Christmas is often a time for EXCESS, its an excuse to throw out the rule book, to indulge, spend more, eat more, drink more and generally care a little less. That said, it does mean that our festive celebrations can be incredibly wasteful, damaging to the environment and we can lose the real meaning it all. I personally think Christmas is supposed to be about community, family and taking a minute to really be present, to reflect on another year, celebrate and make plans for the next one.
That said today I wanted to round up all the ways that you can be a bit more sustainable this festive season and reduce your Christmas impact
1.DON’T BUY MORE FOOD THAN YOU NEED
It’s so easily done, the party food arrives in the shops, the fridges are filled with appetisers, cheese boards, and more deserts then you see all year. The family are coming over and suddenly you’ve bought 4 different types of meat, half a dozen starters and enough wine to drown in!
So get organised and pre-plan what you’ll eat over those festive few days, how many mouths are there to feed, which meals can be leftovers (hello fried up veggies a la bubble and squeak on Boxing Day!) and then make your life easy and order your food shop. It’s not a service I ever use, but on this occasion it’s invaluable, it all turns up without the distractions of the seasonal aisles!
If you eat meat then just choose a little less, you don’t have to serve a turkey, beef, and gammon in the same week. Let one piece take centre stage and try to source it as locally to you as possible, visit the butchers and again plan your meals so you use ever last scrap, leftovers can always become a pie once the big day is over!
2. MINDFUL WRAPPING
When it comes to wrapping I’m a bit of an addict, every year has a theme, ribbons match tree decorations which match gift tags, I think sitting down with a movie and tying bows is probably my favourite evening of the entire thing. (I’m routinely asked to do my families wrapping for them too!) But did you know that the average household uses 4 rolls of paper each Christmas, in the UK that means 227000 MILES of wrapping paper every year!! (That’s more than 10 times around the globe..yep..I’m not kidding…) And the majority of that goes straight in the bin. So it’s important to be mindful that the paper you use can be recycled and not just go straight to landfill. Avoid anything with glitter on it, those tiny micro-plastics infiltrate water and eco-systems and never break down, and be aware that most papers are plastic coated, or contain none paper elements (usually making up foiled metallic patterns) meaning that they are rejected by councils and recycling plants. If possible stick to plain kraft paper, grab some stamps or a pencile and design your own wrap, it’s great fun and leaves a more personal touch.
Gift tags can be easily made from last years cards or write straight on to the wrap itself, and fix everything together with twine or paper tape! Avoid sellotape if you can, and if you can’t be sure to remove it from everything before recycling your wrap Christmas morning!
3. THE BIG TREE DEBATE
There’s always a lot of talk about the sustainability of Christmas trees, fake versus real, I’m going to land on the side of real is best. Whilst fake trees have improved massively in quality and can obviously be used year after year they require A LOT of energy to create them and once it is time to dispose of them they can’t be recycled and won’t biodegrade.
Where as real trees give you more options. You can often support a local tree nursery, (Cardiff boys and gals I popped into Ty Cerrig Tree Farm last year and it was BEAUT) you can dispose of them better with most councils offering a collection and recycling service, you can buy a potted one and keep it all year round (which I kind of adore, bringing it back into the house as it grows year after year) and some garden centres are even now offering a rental service!
4. SHOP SMALL, SHOP SMART
When it comes to gifting you want to shop local, support small businesses and take on a secondhand challenge! Raid charity shops for board games and dvds, and those one off sequin outfits. Check out my gift guide for my run down of some amazing local businesses that are offering sustainable gifts that everyone will love for years! And don’t forget to also gift TIME, it doesn’t have to always be about stuff, make time in your schedule to have friends over for a cuppa or go for a walk, concerts, festive afternoon teas, cinema dates are all gorgeous ways to show those special people you care without breaking the bank on tat that will collect dust.
5. AVOID THE ‘NEW OUTFIT’ TRAP
And finally clothes, whether it’s pyjamas, party outfits or Christmas jumpers, the best ones to have are the ones you already own! Wear them to death, fix them, mend them make more memories in them, and if you need to buy new, then invest in great quality classics that you’ll get years and years of wear from!