be an issue. But if you don’t have enough space in the freezer, you can pack all the leftovers and donate them. Olio is a great service that helps donate food to people in need. Simply download an app, snap a photo of what you’ve got and put it up for collection! Alternatively, find a food bank or soup kitchen near you. Thanks to that, many people will have a chance for a warm meal this winter.
Christmas is a beautiful time. Let’s make sure that the Earth can be as beautiful as possible after all the festivities as well 🙂 Have you got other ideas for more sustainable Christmas? Do you plan on making changes to your traditions? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time xx