Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (at least Andy Williams thinks so) but it can also be the most wasteful. You can still enjoy the festive period with all the trimmings without the unnecessary waste.
So, how can we save money, cut back on waste and be more sustainable?
- It can be tempting to panic buy presents, but we should avoid buying too much stuff that will end up being discarded. Make sure every purchase has value, purpose and meaning.
- Why not try a homemade present or find something second-hand? Taking the time to make something for someone is a very touching way of showing you care – so is taking part in a treasure hunt to find something they would genuinely love instead of heading to the gift isle.
- Memories last a lifetime, products rarely do. Why not gift an experience this Christmas instead? It could be a ticket to a concert, a cooking class, a museum membership, sky diving or even an IOU coupon for a date night of their choice.
- Stop giving out Christmas cards to everyone you know. If you can’t bring yourself to let go of cards completely, try e-cards or create handmade Christmas cards for your nearest and dearest. You can also cut out the ones you receive and use them as tags for next Christmas.
- Does that present need wrapping? Could it be put in a bag that can be reused instead? You can also opt for sustainable wrapping such as scarves which provide an extra gift to the recipient, bonus! You could start a family tradition by investing in some beautiful reusable Santa sacks and stockings that can be used for years to come.
- Try natural decorations that can be composted when you’re finished with them or get crafty by making your own!
- If you use a fake tree, be sure to reuse it for as many years as you possibly can. If you prefer real trees, keep an eye out for the drop off points or collections of trees in early January, these can then be shredded into chippings to be used in local parks and woodlands.
- Make sure to not over buy food. While you’re at it, why not minimise the meat you consume? The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization found the meat and dairy industry are responsible for the same emissions as all the world’s planes, trains, cars and boats combined. If you can’t imagine Christmas completely meatless, try to buy organic and support local farming.
Consumerism should not be what defines the festive period. By making small changes you are not only helping the planet, but also taking away any last-minute stress giving yourself space to focus on the most important aspect of Christmas – spending time with loved ones and making memories.