While it might be the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most wasteful. But being kind to the environment doesn’t mean having any less fun! Christmas Trees and Lights in the UK has some great ideas on how to turn a white Christmas into a green Christmas…
Look for locally made gifts at craft fairs and boutique shops. Less transport movements mean less carbon emissions and you’ll be supporting the local economy too. In a similar way, buying organic local produce from farmers’ markets will cut down on the food miles and CO2 emissions. Buying from farmers’ markets also means fresher food that’s pretty much straight from the field onto your plate!
Where possible, try to avoid gifts that use batteries. When you throw batteries away they become an environmental hazard. Look for toys that don’t need batteries or give books to children instead.
Have a look for antiques and collectables to give as gifts – there’s less impact on the environment because they’re not new, and you can find some really interesting and original presents.
Just Buy Less!
Some Christmas presents fill a practical need, and need to be bought new. But if you’re buying for someone who already has everything they need, why not give a gift of thoughtfulness? For example, you could give a ‘service’ like offering to walk a friend’s dog for a year, or 10 free babysitting sessions. Or you could make homemade ‘edibles’ – a favourite cake or luxury biscuits for a special treat.
There’s a lot of discussion about the etiquette of re-giving an unwanted gift. If you receive something that you really don’t need, or even two of something, then save your gift in its original packaging until next year and give it to someone you know will appreciate it. Done tactfully and with care, re?gifting is a great way to help protect the environment at Christmas.
Lower the Impact of Christmas Lighting
Excessive use of electricity drains the environment’s natural resources. Consider using LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting. LED lights can use up to 95% less energy than normal bulbs. What’s more, they last up to 100,000 hours indoors. So you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and saving money! Oh, and don’t forget to turn lights off when you go to bed.
Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping Paper
Instead of picking up a few roles at the checkout, shop around a little for environmentally friendly wrapping paper that’s made using fibres such as hemp. Also look at the recycled content of the paper you’re buying to get the best deal for the environment, helping you to make Christmas that little bit greener.
Don’t be drawn to glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper; it’s much harder to recycle than normal paper. And if you can hold back from ripping your paper off your presents on Christmas morning, unwrap carefully and save the un?creased sections of paper for next year. If you’re someone who has to tear your paper off in a frenzy, then make sure you pop it in the recycling bin and not the regular waste bin.
As you can see, your Christmas holidays don’t need to suffer at the expense of being green. There are numerous ways you can reduce your impact and still enjoy the season.
So, what kinds of things have you done to make your Christmas more eco-friendly? I would love to hear.