A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS
There's no need to feel bah-humbag!
Although I know I felt it this week! Everywhere I go at the moment, I just see unnecessary plastic waste everywhere and it makes me sad. Take a moment to remember why I used to love this time of the year, and it's all about the atmosphere and the time spent with family and friends. Plus I love crafting! So I decided to get on the internet and browse for inspiration. I attempted a few projects for gifting and decorating and I felt so much better. Here are a few of my tips to make your holiday season a more sustainable one!
Christmas trees - real or artificial?
Well, I could pull out the statistics about how much carbon is produced by each method, but I'll save you the maths. Basically, if you opt for a real tree, the most sustainable is to buy a potted one where you can re-plant it outside and reuse it next year. Alternatively, there are companies that rent out potted trees for just this, great if you don't have a garden / aren't very green fingered!
If you purchase a cut tree, make sure it will be recycled into compost.
If you opt for an artificial tree, pack it up carefully at the end of the season, so it can be reused year after year (use for around ten years to carbon offset if you really wanted to know!).
You may already have years of tinsel. Continue to reuse them. While foil tinsel are not eco-friendly, it is better to reuse them if you already have them than to buy something new because it is sustainable.
You can get crafty! You can use up those sewing scraps to make hanging decorations, and garlands. Or get creative with clay or salt dough to make little model decorations. If you have children, this is perfect to entertain them, and they can be as creative as they want!
Many people consider Christmas cards as a waste. Personally, I love receiving a Christmas card, it's so rare to receive something handwritten these days, that I really appreciate the personal touch. It makes the perfect opportunity to write someone a letter too, who you haven't had the chance to see for a while.
When buying or making your own cards:
- make sure the cards are paper sourced from FSC certified forests. Or even better, opt for recycled paper cards;
- make sure any added decorations on the card are at least recyclable;
- if buying, support independent businesses and independent designers. Appreciate the craft;
- with any foiled cards, check first whether these are recyclable, dependent on how the foil is made. Most local recycling facilities can not accept foil and the card is deemed unrecyclable;
- most importantly, at all costs, AVOID glitter!!! Unless it is guaranteed biodegradable.
Glitter is a micro-plastic and will never fully breakdown. These plastics end up in the environment whether in the rain, or in the stomachs of our wildlife. Plus, any card or gift wrap that has glitter on it is not recyclable. Avoid!
This applies to gift wrap too, don't be afraid to reuse either, get creative!
Do you actually need to buy a gift? I dislike the idea of gifting for the sake of gifting. For my nearest and dearest, if I see something throughout the year that has value to someone, or I know someone will like and appreciate, then I will make that purchase and gift there and then. We then tend to spend our time and money together whether for a nice meal or for a fun experience somewhere.
Christmas is not about gifts, but let's not lie, it's always nice to gift!
- Make sure the recipient will use what you have bought. There's no point buying a bath bomb for someone who doesn't have a bath tub or who is allergic/has sensitive skin to beauty products.
- Find out what the recipient might actually need.
- I used to find gift vouchers a bit impersonal, but as I've gotten older, I find them to be a great sustainable option, as the recipient can buy something they will definitely use, or buy themselves a little luxury item they may not otherwise buy.
- Get gift receipts when purchasing so if the recipient doesn't like it, it can be exchanged for something that they will use.
- Donate to local charities your recipient may support in their name.
- Purchase experiences, whether it's for an afternoon tea together, wine tasting, or for the recipient to learn a new skill, have a fun afternoon.
- Gift baked goods. Homemade cookies never go to waste!
Particular for children, don't feel the pressure to buy them too many gifts. In doing so, you lose the value of gifting and appreciating, and are also contributing to unnecessary waste.
Get organised! Plan to make as much as you can, so you can source food locally where possible. There'll be less packaging with fresh produce too.
You're guaranteed to have leftover food, it is Christmas after all! Be safe, and store food correctly. Use the internet and find recipes you can make with the leftover food. And if you're like me, the cheeseboard becomes a year round event!
Most importantly, have fun whatever you do, and don't worry over every detail, otherwise you'll just stress yourself out. Be as organised as you can, and don't be afraid to ask for help or to ask people to get out of the kitchen!!
If you still need to buy a gift for someone, A KIND CLOTH sells Digital Gift Cards for that zero-waste gifting option! Available in denominations of £10, £25, £50 & £100. Terms and conditions apply.
Have a fun festive season!
With love from A KIND CLOTH xx