November is a great time to start planning for an Eco-friendly Christmas. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas in a more sustainable way. The majority of the gifts we buy are over packaged and many of them will probably be disposed to landfill before the year is out. Rather than continuing to buy our usual gifts, perhaps we could all consider celebrating Christmas differently.
Making changes on a large scale is not easy, but you can change a few things each year and build on more Eco-friendly choices over time.
Thinking ahead and using sustainable materials reduces waste at Christmas
Plastic Christmas Trees should be avoided if you don’t already have one. Use a real potted tree you can keep during the year and eventually plant outside, or get a tree made of wood or other natural materials. You could actually avoid having a tree at all! If you already have a plastic Christmas Tree, make sure you look after it so it lasts for many many years and stays out of landfill! Use natural materials to decorate your tree.
Make your own ornaments and decorations
Get the kids involved in making your own ornaments. Look out for ideas on you tube or pinterest. Buy good quality wooden or glass ornaments and hand them down to other family members over time. Avoid tinsel or other plastic or polystyrene ornaments.
Use LED lights in your decorations to reduce your energy use for the season
Reusable wrapping materials keeps a lot of waste out of landfill
Recycled wrapping paper or reusing wrapping paper from last season is a great Eco-friendly choice to reduce Christmas waste. Natural fabric is also great to use. Choose cotton or hessian to reduce plastic waste. Tee towels or scarves also make great wrapping materials for kitchen, food gifts or personal gifts.
Instead of sending cards, why not call or face time friends and family to wish them a Happy Christmas? Ecards are also a great alternative.
Re-gift or donate unwanted Christmas gifts rather than throwing them away
Think about making your own gifts
Buy Eco-friendly gifts or make your own gifts such as pickles and preserves, jars of nuts or biscuits. Donate to charity on behalf of your friends or family instead of buying physical gifts. Check out charity or second-hand stores for good quality repurposed gifts!
Another way to have an Eco-friendly Christmas is to buy your food from ethical sources and buy what is in season from fresh food markets locally where possible to reduce food miles.
Reuse leftovers or compost food waste. Perhaps buy and set up a worm farm as a family Christmas event!
When entertaining, avoid using plastic and other disposable plates, glasses and cutlery. If you don’t have enough dinnerware, ask guests to bring their own. Make washing up a group effort which can be fun with good company and a glass of wine!
Have a recycling bin handy for guests to make sure they don’t throw recyclables into the main bin.
Don’t worry if you can’t manage to make all these changes at once. You can make more changes each year and plan to have less and less waste at Christmas. Every little change makes a difference.
Most importantly, have fun!