This time of year gets very busy, people are rushing around trying to find a perfect gift for someone they love and care about, organising Christmas meals for family, getting together with friends and colleagues, decorating their houses and making memories along the way. We get so carried away with the workload of making everything so perfect we don’t necessarily think about the huge impact that Christmas has on our planet. This post in no way is intended to preach you on what to get and how much to spend it’s just a little list of useful ideas that you might want to use, or save for next year to use, to make Christmas a little bit more sustainable.
1. Wrapping paper. No, you can’t recycle most of the wrapping paper. Why not use brown postage paper that is perfectly recyclable with some pretty bows or ribbons? Just imagine how that would cut down on landfill waste. You can also use bits of fabric or even scarfs for wrapping gifts.
2. Buy experiences. I do love this, I love when people get you a voucher to go somewhere, invest in memories that people will treasure for years and a gift that most parents are likely to appreciate. Days out are expensive, so even if you contribute a little bit that might get people places that might be out of their financial reach.
3. Buy local. This applies to everything, if you can get a local turkey or goose not only you’re doing environment a favour you’re also supporting little businesses that are pushed out of the game by bigger companies who can lower their prices to attract more customers. Buy a voucher for a local restaurant or kids amusement place and tick two things of the list. Yes, unfortunately, local businesses might be more expensive but if you can support them please do.
4. Reduce amount of plastic. Our house isn’t a natural parenting paradise, we don’t own Grimm’s rainbow or other very expensive gorgeous environmentally friendly open end toys. Our house is full of junky noisy brightly coloured cheap tatty toys. Honestly. But when I had a choice of buying my kids a plastic toy kitchen or a wooden one, I choose a wooden one. If this option is available for the gift that you’re after please consider it.
5. Buy pre-loved. My kids are getting second hand dolly with a second hand pushchair and second hand plastic (I know I know, do you practice what you preach) octonouts figures and gups. I wouldn’t dream of buying someone else’s child a second hand toy as a gift unless their parent made it absolutely clear that it’s ok, but my kids are perfectly happy with second hand things. It’s more eco-friendly and called upcycle and it is a lot cheaper too. Consider it. Oh and also charity shops have some absolutely gorgeous dresses for this party season for fraction of the price. Saving money saving planet.
6. Buy organic. Tastes better, better for the planet, don’t need to explain this bit. More expensive, if you can afford it please consider buying organic.
7. Get what is needed and wanted. A lot of the time we have to make educated guesses at what a person might want or need, sometimes we can be very open-minded and ask. Yes it might take the element of surprise away but also it saves you worry, money, waste of unwanted gifts. You might ask the person’s partner or friend, and for children just ask their parents.
8. Make your own gifts and decorations. Even if you are not an arty crafty person most people would love to get something hand made. Especially if it’s hand made by your child. It’s very sweet and very eco-friendly.
9. Share transport. If you are traveling somewhere to see family and friends, or even just out for drinks car share if you can, or get a train instead of driving if possible.
10. Reduce your waste. If you have any food leftover, and you probably will freeze it if it’s safe to do so. Don’t waste the time you spend cooking or buying it, save your money and be eco friendly.
11. Eat more vegan. Christmas is rather heavy on meat eating, if you can substitute part of your meal with vegan options you would do planet a very big favour.
If you have any other ideas please add them in the comments. This is a pretty basic list of what we are doing this year and I would love to hear about your ways of making Christmas more sustainable.
P.s. picture of a scooter I bought in a charity shop for £3. Saving planet, saving money