Going green at Christmas is not as difficult as it might seem.
In fact, with just a small bit of thought and effort, it’s really simple and can be a lot of fun!
Here are some tips and ideas on how you can be more sustainable this Christmas….
Homemade Christmas decorations
Traditional decorations tend to be made from plastic and tinsel, and are often disposed of after the festive season, creating more waste. You can create your own decorations and get the whole family involved.
Increasingly, people are making decorations from nature, using pine cones, holly, sea shells and kids love getting creative with stuff like this – and you can even name decorations after the kids so they get to reuse them each year.
You can use sustainable fabrics such as cotton, silk and hemp to make bows and add colour to your decorations. There are loads of ideas online on how to make your own garlands and baubles from cardboard, strings and a little bit of colour.
Make your own Wreath
Dazzle your neighbours with a homemade wreath hanging on your front door. You can make it out of anything you gather from outside – branches and foliage, berries and leaves, and add some dried fruit from the leftover Christmas cake making. You can start with a hanger from your wardrobe and go from there.
Candles are a really lovely feature during the festive season – go for ones made from natural wax – better for you and more sustainable.
Lights are a huge part of Christmas – who doesn’t like seeing trees lit up, or whole housing estates competing against each other?! Choosing LED lights is the green thing to do as they are much more efficient than traditional lights – often using less than 1% of the power needed in traditional lights.
They may be more expensive but this will pay off in the long run as they are much more long lasting.
Sending Christmas cards is a traditional part of Christmas and a lovely way to send warm greetings to your loved ones. While you can send e-cards, it’s not really the same thing as hearing a bunch of cards landing in the letter box. Simply check that any cards you are buying are recyclable and eco-friendly, and recycle any you receive after Christmas.
Another great suggestion is to give them to the children to practice their arts and crafts. You could also use them as postcards or even cut them up for use as gift tags!
They create great fun and laughs at Christmas with the little gifts and (terrible) jokes but did you know that most Christmas crackers are made of a combination of cardboard, plastic and glitter.
So, if you are buying crackers this year, keep an eye on the recyclable ones you can buy or even reusable ones which are available. These types of crackers come flat packed which you simply pop into shape and fill with your own gifts. Then, magically, they pull open without snapping so you can use them again.
Wrapping your gifts
You know that pile of wrapping paper that appears very quickly every Christmas morning? Imagine how much of it is wasted or not recyclable. Well you can use brown paper to wrap gifts, tying everything together with string, you can wrap using fabric, or even old calendars and magazines. Even better, start a tradition of saving gift bags, boxes, ribbons from any gifts this year and re-use them.
And if you are buying wrapping paper, try and choose paper that is free of foil or glitter, as that type of paper cannot be recycled.
Re-use those shopping bags
This has become the norm with our grocery shopping and we sometimes don’t even think about it which is great. It might seem obvious but apply the same approach when doing your Christmas shopping and bring your reusable shopping bags with you at all times.
In these times, shopping locally has become even more important – by doing so, you will be reducing your carbon footprint and keeping your money in the local economy which has to be good!
Reduce Food waste
We consume so much food at Christmas – but sometimes we buy too much and that leads to waste.
If you have surplus food, contact local food banks or charities before you try and dispose of it. And when making your food list, do what Santa does and check it twice before deciding on what you really need. Alternatively, if you have leftover veggies, consider making a soup that you can freeze and enjoy on a cold winter’s night after Christmas
Christmas Tree recycling
We don’t really want to think about what happens after Christmas so we have left this one to later in the list, but when the time comes, if you have a real tree, bring it to one of your local authority’s tree recycling centres where it will be recycled free of charge.
Just check for times and dates in January. If you have an artificial tree and you aren’t one of those people who leave it up all year, pack it up safely for next Christmas!