Christmas is one of the best times of year; it's all about giving and being with our families. As we become more conscious of our consumerist ways affecting our environment, many of us are trying to achieve more eco friendly holidays. In this post, we’ve put together our top 10 tips and things to consider this year for Christmas. This is a great place to start if you are thinking about trying to have an environmentally friendly Christmas or if you’ve been actively including a zero waste or plastic free lifestyle and want new ideas!
- Christmas Trees
The star of the show in every home is the Christmas tree. There’s nothing more festive than walking into a home and smelling fresh evergreen. There's many options for buying sustainably sourced Christmas trees and the easiest way to ensure you’re buying the best is by looking for the FCS certification. If you’ve got permission from an owner or your own little bit of land, a great option is buying a rooted tree and after the festive period, taking the family out to replant it. If this isn’t feasible near you, it can go to your local recycling centre where they can shred it and use it’s chippings in the local area. With the advancements in species knowledge we have the option of purchasing trees that are less likely to drop their needles and we even have choices of renting trees that get collected so we don’t have to dispose of them! Check your local area for farms to reduce the distance your tree has to travel and if you can find trees grown in pots all the better! If they haven’t been dug up to be used as Christmas trees and have been grown in their pot, they’ve got a better chance of surviving when planted after Christmas because no roots have been chopped. Did you know you can rent a Christmas Tree? You decorate and care for the tree during the festive period, then they'll pick it up and replant in January. Win, win. (check with your local farms)
- Food Shopping Consciously
Christmas is often the time when we spoil ourselves with feasts. When we think about healthy food shopping we look for all natural, ethical, unmodified and often organic produce. To provide our families with the best we must continue with trying to find sustainable food sources and limit the amount of plastic it comes in. The most effective way of limiting our waste in plastic and in food is simply to plan ahead. By considering what we’re using and when, we cause ourselves less stress and help to reduce all waste. When it comes to the more luxury side of food this year, consider the food miles. Your local supplier will give you the best option for this, but there are also online retailers who are trying to bring more sustainable and affordable options to families across the UK.
One of the more overlooked things of Christmas is the tape we use. Each year it needs to be peeled off and thrown away so we can recycle wrapping paper, but there are many alternatives. Options include plastic-free tape, compostable tape and paper tape, but we’re not limited! Biodegradable tape and water dissolvable tape are also available so when you go to repurchase your tape this year, you should be able to find something that’s better for our environment!
- Getting the most out of Leftovers
We briefly touched upon planning our meals to help us not only choose a better source of food but also to help us reduce waste. Before we head to the shops for a sustainable christmas dinner we should have a nosey in our freezers. It’s worth (a few weeks in advance) checking to see what we’ve got and eating up some things to make sure we’ve got room to store any christmas leftovers. It can be difficult to reduce the amount we purchase as many of us will be entertaining guests, but for the leftovers that aren’t going to the freezer there are apps that let local people know that you’re willing to donate food to those who need it. But don’t forget about the compost bin if needs must! Check sustainable stainless steel boxes here to storage your leftovers in a safe way.
- Home Decorations
One of the most beautiful things about Christmas is the sentimentality. Every year the box comes out with decorations that have been passed through generations to be hung on the tree. With the influence our social media and the internet has on us, it can be easy to get caught up in having a designer tree each year, but we don’t need to. A sustainable Christmas tree is perfectly made with homemade and handed down decorations, like dried oranges & apples, hessian’s bows and an infinity of DIY ideas you can find online.Find some ideas on our instagram account @ecokindly
- Reusable Gifting
It’s time we change the way we give. We spend so much of our year trying to build healthier habits, be kinder to our environment and especially reduce the amount of plastic we consume. This year we should be thinking further than the opening of a present. If we purchase gifts that are made to last or can be reused we aren’t just providing our loved ones with useful gifts but also ones that will provide them with many years of quality use.
On the subject of gifting, if you have a great idea for a present but it isn’t in the sustainable categories you might be able to find it secondhand. This gives that item a second life and is often at an affordable cost without harming the environment! Searching online for used items is also great if you are looking to change up any decorations. Even if something isn’t your style, by buying secondhand you’re likely to have a creative idea on how you can upcycle the items into exactly what you want. Unlike anything anyone else has!
- Table Decorations
What festive day isn’t complete without a table decorated for lunch or dinner?
We may be used to the custom of picking up a box or two of crackers to lay between or next to the knives and forks at each place setting. But these normally aren’t great for eco-friendly values. Similar to wrapping paper, due to the glitz a lot of the packaging can’t be recycled and the little toys that don’t entertain for more than the dinner are made of plastic. A great alternative is making your own, which also makes a great family activity! Hilarity can be had in finding jokes, decorating the outer packaging and making the ‘banging’ sound yourselves if necessary!
This year and into next is going to feel a little odd. With our tips in mind, it’s easy to make one or two changes that will increase our families sustainability. There's going to be no better feeling than sitting round the tree with the people we love - gifting responsibly, eating sustainably and being safe.
9. Advent Calendar
Christmas isn’t Christmas without an advent calendar. Opening the tiny paper windows each day in December is an enduring memory of my childhood.You can get a reusable advent calendar and fill it with tiny moulded chocolates , truffles, a lovely message etc.You can also make your own DIY cloth hanging bags of hessian fabric write some dates in red or white on it and fill with with something special.How about popping a note in each offering an experience, or gift of time? Maybe a cuddle, or a book at bedtime, or offering to cook all the meals the next day, or even clean the kitchen. The contents of an advent calendar don’t need to be physical and avoiding filling them with product makes your calendar even more eco-friendly.
Check out our Sustainable Gift Guide for some of our best ideas.
Or head straight to our Eco-Friendly Makeup page for the highest quality organic makeup in refillable packaging.
Or find our most useful On The Go products for treats and snacks that never fail to put a smile on everyone's face!