When this time of the year comes around you are either in good spirits or glad it's all over. But, we can all agree on, this Christmas is certainly going to be more of the same as last year and instead of Grinch, Omicron is here to steal our holidays. However, I have put together a list of things you can do to make your Christmas and New Year celebrations greener and joyful.
Christmas is a time of excitement, fun, and joy. It is a time when you adorn the house in “pretty little things.” It brings much cheer to a lot of people to see decorations evoke such happy thoughts and feelings. Christmas decorations trigger the love hormone (oxytocin release), the same hormone we release when we cuddle.
Choosing the right Christmas decorations can completely transform a space to reflect the personality and value of the household that it’s a part of. Some of us get into the festive mood by decorating as early as November and removing them in January or some just leave them hanging for the next Christmas. Nevertheless, we can all agree on decorations can be used to channel your inner Grinch or your inner Santa Claus.
While we are having fun and spreading Christmas cheer and joy, we should remember the environment.
Consider These Amazing Zero-Waste Decorations for Your Perfect Christmas.
Ultimately, the faux garlands, custom wrappers, and defective lights live far longer in the environment than they will ever do in millions of homes across the world. In 2016, we threw away 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, bought around eight million fake Christmas trees, and bought over 5 million real Christmas trees.
Developing an awareness of this impact is sobering but it doesn’t stifle the joy of experiencing Christmas sustainably. New traditions can be created around developing eco-friendly decorations and supporting your local environmental friendly businesses.
1. Buy Sustainable Christmas Decorations Locally or Make it Yourself
One of the first things to consider is purchasing local eco-friendly decorations to reduce carbon emissions. This is a great way to do your part in ensuring to reduce your waste. You could swap tinsel out for one of our handcrafted ornaments or if you enjoy a bit of craft, you make decorations out of recycled paper. Here is a tutorial for 6 easy hanging ornaments that don't require a lot of time or set it as a fun kid's activity, it sure will keep them quiet for a couple of minutes.
2. Rent a Christmas Tree
At this point in planet Earth’s history, we can all agree that trees are very important to our future. So, what’s better than cutting down a tree? Renting a live tree from a Christmas tree farm, returning it in January, and then renting the tree every year until it’s old enough to be planted into a forest. If you already have a traditional tree, fake or real, there’s enough time to put your name on the environment’s ‘nice’ list.
3. Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Disposal
The most environmentally friendly way to dispose of a Christmas tree is to complete the natural life cycle. This means turning the tree into mulch. Burning the tree instead of mulching will only release the carbon trapped in the wood and emit it back into the atmosphere. This defeats the whole purpose of buying a natural tree that could have been recycled and utilized in an environmentally friendly manner. If you have a faux tree, the best thing to do is treat it well and maximize its usage.
Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Zero-Waste Brownie Points!
Now, more than ever, you need to adapt to natural products that lessen the impact on mother nature. In this twinkling festive season, you should consider giving your loved ones a zero-waste Christmas gift as a sign of appreciation for their support to you and also as a means to protect our environment.
4. Gift Vouchers for a Zero-Waste Store
If you're like me who leaves shopping for presents to the last minute, gift vouchers are perfect, especially for a zero-waste store. Not only does it allow your loved ones to buy whatever they need and like, but at the same time persuade your friends or relatives to shop more sustainably. Some of the stores that are offering deals on gift vouchers are EarthHero, EcoRoots, and Package Free Shop.
5. Handcrafted Gifts with a Sprinkle of Your TLC
Before online shopping and fast fashion become a craze, people gifted handmade presents. Ok, before you scream out "I don't have the time to sit and knit a jumper", although it's quite therapeutic, you should try it. You don't need to be creative or super talented with your hands to make something, it can be something simple as a photo book with all the fun and embarrassing moments, or create a hamper basket filled with treats, household or personal care products (of course plastic-free), the possibilities are endless. And the most incredible thing is it will have your personal touch on it.
6. Recycle Unwanted Presents
We have all been in a situation where we've received presents either it was awful or simply received a present from someone we lost in touch with, whatever the reason we have things lying around at home, we simply don't use. Rather than sending those undesirable gifts to the landfill. If you haven't used them, wrap them up and place them under someone's Christmas tree.
More Tips to Help You Celebrate the Holidays Sustainably.
7. Food Waste during the Festive Season
Yes, we all know about food waste in general and how much it contributes to the environment. But, I'd love to share tips just to make your journey along the zero-waste path a little easier. Christmas is a time for giving. Sadly, this is downplayed. As the saying goes ‘it is not to be done but do it anyway’. During the festive season, an estimated 4.2 million Christmas dinners are scraped into the trash. Instead of scraping leftovers down the drain, try packaging them and dropping them off at a homeless shelter.
8. Food Packaging
During the festive season, more food is bought. As a consumer, you can ensure that the food you purchase during this time is packaged sustainably, you can do this by using your produce bags when purchasing naked fruit and vegetables.
Christmas cards are bought and given to loved ones and people who truly mean something to you. This is an amazing thing to do for the people you care about. However, it can be done more sustainably. Consider using digital cards instead.
10. Choose Reusables
Choose food packaging and serving ware that can be reused by cleaning them, even better you can repurpose them as home decor.
11. ‘Re’ everything
Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle…
12. Resist Disposables
If you have guests for Christmas, you may be tempted to go with disposables to make cleaning up easier. This would be the perfect time to show off beautiful China that you have kept hidden away.
13. Scratch-made is Best
Make snacks and treats from scratch as well as dessert and pastry. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest that you can follow if you don't have experience in the kitchen. Cooking and baking from scratch create a lot less waste.
14. Make it Digital
Inviting guests for Christmas dinner? Send invitations by email.
If you find yourself having leftover food that is not fit for giving away, you can compost it. Compost is valuable plant food.
" Be kind and take care of each other"
While you enjoy the festivities of the holidays, please remember those who need a meal and remember the environment that we all depend on to stay alive.
This holiday is going to be anything but normal, especially with lot's of empty sits at the dining tables, but as 2021 closes upon us, let's hope next Christmas will be healthier and a little more ordinary.
I would like to thank you for your support and I wish you a Happy Christmas!