How To Be More Sustainable With Your Christmas Celebrations

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Author – Rose Morley

Christmas is that wonderful time of the year connected to meeting friends and relatives and treating them with gifts and goodies. However, it doesn’t mean that our Christmas celebrations end up damaging the environment.

There is so much waste generated during the festive period, from wrapping paper to gift giving, food waste and so much more. So it’s important for you to make considerate decisions for the environment during this festive period. Here are a few simple tips to help you make better choices to ensure a more sustainable Christmas celebration.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

The first thing you should do is to choose quality over quantity when deciding on your presents for this year. When you buy lots of different presents for someone, the amount of waste increases significantly, right from the actual gift to the material used in packaging, gift wrapping, transport and so on. So, say you have a budget of $100 for someone, instead of buying 10 presents that cost $10, buy one that costs closer to $100. This way, not only will the person get a better quality gift that will last much longer, but the waste will be significantly reduced as well.

When you want to buy someone jewellery, instead of buying lots of cheaper pairs of earrings, buy just one set of huggie hoops and earring charms that are made out of solid gold or sterling silver, that will last for decades and will look so much more beautiful. Instead of buying someone lots of different cosmetics, get them one bottle of top-quality perfume that they will cherish. Rather than buy a basket with lots of different homeware items, spend more on beautiful and high-quality cookware that will last for years.

This also applies for lower budget items, if you really put some thought into the gift that you’re buying for the person, so you know it is something that they will keep. Or, if you’re not sure what they might want, buy a cute eco-friendly gift that won’t be damaging to the environment.

Don’t Buy Throw Away Packaging

Single use wrapping papers, ribbons or gift bags are highly damaging since they usually can’t be recycled, so they end up in landfills and rivers. In the UK, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are used each year, most of which can’t be recycled. Instead, think about more sustainable ways that you can package your gifts.

The first option is reusable fabric wrap that you can buy online, or go to your local shop and pick up some fabric yourself. Then send the gifts with a little note asking the person to reuse the fabric, or if it’s for your immediate family, you can reuse it the following year. There is an interesting option called ‘Furoshiki gift wrapping’, which is a traditional Japanese method of wrapping gifts and also carrying belongings. You can use any kind of fabric from silk to cotton or nylon. There are plenty of guides for Furoshiki gift wrapping out there, with the gift packing method resulting in a beautiful bow on top. This is a great tradition you can start with your family.

Another option is to use recycled wrapping paper, that can be reused again, so you are reducing waste as much as possible for a single-use product. Further, you could reuse gift bags and boxes and actually make them a part of the gift that people can keep and use in their life. This might be choosing a pretty tote bag to put the gifts in that they can reuse, or maybe a decorative box that can become a part of their home.

Go Vocal for Local

A large part of the waste that comes with Christmas is the transportation of gifts all over the world, or even all over the country, so one of the best things you can do is to shop locally. Go to local shops that use local produce and then buy as much as you can from there. Not only will you be supporting the local economy, but helping the environment, too.

There are so many wonderful local products that you can buy, so do some research and find products local to you. This could be food hampers, jewellery, candles, pottery, clothing, or fashion accessories; the world is your oyster! Choose a local product so that you will be gifting something beautiful for your friends and family, and also helping a local business too! Here is a comprehensive list of green gifts that you can consider buying.

Don’t Send Christmas Cards

Last but not least, make your Christmas extra sustainable by not sending Christmas cards. When you send a greeting card, not only do they need to be transported around the country, but it is a huge waste of paper. It is estimated that for just one Christmas in the UK alone, up to 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin, which is the equivalent of up to 33 million trees.

Just send virtual greeting cards that are really fun, or you could also consider sending a message out to all of your friends to wish them a Merry Christmas and then to let them know that you will be making a donation to a particular charity with the money you would’ve spent on cards and postage. This will have so much more of a positive impact, and you will still be showing your loved ones that you have thought of them.

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