Christmas is coming…Did you know that the 1942 “White Christmas” song, from Bing Crosby, is still the best-selling single of all time, with over 50 million estimated copies sold worldwide?
More than 75 years later, his dream for a “White Christmas” is still shared and treasured, but the planet might be now asking for a greener option.
It is indeed that wonderful time of the year, where joy meets quality time with family and friends, but where tonnes and tonnes of waste are generated worldwide. According to the Independent, the UK alone bins the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, 54 million platefuls of food – and use 189 million batteries over Christmas.
Don’t worry, you can make this Christmas more eco-friendly than ever. Just follow our tips:
Don’t throw food away
It’s normal to cook too much food on Christmas. After all, it is supposed to be a feast. However, as you know, food waste is a serious problem at a world scale and should be avoided at all costs. Plan your meals and try not to cook too much. If there’s leftovers, make your traditional Boxing Day a “leftovers day”. Or even better, give some to a neighbour, a social institution or invite someone to share a meal with you and your family.
Go for reused wrapping paper
Wrapping paper is part of the magic of Christmas, and we wouldn’t want to take that from you. However, it turns into waste the second the present is unwrapped. So, there has to be a better way to make wrapping paper more sustainable. And there are plenty! If you chose a wrapping paper made of recycled materials, you’ll already be reducing its carbon footprint impact. But you don’t even need to buy new one – why not reusing it from previous years? You can even make your custom wrapping paper from old newspaper pages and use old cardboard boxes to make name tags. Either way, try to avoid tape so it’s possible to reuse it next year.
Adopt a tree
During Christmas season, a Christmas tree is an absolute must-have for most families, and we understand that. However, chopping down a tree isn’t the most sustainable eco-friendly thing to do. If you prefer real plants, decorate a tree in your garden – after all, it’s the family time decorating that counts, right? If you want a real Christmas tree indoors, buy a small potted Christmas tree. You can keep it for years and when it becomes too big for indoors, just plant it outside.
Choose LED decoration
And if we’re talking traditions, then we can’t escape Christmas lights. LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights can use up to 95% less energy than traditional non-LED lights. Additionally, they will last longer, up to 100,000 hours. Nowadays it is very easy to find LED Christmas lights, so you will have no problem. LED or no LED, you should turn your Christmas lights off when nobody is enjoying them.
Give sustainable gifts
We know the tradition of Christmas gifts is an important one, so why not make it an opportunity to change some minds? There are some very good and useful sustainable gifts out there, just waiting to be wrapped. Think about socks made of recovered fishing nets, fabric tote bags for groceries, reusable metal straws or fair-trade chocolates (discover the hidden story behind the cocoa production and why should you choose fair-trade chocolate).
For kids, take a look at the colouring pencils that have seeds, and can be planted when worn, wood building blocks or even science kits that can teach them about renewable energies, like solar, work. There’s so much to choose from, and in the end, you might be making a difference in someone’s life.
Not all Christmas presents need to be new, store bought. The true magic of Christmas is intention, and a handmade gift fits just the purpose. Delicious homemade cookies or DIY ornaments for Christmas trees are just some examples. Remember, however: nothing speaks more to the heart than a handwritten postcard.
Reuse, reduce, recycle… re-gift?
It is regarded as rude or sometimes offensive, but those are the ways of the past. The best re-gifts are books. If you truly love a book, why not pass it on so that more people can read it? Re-gifting old gifts can be a way to make someone happy and to be sustainable, since keeping things you don’t need is just a waste of space.
Why not vegan?
If you have a vegan or vegetarian guest for your Christmas eve or day, you should have something for them to eat. Even if you don’t, why not give veganism a try? The easiest substitutions are those with eggs, milk and butter: you can use corn-starch or chia seeds and plant-based milk – such as soy, almond, oats or rice. Try out these 3 vegan Christmas recipes.