How To Have a Greener Christmas - Part 2
Following on from our first instalment of how to revel in the festive season without causing lasting damage to the planet, we delve into the exciting world of Christmas gifting and festive food…
Wrapping paper alternatives
The amount of wrapping paper that’s sold and thrown away over Christmas is shocking - stretching around the world 9 times. With rolls of paper coming in individual sleeves of plastic, or in some cases gift wrap being made entirely of plastic, it is naturally cause for concern. Even paper itself requires valuable natural resources to produce, so it’s worth considering some alternatives that still look pretty under that tree.
Emma from the ever-popular blog Mamalina chose to wrap all her presents up in used newspaper. You might think this ended up looking like a package of fish and chips, but with Emma’s attention to detail, some clever folding and natural string, the results were worthy of even the most envied of Pinterest boards.
Another great alternative to your standard gift wrap is using scarves, or offcut material to wrap presents in. Wrapping gifts in scarves is actually a Japanese tradition known as Furoshiki and gives the recipient two gifts in one – the present itself, and a new scarf. However, there are only so many scarves a girl can have, but we have seen some great results using squares of material in tartan prints, colourful tea towels and various seasonal colours. This way, the materials can be gathered up at the end of the day and reused the following year.
Plastic free gifting
Avoiding plastic at this time of year can be tricky, especially with children's toys and games. Even if it’s not the toys themselves, you can be left with an intricate web of plastic ties and mountain of packaging to deal with on Christmas Day. There are a lot of beautiful wooden toys on the market for this very reason which are certainly worth checking out. For other family and friends, now’s the time to empower them with reusables like coffee cups, water bottles, cutlery sets or lunch boxes. Practical gifting shouldn’t be sniffed at and you might find that those reusable straws, or pack of Abeego wraps were just the present they were looking for. A great conversation starter at the Christmas dinner table too.
When buying for adults, it can be tough to think of gifts that the person might not already own. Instead of buying people more stuff, why not buy them an experience, or a voucher for a meal at their favourite restaurant. Sometimes it’s the effort that went into the gesture that makes the difference with Christmas gifting and, as humble as it may sound, presents like homemade sloe gin, chocolate brownies, chutneys or biscuits can all leave a much warmer impression on a loved one, and cut out the need for yet more unnecessary stuff.
Managing food waste
It’s an exciting time in the kitchen, with everyone hungry for mince pies, sausage rolls and ginger biscuits, not to mention all the sweets, chocolates, cheese and crackers. While there are certainly plenty of seasonal treats to tempt you, it’s important to consider how much your family can realistically consume. Perhaps think about stocking up on higher quality foods, but buy less of it. This helps to make the food remain special, but means less will end up in the bin. Try making a food plan for the holidays and work out which foods will be opened or eaten on certain days. By writing it down and seeing it listed in front of you, it’ll be much easier to get a sensible idea of what you need. Don't forget to factor in meals made from leftovers, like those all important turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwiches!
Lastly, it’s important to not get too tied up in knots. Christmas is somehow stressful enough and while we try to live a life filled with more sustainable choices, remember to cut yourself some slack, and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!
Merry Christmas from the &Keep team🎄