Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell the mouthwatering aroma of mince pies and taste the warm spice of mulled wine. But while Christmas is a time full of joy and magic, there’s no hiding the damage this period of peak consumption is having on our planet.
An American study suggests that during the Christmas period, each person produces an additional 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). This is equivalent to roughly three weeks of driving. Now that doesn’t feel quite so jolly!
If we all were just a little more conscious about this impact on the planet, we could make a huge difference; from the trees we choose to display in our homes, to the gifts we choose to exchange with loved ones. Here are a few tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas without skimping on the festive magic.
🎁 Gift with a conscience 🎁
This Christmas, why not give from the heart without taking from the planet? There are an abundance of charitable organisations which enable you to purchase charity donation gifts. For example, you could sponsor a dog this year on behalf of your nephew, or sponsor an acre of a rainforest on behalf of your friend. There are so many heart-warming options to choose from!
There are also many companies that sell products with a charity attached to it. When purchased, a percentage of the sale is donated to this chosen charity. You can find lots of inspiration for presents that give back here.
🛍 Support your community: Shop locally 🛍
Smaller businesses struggle to compete with larger brands during the festive period, often unable to offer the same kind of deals big brands can. Yet, many of the presents purchased from larger conglomerates come from huge warehouses situated on the other side of the globe. This transportation process has a significant impact on greenhouse emissions and global warming. Shopping locally can majorly help reduce this impact, with most products being made and sourced in the area
🧵 Let’s get thrifty: Handmade gifts 🪵
Get your creative hats on as another excellent way to be kinder to the planet this year is to hand make your Christmas gifts! Whether you’re a baker, have a knack for sewing, or have an artistic hand, why not create some great, individual gifts crafted with love? Not only is this a much more thoughtful way of giving, it’ll also save you some money in the process.
🥘 Food for thought: Reduce your food waste 🗑
One of the biggest problems at Christmas time is food waste. According to Love Food Hate Waste, in the United Kingdom we waste the equivalent of over four million Christmas meals, including 17.2 million sprouts, almost 12 million carrots, untold numbers of potatoes and somewhere in the region of 7.4 million mince pies. This year, let’s all make a conscious effort to minimise food waste. Why not cook up some delicious leftovers recipes, freeze uneaten portions, take a plate around to an elderly neighbour, or offer it to a local soup kitchen.
🌿 Have a meat-free Christmas dinner🥔
In Britain this Christmas, somewhere around 10 million birds will be eaten. The meat and dairy industry is responsible for more emissions that all the planes, trains, cars and boats on this planet put together. Why not try a meat-free Christmas this year? If that’s not possible, try to make some small changes to your Christmas spread. For instance, start by ensuring you support local producers.
✨Dim down the Lights✨
While festive lights are a huge part of the magic of Christmas, the cost of electricity goes far beyond the utility bill. This popular festive decoration is a colossal source of energy. By choosing to switch to LED lighting, you will save up to 95 percent of energy as compared to traditional bulbs. Be sure to switch off lights if you’re out and about, and invest in some cosy candles to light up those cold winter days.
📧 Send a Christmas e-card 📧
Did you know a whopping 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year? To reduce this staggering number, we should all choose to send e-cards instead. There are plenty of free designs apps, such as Canva, to help you get creative. Alternatively, you may wish to send a card that is compostable. There are many wildflower cards that can be planted after you’re done with them. These cards go on to grow into beautiful flowers for you to enjoy!
🎄Look for alternative Christmas trees🌲
A colossal number of Christmas trees are bought every year, involving intensive production and a huge amount of potential waste. Renting a Christmas tree this year is a far more gentle way of enjoying festivities this year. A growing number of garden centres are now offering a Christmas tree rental service, where each tree is replanted at the end of the festive season and reused the following year.
If this isn’t taking your fancy and you would still prefer to buy one, ensure that it is FSC Certified. This confirmed the tree has been sourced sustainably. When you’re done with it, there are many ways you can recycle your tree. For example,if you have the correct tools, why not chop up your tree yourself, using the remains to create a fabulous habitat for the wildlife in your garden to enjoy. Eventually, the wood will rot and create compost which can be reused for your plants.
There are always the flat pack, reusable ones too 🙂
I hope you enjoyed these tips on having a more sustainable Christmas this year. The festive season really doesn’t have to be a burden on our planet. With a little effort, imagination and kindness, we can all work together to reduce the environmental impact of the Christmas period while still having a magical time.