When you think of Christmas, sustainability is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind. However, climate change does not take a break over the Holidays. Presents, decorating, shopping - all of that is part of Christmas. And to be honest, they bring so much joy to many of us. We can’t imagine a Christmas without it. But the impact it has on our planet is huge. For sustainable holidays you need to stop thinking of what is impossible, but focus on what is possible. There are so many great sustainable alternatives to almost every aspect of Christmas. We want to tell you about our secrets to sustainable and eco-friendly Holidays. They’re easy on your budget and easy on our planet. Let’s make this Christmas special!
1. Reuse your wrapping paper
Instead of opening the present and tearing it apart, use scissors. Did you know that you can even iron wrapping paper? Put the iron on a low setting and place a tablecloth in between to protect the paper from heat and water. Your wrapping paper will come out smooth and brand new!
2. Use fabric
No matter if it is an old shirt, a beautiful kitchen towel, or even beddings for big presents, use fabric to wrap your presents. Be aware that your idea might spark some discussion among the guests. But don’t worry. At least a conversation is happening and that is important to get as many people as possible on board.
3. Use eco-friendly materials
Instead of grabbing commercial wrapping paper, use eco-friendly materials like recycled packing paper for parcels, leaves, strings and sticks. Try to avoid buying new things and stick to materials you already have or can find in your surroundings. Personalise your present by using potatoes to create stamps, paint, make collages, write, use your creativity and make it your own. Your presents will be original and unique!
1. Shop locally
Especially with our current situation, supporting local businesses is always a very beneficial investment in your community. It is convenient for you ánd it reduces the environmental impact of your gift.
Although money-wise it is not always the cheapest, doing it yourself makes a perfect gift for anyone who appreciates a homemade gift. Bake a cake, make liquor at home, prepare a ready-to-bake muffin-jar - the ideas are endless. Get inspired on the internet and do it yourself!
3. Give thoughtfully
Going hand in hand with both shopping locally and DIY, make sure you choose a gift thoughtfully. Over a quarter of the gifts are returned and contribute to a single-use economy. Either ask directly what the person wishes for or give your idea a second thought.
1. Digitise your Christmas cards
During the festive season in London, more than 300.000 tonnes of plastic wrapping for cards are thrown away. London Cleaning System states that it is enough to almost cover London’s Big Ben 260.000 times. But there are so many ways to reduce single-use plastic. Send out your Christmas cards digitally. Find inspiration, source your favourite designing software and start. It is cheaper and more sustainable.
2. Find alternatives for a more sustainable Christmas tree
Oh Christmas tree, you are so beautiful standing there - well yeah, in the forest, not drying out in your living room and waiting to be thrown away afterwards. A Christmas tree needs 10-12 years to grow. Imagine all the resources it needs over the years, just for a couple of weeks of joy. Try renting a potted tree on your local farm or build a ladder tree with recycled materials. Both can be decorated with lights and beautiful ornaments just as good as a single-use Christmas tree.
3. Decorate with recycled materials
Since this year is all about an eco-friendly Christmas, go outside, take a walk and explore what nature can offer. Find pinecones, pine tree branches, bake orange slices in the oven and hang them, find some mistletoe - really, there is no limit to your imagination. There is a lot of inspiration online as well. Try keywords like: “eco-friendly decoration”, “sustainable christmas” and you’ll find plenty!
1. Conscious cooking
To make your Christmas menu low impact, there are actually a few easy steps you can take in order to reduce your carbon footprint. Reduce single-use plastic, shop locally and choose high-quality ingredients. Conscious cooking is not only about choosing what’s good for your health, but also what’s good for the environment. Especially when cooking for a big family, a small act like buying in bulk can already be a great help.
2. Organic ingredients
Both fish and meat have a high carbon footprint because they use up a lot of resources and are victims of exploitation. We have the responsibility to do our best and contribute to a circular economy. Try limiting meat consumption to one instead of every holiday. Buy organic ingredients, check the sustainability labels and fight climate change.
3. No leftover waste
After a big Christmas party, there are always a lot of leftovers. And we are not alone. It’s said that a third of Spain’s Christmas food ends up in the trash. Instead of keeping all the leftovers to yourself and eating them for days on end, and eventually throwing them away, ask your guests to bring reusable containers to take home your delicious food.
Now that you have all those ideas to make your Holidays more sustainable and eco-friendly, there is one last thing to keep in mind: give your Christmas a second purpose. Donate your Christmas tree to a zoo for animals to eat. That is so much better than just throwing it away and a great way of making your Holidays more sustainable. Store your decoration for next year and most importantly, avoid returns. Most of the returned items go to waste without any real reason. Start a gift-exchange party or donate your unwanted gift instead of returning and contributing to a waste-society.
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