While the Christmas season may be the most magical and fun time of the year, unless it is a green one you are planning, it can be the most consumer-driven, wasteful, stressful and over-indulgent time also. Let’s celebrate an Eco-Friendly Christmas.
It is that period of the year when we all get busy finding the perfect gift to wrap and place under the tree for our loved ones. But the thing is, when the dust has settled on Christmas day, you can literally see the amount of trash increase in your home.
From plastic decorations to food shopping to unwanted gifts all adding a significant amount of waste to our landfills, the real cost of a merry Christmas can be devastating for the environment. However, don’t let that dampen your holiday spirit. Read on to learn how you can save the planet and still celebrate Christmas in style.
List Of Tips For A Green Eco-Friendly Christmas
1. Source A Sustainable Christmas Tree
Millions of Christmas trees are bought every winter all over the world, and that translates to a lot of intense production and potentially a lot of waste. Apart from that, these trees cover thousands of miles all the way from plantations in Eastern Europe before ending up in our living room.
And while artificial trees now look a lot realistic these days and can be re-used, they still end up as synthetic waste in landfills. So what sustainable options have you got? Let’s check out some ideas.
– Rent a tree from a local garden center or plant nursery. Check to see if they are FSC certified or carry the Soil Association logo to ensure they are grown sustainably
– When buying, search for an organic tree farm or ask your local Christmas tree sellers for pesticide-free trees to reduce toxins in your home
– Visit a local Christmas tree farm to cut down your own tree
– Recycle your old Christmas tree by chipping and composting it, or by taking it to a Christmas tree recycling center
– If you have to go for an artificial tree, search for pre-loved ones on E-bay or Facebook Market Place rather than a brand new one, to reduce your impact on the Earth
2. Lower The Impact Of Holiday Lighting
Gone are the days when the house that has got the most decorative holiday lighting was considered to be the ‘best’. The cost of all the electricity it generates goes far beyond your energy bills. It also drains natural resources. Here are some ideas that can help:
– Use a smaller presentation of light for your outdoor lighting display
– Buy energy-saving LED holiday light, as they use 90% less energy, produces less heat and lasts 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs
– If you are looking to cut down on your energy usage even more, consider getting a timer to control when your lights go on and go off
– Turn Christmas tree lights and outer decoration lights off when it is bedtime
– Try to buy scented non-toxic candles made from vegetable wax, beeswax or natural soy wax to enjoy the warm festive glow of candles in your foyer and entryway.
3. Wrap Your Christmas Present The Eco-Friendly Way
Every holiday season, almost 500,000 km of wrapping paper is being used. And the thing is, most of them are non-recyclable because of their foil, shining coats, and colors, so they end up going straight to the landfills. Don’t you think it is quite a shame to waste so much tree, oil, and water annually to produce something that exists just to be torn off and thrown away almost immediately? Well, here are some ways to reduce the waste from gift-wrapping:
– Go the old way of using rustic brown paper and twine.
– Make your Eco-friendly wrapping from clothes and other materials like a gorgeous scarf, a decorative tea towel or a pretty tin that can be part of the gift (like a 2-in-1 present) and re-used afterward.
– Re-use gift wrappings, i.e ribbon, boxes, bags, and tissue paper kept from the previous Christmas
– If you have to buy wrapping paper, then go for those free of glitter and foil, as they can’t be recycled
– Opt for a re-usable wrapping bag
– Use tape sparingly so more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed
– Make gift tags using old greeting cards or any other recyclable material
– Another clever low-waste idea is to go without wraps totally and hide the unwrapped present around the house, then make the kids find them through a scavenger hunt.
4. Plan A Zero-Waste Christmas Dinner
For a lot of people, the best part of Christmas is the dinner, as it is a time to relax, connect and celebrate with family. Here are some festive food tips that can help wage war on Christmas food waste:
– Cut down on meat and go online to search for some interesting meat-free options to complement your Christmas dinner table
– Use natural elements such as pine wreaths and plants to create your table decoration
– Reduce the waste from soda cans and bottles by making homemade iced or hot tea or infused water served in beverage dispensers
Wrapping paper isn’t the only post-holiday burden plaguing landfills. Decorations – particularly those used for only a season can also be a burden on the landfill. Here are some green decoration ideas to try out this Christmas:
– Decorate with compostable items like birch, cedar, and pine as the table centerpiece
– Use foods like cranberries, persimmons, and pinecones as table centerpiece – this is an edible decoration that can be eaten at the end of the dayAnother idea is baking gingerbread biscuits, decorating them with icing and hanging them up with ribbons
– Making tree decorations from sustainable materials with your children can become a fun Christmas tradition
– Less is still more when decorating, so keep things simple and minimalist
– Choose decorations made from recycled fiber, glass and fabric that would be loved and last for years, as opposed to cheaply produced plastic items that would bore you by next Christmas
– Bring nature indoors by swapping tinsel and glitter with seashell, river stone, berries, holly branches growing outside, or craft a garland from winter leaves
6. Gift Mindfully And Meaningfully
Christmas and gift-giving are almost synonymous. For many people, it is the biggest part of creating an impact during the Christmas season. While it is tempting to go overboard with them, consider your impact on the earth and go for gifts that would show your loved ones and the planet a little love. Generally, it is always a great idea to gift experiences instead of material things.
Here are some ideas:
– Consider giving your friends and family the present of a fun experience such as an escape room visit, a musical or concert etc
– For children it is always an awesome idea to give them money towards instrument or sport lessons
– As you can probably guess, we encourage everyone to purchase ethically made and sustainable presents if you do opt for the physical gift
– Make delicious vegan cookies or other baked goods yourself to give as a present to others
7. Make Homemade Cards
While store-bought cards can be elegant and rich, homemade cards are so much more personal and appreciated. Make the card-making a fun family activity that can be done the weeks before Christmas. Here are some eco-friendly ways of delivering the festive cheer:
– Cut out sections of a child’s artwork that looks best and stick it to a card
– Use recycled paper or last year’s calendar with large colorful images to make home cards
– Decorate eco-friendly cards with pressed tree leaves
– You can create personal and animated cards yourself online
– If you have to buy then go for those made from sustainable or recycled paper
– Send a family photo with a handwritten greeting on the back
If you have further tips for a sustainable Christmas, please share them with us in the comment section.