It’s Christmastime. Carols echo through the malls and shopping centres. The Christmas frenzy has begun. We lavishly spend money and energy, and ravenously consume food and alcohol, before collapsing in a heap next to piles of leftover food and gift wrapping on Christmas afternoon.
I see all the plastic decorations, the gift wrapping and the stuff, and it makes me really sad. Why? The majority of that ends up in the rubbish bin, post-Apocalpyse (i.e. Christmas morning). And you know what happens after that? It goes to landfill, where it takes anywhere from 50-500 years + to breakdown. That’s if it doesn’t enter the waterways, killing plants, animals, and eventually us. This is the legacy we’re leaving, long after Christmas morning is forgotten.
There has to be another way. And lucky for you, I’ve come up with some quick and easy suggestions for reducing your impact this Christmas:
- Make a donation to charity in your loved one’s name. You’re not adding to their collection of stuff, they won’t have to throw out or regift and it’s good karma.
- Gift an experience, such as skydiving, dance classes, fine dining, movie or travel vouchers, coaching or mentoring, ebooks or other online products. Again, you’re not adding to their stuff and you’re expanding their life experience.
- Reuse last year’s decorations. Do you really need a whole new set every year?
- Buy recycled gift wrapping, cards and decorations. Or, even better…
- …make your own. By hand. This adds a personal touch and kids love to get involved. I know I have the loveliest memories making angels for the tree, making table decorations out of pine cones and Christmas trees out of magazines and paint.
- Make big batches of jam, pickles, gingerbread men, rum balls and white christmas as gifts. Store and present in glass jars or recycled packaging. Again, less stuff, and good juju makes food taste extra delicious 🙂 Plus, kids love to get involved in baking – we decorated all the gingerbread trees and Santas with icing and those edible silver balls. YUM.
- Save your food scraps and make yummy things out of them. Ham bones and raw food scraps can be used for soups. Leftover veggies can be tossed with salad leaves and leftover meats or grains for Boxing Day feasts. Sarah Wilson has an awesome post on hosting a sustainable dinner party HERE.
- Buy local produce where you can; take your own bags; and buy in bulk to save shipping, money and packaging.
- Have a cold Christmas (cold meats and salad) or a barbecue to reduce electricity consumption. And on that note…
- … turn off the damn fairy lights when you go to bed. Or use candles. Get the kids to make candleholders for your candles. Reduce your electricity consumption.
By no means am I a sustainability expert. I’m just a chick with some good intentions. Please, do your research and I’m sure you’ll find many more ways to have a more sustainable Christmas.
About me and sustainability:
I’ve lived a fairly sustainable life the last few years. Since I basically buy local market produce, eat less meat and dairy, don’t eat junk food or takeaway, and use toxin-free beauty and kitchen products, I’ve pretty much reduced my rubbish down to one small plastic bag a week. The rest is all food scraps, which we compost. But that plastic bag is one too many. I’m trying to find more ways to cut down my consumption and be more consistent with recycling. I want to go back to making my own cleaning products, as I’ve been a bit slack this year.
Here’s some awesome links for more sustainable living:
And let me know what you think of a more sustainable Christmas in the comments!
Lots of love,