An Eco-Friendly Christmas
Christmas is for me one of the best times of the year. I look forward to planning it with my Mum every November and it has the best childhood memories for me, something I’m hopeful I can pass on to my children one day. But if we are honest with ourselves the Christmas season can be a time of excess and waste.
Now I don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch or anything, so instead of moaning about how much stuff we end up with or how much we end up throwing out I’d rather focus on some easy solutions that means we can all enjoy Christmas Day while still being conscious about the efforts put into waste reduction.
So here are some top tips to have an eco-friendly Christmas.
Reusable Wrapping Paper
If you are anything like me your lounge room ends up hidden under a mountain of paper. Which you bought for the sole purpose of hiding a gift, destroying the paper and throwing it away. Yep that’s a single use product right there. Alternative options include fabric wrapping paper – like a drawstring bag tied up with some ribbon. You can then save this and use again next year. Or try the Japanese art of furoshiki, which involves wrapping your gifts up in scarves using elaborate folds and knots.
I found some basic instructions on the 1 million women website but there are also loads of video how to clips on the internet available.
Alternatively you can get your children to draw on some brown paper and use this with some sting to wrap your gifts. This would definitely give it a personal touch.
Most wrapping paper that you buy can be recycled except those with embellishments like glitter, metallic foil, velvet etc and obviously cellophane needs to go in the landfill bin.
Buy Second Hand
If you can, buying some second hand toys not only saves you a little bit of money at Christmas but you haven’t contributed to adding new items to the waste stream in fact more than likely you have saved something perfectly good ending up in landfill.
The majority of the gifts that end up in our children’s santa sacks are second hand. Bought from school fetes or second hand stores. My children are young enough not to know the difference, nor do they care. If you have older children a friend of mine suggested taking anything new out of it’s box so you can’t tell which gifts are new and which are second hand.
Gift experiences or vouchers
This is such an easy win. Instead of trying to figure out what the other half likes or buying yet more ‘stuff’ you can try gifting a voucher or an experience like a yearly zoo membership instead. I mainly get given vouchers for a massage or facial, which works a treat for me as I love going to the dayspa but it also means I get some timeout from the children as well – winning!!!
Make your own bonbons (Christmas Crackers)
I’m not a huge fan of the plastic toys that come in our crackers anyway – they tend to be pretty useless and end up straight in the landfill bin. Making your own means you can add some personalised items in for family or something small but useful – or even some small treats like homemade truffles or chocolate. I found these instructions on the Australian Womens Weekly website
You can buy most of the materials including the ‘cracker’ at spotlight.
Make your gifts
Do you need to get a gift for work colleagues or your childs pre-school teacher? An easy win here is to make something edible and gift it in a glass jar. Christmas themed biscuits, jams, homemade wine even are a really nice way to say thank you to someone without having to go out and buy who know’s what. Plus it will end up eaten and not thrown away which is totally winning in my book.
There are so many things you can do to be a little more waste friendly at Christmas, all it takes is a little bit of time, planning and some imagination. My top tip is to start with one thing you can do and go from there, it all becomes easier over time as you get used to doing things a little bit differently.