We can probably all agree that Christmas created a lot of waste. From the mountains of presents (and an even bigger mountain of wrapping paper) to over excited spending sprees and a whole lot of wasted food in between.
This year, we want to do things a bit differently which is why we present you with this – eight easy ways you can go green, or at least live more consciously this Christmas. Because nothing gives you the warm and fuzzies quite like knowing you’re helping save the world, right?
1. Up your Christmas light game
Everyone loves a good Christmas light display and we are no exception to this. Nothing brings out the Christmas neighbourhood cheer better than a perfectly lit up house, but the truth is, these beautiful, festive lights use up a lot of energy. Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to ban the Christmas lights completely—you just need to up your lighting game. Use less when you can, look for solar or LED powered lighting, don’t leave them on during the day and switch them off when you’re sleeping. Even better, set a timer to do all the remembering for you.
Image source:Toa Heftiba
2. Go real with your Christmas tree
Plastic Christmas trees may be convenient and last you years, but they are still made of plastic and we all know what that’s doing to the environment. This year, opt for a sustainably-sourced real tree or a smaller, live potted tree. Recycle the real tree when it is time to be taken down and nurture your live potted tree, so it can be used again next year. If you already own a fake tree then don’t stress, just use it to death, and think about making the switch to the real deal when the time comes to replace it.
3. Watch wastage
Only buy what you need, this goes for presents, food, and anything that either of those things are wrapped or served in. We know it’s easy to get carried away with the Christmas spirit, but holiday wastage is absurdly high. Try writing a list and sticking to it, stay strong and avoid impulse purchasing. When large family gatherings occur, it can be tempting to stock up on disposable items to reduce the clean-up and of course, washing up takes more time but the environment will thank you for not contributing to plastic wastage. You could always head to a zero waste or sustainable Christmas market – there are lots already popping up in London and beyond.
4. Go wrapping paper free
I don’t even want to think about the amount of wrapping paper that goes straight into the rubbish bin immediately after the gift giving has wrapped up. Instead of traditional wrapping paper options try some alternative methods such as old newspaper, magazines, calendars, or recycled fabric.
Image source:Jon Tyson
5. You are what you eat
Try and stick to organic, locally-sourced, free range food products when it comes to planning and preparing your Christmas feast. If you’re watching the budget (aren’t we all) then try to plan ahead by heading to a local market or buying at a smaller retailer where your food is more likely to have a lower food mileage. Additionally, make the most of leftovers to keep you well fed for days and minimise what ends up in the bin, then compost the scraps. Little things like repurposing leftover turkey into a delicious pie on Boxing Day goes a long way to reducing food waste (and avoiding boring leftovers).
6. Decorate green
Instead of decorating your tree/house/office/self with plastic Christmas ornaments and tinsel, stick to natural instead. Look for decorations made out of wood or cotton. So, when planning your table settings become one with the outdoors and decorate using Mother Nature. Bonus points for making your own decorations.
7. Give a green gift
Try a gift that keeps on giving. This can come in the form of a homemade item, locally-made gifts (Etsy counts) or environmentally friendly gifts. To dig a little bit deeper, why not make a donation to a worthy cause in the name of your loved ones or buy them a star. Yes, a star.
Image source:Artem Bali
8. Adopt, don’t shop
Did you know that the post-Christmas period is one of the busiest for animal shelters? While it can be tempting to buy your beau a new pet for Christmas, it’s important to ensure this is a commitment they are ready for and actually want. Still want to buy that pooch? Head to your local adoption centre and pick up a cutie that desperately needs a home.