Having a greener, more environmentally friendly Christmas doesn't have to mean cutting back or reducing the festivities. No, no, no. Perhaps all it takes at this 'most wonderful time of the year' is an increased awareness about the choices we're making and the impact we're having.
Blinding following tradition often leads us into habits which are unsustainable, both for the environment, our health, and our finances. I've put together some ideas for celebrating a more 'conscious' Christmas (and no, that doesn't just mean keeping the family off the eggnog.)
Change up your Christmas aesthetic:
When it comes to Christmas decorations, you could opt for plastic and sparkle or you could choose rustic, natural charm. The homemade and eco-friendly option can involve foraging from your local area, spending some mindful time crafting, or baking and making in the kitchen. Either way, making your own can often end up being cheaper and longer-lasting than shop-bought stuff - as well as more meaningful. The National Trust have a few starter ideas on their website.
Handmade cards and decorations can also make thoughtful gifts for friends and family - but of course this kind of meaningful making takes time, which many of us may be short of during the busy 'party season'.
Why not replace a night out with a night in making crafts with friends? This may not sounds as exciting as the traditional boozy Christmas party, but trust me on this one and give it a go - I bet you'll enjoy it. You'll save money, feel more alive the next morning, and be able to have conversations without losing your voice! And who says there can't be a mulled something on the go at the same time?!
Last minute Amazon delivery, lorries crawling across the country transporting plastic **** shipped from China? No thanks.
As much as possible this year, I'm going to buy local. Enjoy the shopping process by starting early: visit Christmas markets, go into local independents, and look out for pop-up shops in your high street. Gifts are usually more environmentally friendly, more unique, and more interesting! Plus, you'll be supporting a local business owner.
"When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance..."
Waste Not Want Not Christmas Dinner:
According to Great British Chefs, one in five people admit to buying Christmas foods they don't even like, because it's 'tradition'. Stop that. Stop it right now. Horrendous amounts of food and drink are thrown away each Christmas as a result of over-catering and celebrations of excess and plentifulness. We all get a little bit carried away, admit it.
Whether you're vegan, veggie or a traditional turkey-lover, there are tons of recipes for using up leftovers. I particularly like the sound of a Festive Croque Monsieur, Leftover Veg & Orange Cake and the German-inspired 'Klump' recipe.
If you really can't find a use for your food excess, look for a local organisation to donate it to. Sealed and long-life items are the easiest to donate, but you might have to be a little more creative when giving away fresh goods. Local Facebook groups are often a good way of researching how to do this.
That's a good number of ideas to be getting on with, isn't it? Small changes and little steps towards more sustainable celebrations are a good place to start, but if you have any further ideas to share, please do comment below.
Merry Green Christmas!