Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to share goodwill and kindness to all. So this year we want to share some ideas for a greener way to celebrate Christmas that is kinder to our planet and all who live on it.
Gifts of Kindness
Every year we give and receive gifts for Christmas. Sometimes those gifts are unwanted or wasteful excess stuff that we don’t really need. This year try a gift of time or experience to those you love. Our favourite choices are movie vouchers, tickets or memberships. For those who have everything, consider donating to a charity in their name.
We suggest choosing something from the World Vision Gift Catalogue to donate to a child in need.
If you really want to give an actual wrapped gift, consider gifts that are made sustainably from renewable materials, made locally or made by artisans.
When you are buying for children, consider gifts that are battery-free, as every year discarded batteries end up in landfills and eventually into waterways.
If you do end up with excess or unwanted gifts, please donate them to a charity store. Many unwanted gifts simply gather dust in our closets for years when someone else could be using them. Give them to a charity that will ensure someone who wants them can use them.
Wrapped up with love
When wrapping gifts buy recyclable Christmas wrapping paper. The best and simplest is brown paper with ribbons. We love the ideas for wrapping gifts using recyclable materials over at EcoCult
Deck the Halls
Every year thousands of trees are used for Christmas, only to be discarded in January on bonfires. Instead, this year go for an alternative Christmas tree. There are many alternatives such as a potted tree that can be planted afterwards or a wooden tree frame that can be reused each year. Eco-Age have the best guide to eco-friendly Christmas trees including some fantastic alternative tree ideas.
Decorate your tree and home this year with natural decorations – pinecones, eucalyptus, holly, ivy and dried fruit. Or buy well-made decorations that will last for many years. Look out for beautiful handmade or artisanal items that you can enjoy for many years.
Consider your energy usage over the festive season by putting your Christmas lights on a timer. We love the look of homes decorated in lights, but don’t leave them on all day and night. Set a timer that will turn your lights on for a few hours once it gets dark each evening.
Decorate inside with candles that are made from beeswax, soy or vegetable wax to avoid paraffin wax that comes from petroleum.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
We all love to overindulge at Christmas, but this year, consider reducing the amount of food you prepare. Not only will you do everyone’s’ waistline a favour, you will also cut down dramatically on the amount of unnecessary food waste that is thrown away every Christmas.
Remember to recycle all you can after your festivities. Bottles, plastic, paper – you know the drill.
Plan a vegan or vegetarian dish for Christmas dinner. You know it is better for you and for the planet. Check out some of the great vegan recipes online and get inspired. We love Jamie Oliver’s collection of Vegan Christmas dinner recipes that are guaranteed to inspire you to try something new this year.
By sending all your cards digitally this year you can save paper and fuel for transport. And, bonus, you can leave the task of writing them right up to the last minute before you push send as they will be delivered instantly on time.
Enjoy the Season
Lastly, our best tip for a green Christmas is to just slow down and enjoy the season of goodwill. Spend time with friends and family doing things together at home. Christmas is the perfect time of year to gather with friends and family. Spend time cooking together, taking evening walks to see the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood or sitting by the fire playing a board game or watching a Christmas movie with your kids.
Instead of being caught up in the commercialisation of this season, make Christmas a reason to connect to others and share gifts of time, love and goodwill with everyone.
Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.