12 ways of Christmas
05 December 2016
By Hayley Carmichael
In a little twist on the traditional 12 days of Christmas, we are sharing 12 ways to make your Christmas a little bit greener…
The countdown has begun
Advent calendars are up across the land and the days are whizzing by, bringing us closer to the most magical time of the year. This year, make it even more magical by embracing a greener festive season; you’ll feel the benefits and so will the planet.
- Let’s start with that advent calendar. It may be a bit late for this year, but how about using the festive vibe to create your own reusable advent calendar (you can cheat and buy them too) so you have it ready for next year? You can fill it with whatever you like best each and every year. No waste and a gorgeous tradition all in one easy step.
- Shopping! This is the time of year when hitting the shops can be a bit of a headache, so ease the pain with careful planning. Organise a trip with a friends and share a car, less hassle finding parking, and fun chatting there and back. Plus you can split the cost of fuel and parking, so more to spend on gifts – or to save! And you can feel happy that one less car was out on the roads that day.
- The gift list. Instead of ending up with a million things you don’t want, why not agree to swap gifts just with close family and friends? That means less shopping for you too. Or even go one step further, and arrange a secret santa with family, so everyone just buys one gift but they really think about getting something special? Relieving the pressure of too many gifts to buy is a great stress buster.
- Cost-free Christmas. Another idea, is to arrange that everyone brings something from home they no longer want, but that is something somebody else may love. So no one spends a penny, and items that may have ended up thrown away get a new home.
- Festive food. Over indulgence and Christmas go hand in hand. For some real indulgence, try making your own treats, that way you’ll know exactly what is in them and you can focus on your favourite ingredients. It also means less packaging goes to waste.
- Enough but not too much. There is a real temptation to over stock food at this time of year, with lots ending up going in the bin as it reaches best before dates. Look at the dates on the things you buy, especially on things like cheese and pate, and try and choose things that will last into January. Indulgence doesn’t have to mean over eating – go for quality not quantity.
- Community spirit. Buy local when it comes to food and gifts, it will boost the local economy, making where you live a nicer place to be. And you can feel good about supporting individual traders, who often take a personal interest in ensuring that your goods are the absolute best they can be, especially if they have made or grown the things they sell.
- Under wraps. While a wrapped gift is a lovely thing, the waste paper from Christmas presents in the UK alone could go 9 times around the world! Instead of splashing out on rolls of wrapping paper (which can often not be recycled), get creative, use pretty tea-towels so the wrapping is a gift too. Or dress up old newspaper, plain brown paper and magazine sheets with ribbons or twine and a sprig of holly.
- Tagged. Gift tags are another source of waste at Christmas. Save old Christmas cards and use them as gift labels for the following year. Or buy the traditional card luggage labels, which are fully recyclable and look lovely as gift tags. If you’re feeling creative you could draw festive designs on them.
- Get crafty. From jams and chutneys, to fudge and biscuits, or knitted goodies, and hand-stitched toys, whatever your creative talent is – flaunt it! You can even make your own Christmas cards and wrapping paper to truly personalise your festive giving. And the beauty of it all is that you’ll probably save some money and reduce needless waste packaging into the bargain.
- Deck those halls. Whether you like to go all out, or prefer minimalist approach to decorations natural is best. Think pine wreaths, pine cones, beeswax candles, holly and mistletoe. Avoid plastic and shiny foil and you can’t go wrong.
- The feast. Choose a free-range turkey that has had some fun – it’ll taste better. The bones make great broth, left over veg can be thrown in for instant hearty soup, or blend and make into bubble for a boxing day fry-up. Any peelings can go in the composter so nothing goes to waste. If you want to avoid the turkey altogether this veg wellington makes a stunning festive alternative.
Eat, enjoy good company and relax, happy in the knowledge that your festive fun hasn’t cost the earth.