Reduce your environmental impact at Christmas with these top tips
At Christmas we can get lost in the spirit of giving. We want to buy in abundance for our loved ones to show our appreciation at a time when it seems acceptable. But Christmas suddenly seems to be about excess. However, we can certainly show we care, without going overboard. And being a hot topic, we’ll share how you can help to have the Christmas of your dreams, and reduce your environmental impact too.
Recyclable gift wrapping
Not all wrapping paper can be recycled. If it is made with glitter, foil or anything not considered standard paper, it cannot be reused or repurposed. When buying your paper this year, check that it is pure paper.
As an alternative, why not use brown paper and add your own natural festive embellishments like Holly or Mistletoe. Additionally, consider natural fabrics like muslin or cotton (without dyes) that can be used for household purposes; muslin is great for taking off your makeup and acts as a natural exfoliator- 2 gifts in one!
Also avoid ribbons or other synthetic materials to decorate your presents for the same reasons.
Looking for some new Christmas traditions? We take inspiration from our European neighbours and share our favourite with you.
Don’t buy an abundance of gifts
Don’t buy things for the sake of it.
We all tend to go overboard at Christmas and usually it’s for things that are pretty unnecessary. We seemingly want to give lots of gifts, not just a special something.
If you do want to buy things to make the pile seem bigger, buy gifts that have purpose like body washes, lotions, soaps, fragrances for body, and home. Candles make for great gifts too, just make sure your recipient isn’t already overloaded with these.
Alternatively, foodie gifts are always greatly appreciated as are experiences. Experiences are great at giving your loved ones lasting memories that’ll have less environmental impact than things that often just sit on a shelf.
When it comes to gift giving it isn’t about quantity but quality. Sacrifice lots of little things for a single present.
Inevitably you may get something you don’t need, don’t want, or don’t like. Don’t feel you have to keep gifts out of obligation. It is always better to re-purpose sooner rather than later.
If you get foodie items you’ll not eat, donate it to the local food bank. Or if you get an item of clothing that isn’t quite your style, donate it to the Salvation Army who can give it to those that are homeless or need new clothing. As for bric-a-brac, donate these to your local charity shop, as someone else may like it or be looking for it, and you’ll be helping a charity in the process.
You can also discourage waste by sharing a wish list with your family and friends, or specify a charity you’d like to help if you feel you’re asking for things for the sake of having. Don’t be afraid to specify what you’d like, even if it seems expensive. If they’d like to give you a gift, they’re more likely to want to at least contribute to something you’d use and want.
Re-purpose and recycle Christmas cards
Cards, like wrapping can’t all be recycled. If you’re buying cards this year, make sure they can be recycled later. If your local recycling centre won’t accept them, consider using the bits that can’t be recycled as labels for next year’s gifts.
Lots of retailers set up card recycling stations after the Christmas period for all kinds of cards so they be rejuvenated for next year. So be sure to keep your eye out for these, as more difficult to recycle cards can be re-purposed in this way.
Avoid over indulgence at Christmas
For some reason at Christmas our food bills sky rocket. It seems acceptable to buy food and drink in abundance but some (most) of it goes to waste.
Plan out your meals, parties, and gatherings carefully and ensure you have a menu for each occasion. This will help you to buy only what you’ll need and when.
We appreciate you want to offer choice to your guests or ensure full stomachs, so you could consider sending out a menu in advance to ensure there aren’t any problems. It’ll help you to adapt your menu to accommodate dietary preferences well in advance and save you a panic buy later.
No doubt you’ll either be given, or have plenty of chocolates and nibbles on hand so you’re unlikely to ever have a shortage of food.
We hope these tips have proved beneficial. Do you have any other suggestions for reducing an environmental impact this Christmas? Do share them with us in the comments below.