Tis the season! The lights are up, the tree looks banging and we’re getting ready to spend the festive season in our ‘Christmas Bubble’.
We know things look a little different this year and this is going to be a Christmas like no other. In the office we’ve been exploring how this year, it feels like Christmas has gone back to its roots – it’s a time when we can pause, reflect and reconnect with our loved ones.
Perhaps more than ever, this is the year to forget about the commercial side of Christmas and treat it as a time to spread some much needed joy. We’re no scrooge though, and we know the Christmas prep brings huge joy to many people, so here’s our run down of our top tips to help you make this Christmas the most sustainable one yet.
Decorations And Prep
So, we are well into the festive season already. Some have already got their trees up and who can blame them. A little festive cheer a little earlier this year is probably just what we all needed! As prep starts and decorations go up, there are still a few things to think about in terms of how we can work to reduce our impact. Now we know everyone loves receiving a card in the post but with it estimated that 1 billion Christmas cards could end up in the bin after December 25th, really consider how many you need to send and if you need to send them at all. You could stick to the theme of the year and go virtual, why not send them a personalised video ‘Happy Christmas’ message instead.
When it comes to a tree, there are a few options. If you go for a real one try to look for ones that are local and sustainably grown or you can even rent a real, living tree now from a company such as Rental Claus. Rent, water it daily and arrange a collection for it to be taken back to the farm, you can even rent the same one next year which is pretty epic! If you have an artificial tree already, just be conscious of keeping it for as long as you can to prolong its life. The same goes for any other decorations you may have, take good care of them so they can go the distance.
Think About Food
This year is going to be a change from the usual Christmas festivities for a lot of people. And not being able to have all the extended family round is going to make things different in terms of the food we need to buy.
Christmas, generally is a time for over-indulgence and we’re not saying you can’t make your way through a tub of Celebrations on Boxing day afternoon, but we are saying that given the economic difficulty this year has seen, many who perhaps would have otherwise been able to afford these indulgences, might not. We’re saying take a considered approach to what you buy and be mindful of how much you will really need to reduce food waste. If you’re able to, why not buy a few extra items and donate them to a foodbank or charity.
If you do find that you’ve over-shopped and have some spare items but can’t get to a foodbank, Olio is a great food sharing app that allows you to snap a pic of the item you want to share, upload and wait for someone local to claim it.
Lastly on the subject of food, think about what food you will be buying. With a typical turkey roast with all the trimmings for a family of six emitting as much carbon dioxide as driving 78.5 miles in an average UK petrol car, could you switch to a nut roast? Or even perhaps just save meat for the big day and cut it in the lead up.
Think outside the box when it comes to gifting. We know this year has been tough, and frankly, we’re not here to judge or preach, but we are here to offer up some advice on more sustainable gifting options for those who might want it. With 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging being thrown out, rather than recycled, try look for gifts that offer cardboard or zero-waste packaging. Try second-hand and vintage stores for those one of a kind pieces. Get crafty and make an eco-friendly gift or you could even offer to make a donation to a charity instead of buying a physical item.
Whatever gift you decide on, don’t stop there. Think about your wrapping skills. The UK gets through 100 million rolls of wrapping paper each Christmas, approximately 227,000 miles of the stuff can you believe it?! So up your game, think brown paper and string, fabrics and ribbon, even sprigs of real holy or pine cones to decorate them, just try to steer well clear of anything destined for the bin.
Support Your Local Community
Can you shop local? For any of the above think about where you might be able to purchase any of these items from shops and businesses local to you. Shopping small and supporting local has never been more important.
It could even mean the difference between some of your local faves staying afloat or not so where you can, try to support the places that make your community what it is.
We know that Christmas this year is going to look super different than what we are used to, but this could be the perfect opportunity to shake up our normal habits. Try to use this Christmas as a time to be present and enjoy the time with your loved ones – this year has been a tough one, so most importantly, be kind to yourself this Christmas.
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