Even the most eco-conscious amongst us can find Christmas a tricky time to stick to a sustainable ethos. The month of December is a period of pure excess; we start each morning with an advent calendar chocolate, clock off at night with an eggnog, and finish the year with days of delicious feasts and present-giving. However, if you make informed choices, you can reduce your carbon footprint whilst joining in the fun. Here’s our guide to having a greener Christmas.
Be adventurous this Advent
Avoid sending tonnes of plastic and tin foil to landfill and buy or make the kids reusable advent calendars. These come in all shapes and sizes, from beautifully painted wooden cabinets with 24 tiny boxes, to large cuts of fabric with little numbered pockets that you can pop treats inside. These don’t have to be chocolate, either - little stocking-filler style presents and even jokes or photographs make lovely surprises.
Terrific eco friendly trees
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a Norwegian spruce covered in lights, baubles and a few sprigs of tinsel, but over the last few years, eco-minded folk have grappled with the environmental impact of chopping down millions of trees every year. What’s more, because they’re plastic, artificial trees actually have a higher carbon footprint than their needle-shedding alternatives. So, what’s a planet friendly family to do? Well, there are options. A potted tree is one of them; a beautiful, lustrous, living plant that you can enjoy year after year. Look out for ‘container grown’ varieties, which tend to be a bit healthier, and bring it into the house for a maximum of 12 days. The other option is a tree for hire! A growing number of companies are renting out living trees for the festive period, to save families the headache of caring for them throughout the rest of the year.
Giving thoughtfully and sustainably
Giving sustainably is perhaps the best way to make an impact, environmentally. Be conscious about everything you buy; ask yourself, will this person use this present? How much waste will it create? We recommend choosing gifts that will stand the test of time. If you knit or sew, create a one-of-a-kind piece that’ll never go out of style, or if baking is your bag, whip up some festive treats to share. For bigger, more standout presents, opt for things that offer longevity as well as eco-friendly credentials. A set of our high spec eco pans, for example, is not only a thoughtful gift for anyone who loves to cook, but is environmentally sound, too. They’re made from recycled materials, treated with a plant-based non-stick coating and, on top of that, each purchase supports TREE AID, a special cause close to our hearts.
Ripping the wrapping paper off a Christmas present is one of the sensory delights of the season, but it’s becoming increasingly well known that wrapping paper itself is a big environmental problem. It doesn’t have to be, however! Seek out papers that are 100% recycled, preferably those that are dyed with vegetable-based colours, and avoid any with metallic foil backing. Unwrap your gifts carefully so that you can save any particularly lovely prints to stick onto cardboard shapes and use as next year’s present tags.
Let us know how you’re making Christmas more sustainable! Tweet us with your tips or give us some more ideas in the comments.