The Christmas holidays are all about spending extra time with family and friends. Unfortunately this time of year can also have a detrimental impact on the environment. Here are 5 easy ways to have a more sustainable Christmas.
November 30, 2022
The Christmas shopping season is officially in full swing. We all know that protecting the environment is important all year round, but at this busy, festive time of year we often put our guard down, overlook sustainability, and, as a result, inadvertently create needless waste.
With all the tempting Christmas merchandise out there that is impossible to avoid, it is easy to adopt the attitude that it is ‘just the once’. But, if the environment really is important to you and, despite the frenzy, you’re eager to reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season, there are some simple and viable ways you can do so.
Support independent + local businesses
Shopping locally and supporting independent retailers is better for the environment, and supports the local economy too. Not only is it convenient for you, you are financially supporting the small local shops or family-run businesses that have been hard hit by the pandemic and would welcome your support!
By avoiding the larger high-street retailers that often use aggressive sales tactics to promote frenzied, unnecessary holiday buying and tend to put sales and profit ahead of the environment, you can curb impulse purchases. Plus, you are more likely to find unique gifts and products in local shops, rather than mass produced items cheaply manufactured by large retailers.
Another great reason for shopping locally, you reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating or reducing your driving radius. And if this is not possible, there are online shops, such as SPANA and Faerly, that support the planet, sustainability, and local communities, and can be the ideal alternative.
Get creative with your Christmas gift wrapping
Wrapping presents is half the fun of gift giving, wouldn’t you agree?! But the waste it creates can be enormous. The good news, there are now many recycled, recyclable, and compostable gift wrapping products available, which can significantly reduce the negative environmental impact of gift giving.
Being green can be fun. Making your own wrapping and bows from regular paper, newspaper, or shopping bags that you may have lying around the house can give you a sense of creativity and satisfaction. And you can add a personal touch to your presents with some craft paint or markers. If you’re feeling really ambitious, stencils are also a great way to create gorgeous homemade wrapping paper.
If you’re on the receiving end, don’t panic about any potential waste. Bows, gift bags, and wrapping paper from the gifts you receive can be reused. And not just for wrapping, but for making crafts and decorations too. So you not only prevent a lot of unnecessary waste from ending up in landfill, you save money too!
Sustainable Christmas dinner ideas
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without all the delicious, festive food that goes along with it! But the amount of waste created in the kitchen can turn even the most well-intentioned cook or baker into an enemy of the environment.
Leftover food, non-biodegradable or non-compostable packaging, or cooking aids such as aluminium foil and paper cases all contribute to the problem. Luckily, there are solutions.
Packaging waste can be reduced by buying from local markets, butchers, and farmers who don’t use excess packaging, bags, and plastic wrap. And, like the local shops and family-run businesses, you will provide these grass-roots suppliers with much needed income.
There are now options for recycled aluminium foil and sustainable parchment, roasting bags and paper cases for baking. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified label on these types of items. Produce scraps can be composted.
And we all know (most likely from experience!), overconsumption is a natural consequence of Christmas. Buying less food that is likely to be thrown away will help reduce not just waste, but our waistbands too!
Rethink your holiday clothes
It is fairly safe to say, Christmas is a time we all love to dress up. But how do you remain sustainable and still look fab? It goes without saying, buying a one-off dress should be avoided. And what about all those sequins and embellishments that hugely damage the environment?
Fortunately, more and more brands are becoming eco-friendly giving you a much better selection than in the past. And, it’s now much trendier to buy secondhand or vintage clothing, the benefit of which is two-fold - it is great for the environment and ensures your outfit will be one of a kind. Renting party dresses has become a popular option as well.
Or, you might be surprised at what might be hiding in your closet that hasn’t been worn for years. With the right scarf, piece of jewellery, and shoes you can make it look glam and new again.
With all these options, there is no doubt you can create your own show-stopping number that will make you feel great, both ethically and stylishly!
Spend time instead of money
It should go without saying, the festive season is not about the gifts. The real essence of Christmas is enjoying quality time with loved ones, family, and friends. So don't let the pressure to spend money and buy gifts take over your Christmas celebrations. It’s not about the price tag. True Christmas gifting should come straight from the heart in the form of joy and love!