Tis' the season to be jolly, however, as Christmas rolls around once again it is so important to think twice about how and on what we spend our money on.
It’s super easy to forget about our environmental impact during Christmas celebrations and I’m sure the majority of us are guilty of getting too wrapped up in excessive gift buying and making too much food.
We all go over the top sometimes, however, it is possible to reduce our consumption and have a minimal and wasteless holiday season. How so, you ask? All it takes is thinking a little differently and being aware of the impact of our actions. It starts, simply, with asking yourself, “do I really need this?” And, if you do, “is there a greener alternative I can find instead?”
In this guide, I have outlined a number of tips and tricks to help you have your most eco-friendly holiday season yet!
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE, NATURAL AND SECOND HAND
Don’t get sucked into buying cheap and tacky decorations you don’t really need. Stick to what you already own and think about what looks most authentic and effective – less is more! Although, if you are wanting to add new décor, think about using natural and organic material such as real, fresh branches and twine. Decorations such as ornaments, lights or tealight holders are also easy to find second hand and add to that rustic look.
2. PLAN AHEAD AND TAKE YOUR REUSABLE BAGS
There’s nothing worse than hitting the shops, having no idea what you need and ending up grabbing something for the sake of it. Whether you’re heading out to buy ingredients for Christmas Eve dinner or looking for the perfect gift for your sibling, plan ahead and make a list of what you need and where you are getting it from. Put simply, make a list and check it twice! Make sure to pack your car with reusable bags so you don’t end up using unnecessary single-use ones, and maybe even take your reusable coffee cup, for that extra energy boost when fighting through the crowds.
3. EXPERIENCE, ZERO WASTE AND DIY GIFTS
My favourite type of gifts are those that are extremely thoughtful. Whether that be a shared experience like a dinner for two or concert tickets; practical zero waste essentials – there’s nothing like trying to convert your family to bamboo tooth brushes; or DIY goodies such as lip balms, candles or homemade granola.
4. HIT UP THE MARKETS OR ONLINE CRAFT STORES
You’d be surprised by what you can find at your local arts and craft markets or on websites such as Esty. There are so many unique and quirky upcycled gift ideas made from old metals, wood, pottery or fabrics. I find these types of presents are the most personal and fun – ones you never would have thought of. Keep it crafty!
5. WRAP THOUGHTFULLY
Have a little think before you buy that cute reindeer wrapping paper, “does my gift need wrapping?”. Reuse wrapping paper, gift bags or cotton bags. Upcycle newspaper, paper bags or any waste paper you can find and secure the packages with biodegradable twine or cotton string instead of sticky tape. Nothing beats a classic brown paper wrapping.
6. SHOP LOCAL, BULK AND PACKAGE FREE
What a perfect time to turn your pantry into a zero-waste heaven! Why not buy your Christmas roast vegetables from your local farmers market? You’re more likely, not only to get the best value or money but probably will end up buying fresher, organic and package-free produce. Bulk food stores are also great for purchasing ingredients for making sweet treats.
7. LOOK GOOD, SAVE MONEY AND REDUCE WASTE
Remember that beautiful festive dress your friend said she has never worn, why not ask her to borrow it? She may even want to swap for something of yours she loves! Don’t forget to also hunt through the back of your wardrobe, take a visit to your local second-hand store, or explore the Nu Wardrobe for an amazing preloved piece!