If this year has taught us one thing, it has surely taught us to appreciate everything that we have. And whilst we might all be feeling like we deserve a little treat around Christmas time, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of our environment. With that in mind, and with an objective of supporting those businesses that have been hit the hardest, here are our top tips on how to have a very merry and sustainable Christmas!
Christmas Tree Buying Top Tips
Around 8 million Christmas trees are cut down in this country each year, but equally 8 million plus will be replanted providing jobs and a homegrown industry to support it. Christmas trees support local wildlife, stabilize the soil, protect water supplies, and of course, absorb carbon dioxide. They can be grown where other crops won’t and can preserve green spaces, and are of course biodegradable, recyclable and renewable.
- Buy from a local grower who is FSC Certified.
- Hire a tree or plant your own.
- Remember to recycle your tree.
- If you have a fake one already, use it!
For more information about all of the options out there, check out our blog post specifically on the subject – Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, Should We Be Buying Real or Fake?
Gift Wrapping Know How
Sadly not all wrapping paper is recyclable – you will need to check whether your local authority recycles it at all, but for those that do, there are also some rules to follow generally.
- Avoid anything glittery, shiny or plasticky. The scrunch test will help you – if it springs back it’s not recyclable.
- Look for wrap that is FSC certified or made from recycled paper.
- Using brown paper is a good option if you are feeling crafty – it is usually recycled.
- Buy brown paper tape too – it’s obviously a plastic reducing no brainer.
- Look for re-usable wrapping such as gift bags, furoshiki (Japanese gift wrapping) knot wraps – they are very trendy, but you can use an old scarf!
For more detail on some of these ideas, plus a few more, check out our blog post It’s a Wrap | How to Create Less Waste when Wrapping those Christmas Presents!
Christmas Cards Buying Knowledge
Whilst the obvious way to be more environmentally friendly might be to go ‘digital’ we feel that charities could do with our support this year. So be sure to seek out ‘charity cards’ if you can. Those sold in the pop-up ‘For Good Causes’ card shops give the most generous donations to the charities themselves, and Paperchase and John Lewis dig deep too. Of course, keep it simple and glitter free where you can, and re-use for craft projects or recycle afterwards.
Again, more detail than you could ever need can be round in our blog post The Three Wise Rules to Christmas Card Buying Resourcefully & Sustainably
Smart Christmas Shopping
There trend is growing for ‘buy nothing’ Christmases but our advice above all is to be sensible.
- Buy local and support the businesses within your community.
- Don’t be too shy to make a list – it avoids unwanted presents.
- Be altruistic in your gifting – there are some amazing charity gifts out there from goats to book clubs to meals for the homeless. Use your generosity that way this year.
Here are two great articles on how to avoid the big ‘A’ plus our own guide to more ‘conscious’ gift giving right here.
Planet Friendly Decorating
All that glitters is often an environmental nightmare, so by all means use what you have until you can use it no more, but before you stock up on more baubles and tinsel, think about the alternative biodegradable options that nature provides!
- Go for a walk in the woods with your secateurs.
- Have a look on-line for craft projects to do with the children.
- Visit local florists and go plant-based.
Food Shopping Sensibly
These top tips are supplied by our good friends at the Secret Sussex Supper Club
- If you don’t like it, don’t buy it – if you wouldn’t ordinarily eat stilton, you are unlikely to want to use up kilos of it after Christmas is done. Leave it on the shelf!
- Make a shopping list and stick to it! Even this year there is no need stockpile – plan your meals and buy accordingly.
- Know Your Portion Sizes – we may not be catering for the masses this year, but this is good practice at the best of times – here’s a simple guide.
- 500g Turkey per person
- 1.5 large potatoes per person (cut up)
- 400g vegetables per person
- 200ml gravy per person
- 150g stuffing per person
- Shop Loose and Local – Where possible buy loose vegetables from the supermarket, market or greengrocer, so you buy only what you need. Likewise, anything you can buy from the butcher, and even better, packaging free.
- Your Freezer is Your Friend – You can almost certainly freeze a lot more than you think you can – leftover cheeseboard? Pop it in the freezer.
For their full guide and some fantastic Christmas leftover recipes, check out Your Essential Guide to Reducing Christmas Food Waste
RECYCLE LIKE AN ELF
Recycling as much as you can has to be the goal as you inevitably consume a whole lot more than normal, so do study your local rules very carefully! You’ll be surprised at the range of plastics you can recycle, and of course there are options through alternative schemes like Terracycle which will take care of your snack packets, etc too.
For a full guide, here is Your Ultimate Guide to Recycling Christmas Waste
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
And as one final shout out to our friends and local businesses in the West Sussex and Billingshurst area, we would recommend these amazing local businesses to help you on your way to a sustainable Christmas.
- Furze Firs for locally grown Christmas trees you can ‘pick your own’
- Urban Woodcutters for their tree recycling service
- Flowers by Juliette for wreath making kits
- The Works Gift Shop for gifts and decorationsfor beer delivered to your door
But most importantly of all have a wonderful, loving and happy Christmas with those of you with whom you wish to spend it.