7 Ways to be more sustainable this Christmas
Making a conscious effort to be more sustainable in daily life doesn't have to flake away just because the holiday season is upon us. While there are many out there who face the endless challenges of consciously becoming sustainable in all aspects of life, we’ve put together a list of how you can continue these incredible efforts throughout Christmas and turn this into a sustainable season in a simple and sophisticated way for you and your family with minimal effort. In the words of Elle Woods, what, like it's hard?
Even if you take a conscious effort to practise one of these tips these holidays, you’re making small yet positive and impactful changes. So if you had no idea how to make Christmas sustainable here’s how…
Put extra thought into your gifts
Christmas can be seen as a time of wasteful and expensive shopping of over-consuming and over-the-top gifts. But we have the power and we can change this narrative. Simply start by avoiding buying too many gifts, that seem novelty or something to only be used once then thrown in the back of a draw. Make that extra effort to really get to grips with what this person needs and wants. We’ve all been there when you receive a gift with clearly no thought behind it and you know you will never get use out of. In fact, in Australia alone, people receive over 20 million unwanted gifts at Christmastime, states the National Storage reports in 2018. So let’s make every gift valuable and offer more meaningful gifts this season. I’m sure the recipient would adore this method too.
This doesn’t mean you have to go out there and spent $500 on a gift to make it better, quality over quantity means buying less yet better quality and suited to your loved one's needs and personality.
Support small businesses
When searching for gifts, Christmas food shop, wrapping paper or anywhere in between, think small. Not only will you find one-of-a-kind quality pieces that are unique, but you also will avoid contributing to the fast fashion phenomenon. So head on Etsy, Instagram and online and search for those unique yet incredible small businesses awaiting your love. Or even head down into your local market and town, you never know what gems you might find there.
Another great way to get sustainable with your gifts this year is to get stuck in. Handmade gifts add a level of personal touch, a shop-bought item never could. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean get your arts and crafts toolbox out, we’re not all artistically gifted. But seek something you in enjoy into a gift, whether that be baking, sewing, candle-making or resin jewellery. Get creative this holiday season.
Switch your paper
Australians alone use over 150,000km of wrapping paper each year just during the Christmas season, which is enough to wrap around the Earth's equator almost four times over, reports the National Storage 2018 round-up. While wrapping gifts is an important part of Christmas joy, there are sufficient ways to avoid such tonnes of waste. Stay away from ribbons or any paper that is coated in glitter, as this cannot be recycled in the end. Also, why not switch to brown eco-friendly paper to greatly minimise the great levels of paper waste? Consciously choose recyclable paper or even opt for gift bags to reuse each year.
Rocking around the re-used tree
It’s hard not to get filled with Christmas spirit and get the urge to re-decorate every year or go for a whole new colour scheme on your tree. But unless your baubles are damaged or broken, try your best to make use of them each year. Go for a classic colour scheme you will love and will spark excitement for each year to come. Or even go second hand, find your local charity shops and shop in there for new and unique additions.
Rent a tree
Christmas trees can actually be harmful for the environment and many of us are unaware, many Christmas tree farms continue to use toxic pesticides which greatly harm the environment. Once they are disposed of in landfills they can often produce harmful greenhouse gasses. So why not rent a tree local to you? Possibly one of the kindest things you can do for the planet at Christmas time. Each tree gets replanted each year at the end of all the festivities. Or if you do wish to buy a tree, look for one with an FSC certification to confirm it’s sustainably sourced to bring Christmas joy.
Cut food waste
Food is a huge part of Christmas celebrations. So why not make the most of it? Avoid binning and scraping away any leftovers, try freezing them or even reusing them in another meal. Make a conscious effort to challenge your family this year to come up with innovative ways to make use of all your leftovers. Take a look at BBC’s guide on what foods are safe to freeze to ensure your meals are freeze-able. Another great way to pre-avoid waste is to shop at your local markets and buy loose items of the amount you need rather than heavily plastic-packaged goods in the supermarkets.