Make Your Christmas More Sustainable

Despite the fact that we try our hardest to abide by green principles 11 months of the year, it’s probably fair to say that it all goes out of the window as soon as December is upon us. Because even when we desperately aim to stay away from the ‘commercialism’ off it all, evidently we’ll be dragging in a 6ft pine and bulk-ordering the treats before you can say ‘Rudolph the red-nose reindeer’.

A fabulous family Christmas is the aim, but that doesn’t have to come at the extent your year-round sustainability efforts. So using back to basics ideas and drawing on products that won’t end up in landfill, we’ve outlines our top principles for enjoying Christmas more sustainably.

Opt for an artificial tree

If you’re a devout ‘real-tree’ fan, then the idea of anything less than au natural probably isn’t your idea of a perfect Christmas, but hear us out, because the truth is, a fake tree is never going to deplete forests on a yearly basis. It’s even possible to purchase PE (polyethylene) trees, which means the branches are moulded from real trees! Yes, there really is that much expertise going into artificial trees! It’s also possible to opt for ‘real feel’ varieties and as most come with a 10 year guarantee, you can cut out those January trips to the dump.

If you really have to have a live tree then opt for a small potted one which you can keep in the garden throughout the year.

Get The Kids Involved: Recycled Decorations

Tree Decorations

Keep you little ones busy, save on decorations and recycle with simple home-made decorations created with everyday household rubbish. You can decorate your whole tree by cutting out the flower shaped base of drinks bottles (both 500ml and 2 litre) and filling with glitter, tissue, beads or anything else suitably pretty. While it’s probably best to invest in some suitable glue, even toddlers can enjoy creating these simple decorations under adult supervision.

If you’re going for a more minimal look, silver spray painted pinecones also look beautiful. Go on a quest and source some from the ground, kids love it and it gets everyone active.

Advent Calendars

Advent calendars are festive cheer defined, there’s nothing quite like opening that first treat on the 1st of December! Home-made calendars are so much more personal than shop bought chocolate varieties, plus they’re a whole lot more sustainable. If your kids need convincing, just promise them the treats will be better, your own input will appeal much more than a tiny chocolate with a blurred reindeer face on it!

If the idea of arts and crafts fills you with dread then there are really only two ways to create your own; the ‘matchbox stack’ and the ‘pocket utilising tapestry’. Allow us to explain. By stacking left over match boxes in a 9,7,5,3,1 formation and gluing in place, you can create a 25 box pyramid for your little ones to decorate. Once they’re suitably covered in glue, glitter or any other creative items your kids happen to find, you’re ready to pop in the treats and wait for the praise. (If you’re trying to cut down on sugar, toy cars and trinkets are a great alternative).

Alternatively make use of a batch of old clothes by cutting out the pockets and roughly stitching to a piece of fabric. A DIY job all adds to the charm, so don’t worry if your stitching isn’t perfect! Allow the kids to decorate and fill with treats as above.

Purchase e-vouchers and charitable donations as gifts

Instead of physical gifts that serve little use, gifts requiring no paper, packaging or mailing are a great way to give them something they’ll really want without any unnecessary wastage. Next are a great example of a store that now provide e-vouchers – straight to your recipients inbox. It’s also possible to donate to a wide range of charities and then send an email informing the person you’ve donated on behalf of.

The same applies to Christmas cards, while you may want to send close friends and family a traditional card through the post, e-cards are great for acquaintances and save on cost and paper wastage. When buying cards it’s also good practice to make sure they’re recycled card – even if you are only sending a few through the post.

Utilise Leftovers

Christmas may be a time for indulgence, but food wastage certainly isn’t something to be taken lightly, especially when so many people are struggling financially and emotionally around Christmastime. If you find you’re overwhelmed with chocolate gifts and hampers in the lead up to Christmas (some industries are rife for these sort of gestures!) then consider donating some to local hospitals and nursing homes. Equally if you find you have leftovers from Christmas dinner then banish them straight to the freezer, the aim is absolutely no wastage and even scraps you’d usually bin can make great bird food.

Victoria is writing on behalf of Christmas Tree World, a specialist provider of affordable luxury artificial Christmas trees, pre-lit trees and lights. Christmas Tree World are currently hosting a competition allowing entrants to win a beautiful Christmas tree and a treat filled hamper!

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