Stylish and sustainable are not normally two words that sit together in unison. Especially at Christmas time when overexcitement and excess outweighs the desire to be environmentally friendly. This blog will show that it is possible to have a stylish and sustainable festive holiday.
Let’s start with decorating. An artificial tree is tempting to own, especially if you are a really keen bean and want to put it up early. It doesn’t drop needles and yes, it can be used year after year. Alternatively, a potted live Christmas tree is not made of plastic and can be used year after year. When purchasing a real Christmas tree, getting one from a sustainable source is a good option. You can ensure that you are buying from a sustainable source by making sure that the farm is part of the Christmas Tree Growers Association. They have strict guidelines with regard to sustainable seeds, cultivation and wildlife protection. In addition, the Soil Association certifies trees as organic. When the holidays are over don’t forget to recycle your tree. Recycle Now have a search facility to find your nearest Christmas tree recycling point – https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/christmas-trees-1 .
There are some fantastic authentic artificial trees on the market, but a real tree is tres chic. Live trees are environmentally friendly and let’s be frank, they smell amazing. The fresh fir tree aroma really brings the spirit of Christmas to a home.
Decorate your tree and house with recycled decorations. Most of us keep decorations we have collected over the years, but if you are buying new decorations this year, try to steer away from plastic and tinsel. Instead, make your own. Forage for branches, holly and pine cones, make popcorn garlands or make paperchains with recycled paper.
Use LED fairy lights to decorate the tree and house. LEDs are more environmentally friendly. Also, remember to turn them off at night to save power and reduce fire risk too. Solar powered lights are available to decorate the exterior of your property, which are brilliant to scatter on hedges in your garden and you don’t have to remember to turn them on and off. Additionally, the battery powered LED fairy lights are lovely. Rechargeable batteries can be used to power these. They are generally on a fine metal wire and look classy on mantelpieces and table tops.
The lead up to Christmas is always thrilling, especially if you have children who want advent calendars. I personally have a reusable wooden advent calendar. I fill it with chocolate treats and a festive activity to do that day for my children. The waste produced is far less than a shop bought cardboard and plastic advent calendar and children much prefer it.
The most sustainable gift you can give is a donation to a charity or an experience rather than a physical product. However, if you do want to hit the shops, first of all make sure you take your bags for life and purchase gifts that are environmentally friendly. For example products from Lush or local ethically sources products. Buying toys for children can be tricky, but you can avoid toys with batteries (which as a parent, I’m all for), buy wooden or fabric gifts or there is even some companies that make toys from recycled plastic. To offset the purchases, how about giving unwanted items to charity or even buy preloved gifts?
Wrap gifts in recycled paper and ribbon that you have kept from previous gifts that you received or be unique and use material instead of paper. Instead of sending physical Christmas cards, send e cards. However, if you’re a traditionalist The Woodland trust and recylenow.com have a card recycling scheme.
The dinner table can be beautiful and sustainable. Use sustainable materials, such as cotton, silk and wood. Avoid plastic plates and cutlery, let’s keep it elegant. Candles provide a festive atmosphere. Use soy or beeswax base, they are more eco-friendly than paraffin candles and are smoke free. Plus they burn more efficiently and if scented with natural oils, they smell amazing and add to the festive ambience. Crackers are a British tradition, but they are very wasteful. If you really want crackers, opt for eco-friendly ones or reusable fabric ones.
Use organic produce and try to purchase locally to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used. Using a milkman service eliminates plastic bottles and encourages locally sourced products. At Christmas, many milkmen supply additional festive fairs, so keep it local. If drinks are bought in the supermarket, buy large bottles to reduce the packaging waste.
When it comes to hosting, plan, plan, plan. When it comes to the food try not to over order and avoid anything not eaten being thrown away. Remember, compost all food peelings etc. when preparing meals to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Over 74 million mince pies and 4.3 million Christmas dinners are wasted each year.
If all the wasted food at Christmas was recycled into energy (rather than sent to landfill), an average medium sized home could be powered for 57 years – and yes this even includes sprouts.
That is a wrap (in eco-friendly paper of course). I hope this has helped you have a stylish and sustainable Christmas. Until next time, Merry Christmas!