Inspiration & Empowerment - Celebrating an eco-friendly Christmas
3 December 2019 - Posted by The Sisterhood of Sustainability
Christmas is one of those times every year that creates an enormous environmental impact due to our choices. According to The Independent, 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will be tossed into landfill (as it can't be recycled) - enough to gift-wrap the island of Jersey and it equates to around 50,000 trees! Added to that is also 125,000 tons of plastic packaging and the 30% increase in household waste that Australians produce. All for one day of celebration!
Luckily there are ways to celebrate Christmas in a beautiful and meaningful way and they don’t cost the earth! Here are our 12 Days of Sustainable Christmas and a list of things you can do to reduce your impact at home.
On the first day of Christmas opt for a real Christmas tree rather than a plastic one! Think of all those tiny pieces of plastic which will end up in our waterways and landfill! Natural trees can be bought in pots which means they can be used year after year or planted in the garden and left to grow! Alternatively, Christmas trees can be bought cut from a sustainable forestry and then composted or mulched at the end of their life. If you’ve already got a fake tree, the best way to reduce waste is to keep using it year after year until it can't be used anymore. On the second day of Christmas, decorate your house with solar powered or LED Christmas lights as these use little to none non-renewable energy. Solar powered is obviously the best option for outdoors, has a little upfront cost and then cost nothing to use after that. The extra bonus is you can leave them on all night if you like and not feel guilty about the energy they’re using!
On the third day of Christmas, skip the plastic decorations for ones that you’ve handmade or non-plastic items that will last a lifetime! We’ve got some great DIY ideas over on our Pinterest account or you can browse our sustainable Christmas collection. Make sure you avoid tinsel too!
On the fourth day of Christmas, swap gifts with experiences: give family and friends movie tickets, a dinner at a lovely restaurant paid by you or an entry to a workshop, cooking class or dancing lesson. Opt for zero waste items: Home baked goodies in re-used glass jars are always a crowd favourite and so are potted plants which you’ve grown yourself! Buy local and eco-friendly gifts: We’ve got a huge range of sustainable and ethical gifts which are designed to last a lifetime, created with recycled materials and are shipped carbon neutral!
On the fifth day of Christmas, wrap your presents in recycled brown paper, newspaper or fabric (which can be doubled as a tea towel or picnic rug) and then decorate with natural materials such as a sprig of rosemary or pine leaves, dried flowers or a handmade gift. Lastly, make sure you include a card or gift tag which is made from recycled materials!
On the sixth day of Christmas, buy fresh and local produce to reduce your food miles, support small businesses and save money! Local farmers markets, bulk food shops, butchers and bakeries are all fantastic options but the best option of all is to grow and produce as much as you can in your own garden. Herbs, tomatoes, salad greens and fresh fruit are all easy things to grow and can be used in almost any dish.
On the seventh day of Christmas, say no to single use plastic items such as cups, plates and cutlery and opt for reusable table wear that can be used year after year. You’ll actually save money in the long run and if you're worried about all the washing up, set up a station where everyone can wash up their own plates and bowls!
On the eight day of Christmas, arrange with your family and friends to have a second hand gift giving where everyone brings along one second hand item that they no longer need and then play a present swapping game. This reduces so much excessive waste and is a fun way to celebrate!
On the ninth day of Christmas, consider donating money to a charity on someones behalf! This is a fantastic gift idea for the person that has everything (we all know at least one of them!), eliminates waste and provides much needed funds for developing countries, the homeless or the sick (depending on which charity you decided to donate to).
On the tenth day of Christmas, donate unwanted gifts to charity and op shops instead of throwing them into landfill. This means your gifts have a chance of finding a new home and the money from their purchase will be going directly to someone who needs it most. Don’t forget that second hand items make great gifts too so if you’re stuck for ideas, head down to your local op shop!
On the eleventh day of Christmas, compost your scraps and leftovers or add them to your worm farm so that you can give your garden an extra little Christmas present. Have a seperate bin or bucket ready on the day so that your family can scrap their leftovers straight into the compost. Australians will produce an extra 30% of household waste each Christmas so composting or recycling what you can is the best way to reduce your impact.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, do what you can! Christmas naturally is the season of giving so its not possible to have an entirely waste free Christmas. Just do as much as you can in your own home and introduce traditions year after year to become more and more sustainable.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team at Sophia. We wish you a holiday full of fun, laughter and love!
Which is your favourite idea for celebrating an eco-friendly Christmas? Comment below...