Christmas can be a nightmare for anyone embarking on a green lifestyle. From the presents themselves, to wrapping, to food items, it can be hard to keep to your principles at this time of year. I wanted to share some things that we have been doing to navigate the plastic trap that is Christmas time.
Disclaimer – I love Christmas!
Going green at Christmas can be all in the preparation. From choosing presents, to budgeting, to making food prep easier for the big day, thinking and planning ahead can take the stress out of going green at Christmas.
This year, I have been asked to join in with ‘secret santa’. I have opted to buy my ‘person’ an ethical, plastic-free candle from Traidcraft. If you know that you want to join in with this and relish the opportunity, why not think ahead and see what you can come up with…
Wrapping paper is not always ethical, or green:
This is due partly to the materials it is made of, which are typically non-recyclable: wrapping paper is often dyed and laminated; it can also contain non-paper additives such as gold and silver colouring, glitter and plastics; and often has sticky tape attached to it. Also, many of the fibres used in the cheaper types of paper are not strong enough to recycle. Landfill or incineration are all too often the only options.
Much of the paper used in the UK comes from Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Finland. Scandinavian forests have been so heavily exploited that just 5% of the old, natural forest remains. But even this is still being logged which, according to Friends of the Earth, is threatening many hundreds of plant and animal species.
Over 1,700 forest-dependent plants and animals are listed as endangered in Sweden, and over 700 in Finland. Many of these are reliant on the last remaining patches of old, natural forest.
Super easy alternatives to wrapping paper:
Argument 1) Natural is better, it promotes good forest management
Argument 2) Plastic is better, we need to keep our trees
As it happens, I received a plastic Christmas tree when I was a student that was a cast-off from a flatmate. This has done us nicely for 11 years and counting!
Here’s a new idea – rent a tree then give it back to keep it growing! I found out about it this year (2018) and I think it’s a great idea! See Forever Green Christmas Trees for info. There are a few schemes around the country, it’s worth checking your local area.
Buy local, buy fairtrade, buy things made from natural materials.
Gift experiences that create memories that can last a lifetime.
Gift your time that you will never give back, make someone realise how important you are in their lives!
Gift something that only you can give. Use your talents, your wisdom. Other people can’t do things the same way you can! In my extended family we have people who are brilliant at acting, dancing, music, technology, environmental outdoors education, bikes, cars, sewing, painting, baking, choosing books…so many things that enrich our lives, and most that I as a parent cannot give my children without resorting to paying for!
Create, and ask others to create, a gift list of useful and/or beautiful things that you would like in your home. It will help others have an idea of what you will love to receive and will help you (and me) not stress about the presents you don’t want to receive over the yuletide season.
Annual debate I have with myself…I love glitter and tinsel. Neither is good for the environment! So what are the alternatives for a jolly good festive celebration?
I wish you a very merry Christmas 2018! Wherever you are, keep on greening! 🙂