Christmas used to be a highly religious holiday that celebrated love, unity and gratefulness. However, it seems that today, all we think about is wasteful decorations. Also expensive presents and too much food. It’s also true that contemporary Christmas is quite wasteful. Especially when it comes to money and electricity. Also resources and food. However, you can turn that around. With a few small changes, you can green up your Christmas and have a wonderful celebration without guilt.
Get a live tree
Artificial Christmas trees might be practical, but they mostly end up in landfill after two or three years, causing a lot of waste and pollution. On the other hand, live trees are 100% renewable when grown on farms. As they grow, they fill the air with fresh oxygen, and after the holidays, they can get recycled into mulch. Also, most are locally grown and locally sold, so there are no huge transport wastes. A properly potted tree can be reused for a few years without having to repot it, and after it gets too big, simply move it outside and have yourself a new tree in your yard.
Be mindful when packaging
Christmas can be celebrated without presents, but it’s just not the same because unwrapping gifts is the best part of the entire holiday. However, you don’t have to produce a ton of trash in order to celebrate this tradition. When packaging your presents, opt for recycled packing paper and natural ribbons so your entire wrapping ensemble can end up in recycling or composting. Or if you’re very careful with unwrapping and storing, you can reuse the paper and the bags, thus saving resources and money. Sometimes, if you have a beautiful gift bag, you don’t even need to wrap it additionally because it will already be hidden from view. Plus, it’s much easier for your recipients to reuse bags than wrapping paper.
Rethink the contents of the presents
There are many ways you can be more sustainable with Christmas presents. Firstly, watch out for what you’re getting and aim for quality over quantity. Probably the best way to green up your Christmas is to gift someone with experiences and memories. For instance, you can grab a voucher for a family photography session and surprise your loved ones with a gift of immortalized moments. Professional photographers will create a fantastic atmosphere, capture every family member’s character and provide you with lifelong memories.
Buy from independent shops
If you’ve decided to get physical gifts and toys, try to support your local economy and small, independent manufacturers with your purchases. Visit your local Christmas market and opt for handmade toys and organic locally-produced foodie gifts. This will keep the money in the local economy, encourage a more mindful approach to spending and actually help put food on the producers’ tables. And it goes without saying that products from small manufacturers are usually more organic, handmade and higher in quality.
Be moderate with food
The Christmas feast is something truly special, but this year, try to both reduce the amount of food and focus more on plant-based dishes. Do you really need a whole turkey for a family of four? Look online how much food you need for the number of guests you’re having and stick to it. This will reduce waste and save you money. When it comes to sides, focus on homemade vegan options like crispy potatoes, roasted carrots and charred Brussels sprouts. Maybe skip the ham this year if you have enough of everything else. Whatever you have left, make sure to pack for your guests or eat tomorrow.
Turn off the lights at bedtime
One of the best things about the winter holidays is all the sparkly decorations and fairy lights. However, when you cover your house in yards and yards of string lights, your energy bill can definitely feel it. To prevent unnecessary electricity waste, turn off the lights after you’ve gone to bed. Of course, make sure to switch from traditional holiday bulbs to LEDs that use more than 90% less energy. These might not have that nostalgic vintage feel, but the savings will be worth it.
With these eco-friendly tips, your Christmas will be merrier than ever. That’s because you’ll know that you’re doing your part in saving the environment. Plus, you might be creating a new healthy tradition for your family, who knows!
Author: Diana Smith