How to have a sustainable Christmas in 2022
28 November 2022 | Admin
'Tis the season to be jolly'...but sometimes it's hard to see the jolly aspect of this if you wander into any shopping centre. Frazzled shoppers laden with shopping bags, clutching the hands of grumpy children is definitely not my idea of fun.
Is it time to take stock and possibly approach the Festive season differently? One which might be less stressful but also be more environmentally friendly? Could you save money too? Here's our top tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas in 2022:
- Buy less stuff, have more fun
- Consider buying pre-loved gifts
- If you do buy new, go green
- Deck the halls...
- Buy a potted Christmas tree
- Ditch Christmas cards
- Look for eco friendly wrapping paper & gift wrap
- Make DIY Christmas Crackers
- Be more energy efficient when cooking Christmas Dinner
- Reduce Christmas food waste
There's no doubt that the best way that we can have a positive impact at Christmas from an eco-living / sustainable living point of view is actually easy.
That sounds mean-spirited, however, trust us, we're definitely not encouraging you to embrace your inner Scrooge! No presents doesn't have to equate to no fun.
We'd encourage you to think about experiences that your recipient might enjoy instead as a gift.
There's a myriad of options available, from simple ideas like a voucher for their favourite restaurant. Or if you'd like to be included too and are feeling plucky or particularly adventurous, a high climbing trail like 'go ape' makes for a cracking day out which will give an adrenaline thrill too.
The greatest gift you can often give someone is your time. And for me, I'm a little bit overloaded with toiletries / slippers / scented candles already, so would welcome less clutter and more fun!
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint over the festive period, is to consider pre-loved gifts. Plus, there's a bargain or two to be had on secondhand marketplaces like Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace?
Minimise your environmental impact over Christmas by embracing the circular economy. Aside from anything else, it's hugely satisfying to track down a bargain, saving and reusing items which might otherwise be discarded.
A recent bargain for me was a fabulous faux fur Reiss coat which I found on Ebay. It was in absolutely perfect condition from a pet & smoke free home and made a brilliant Christmas Gift for my eldest daughter.
Other items to look out for are designer handbags, which are often available on Ebay. Many have been barely used and quote often come complete with the original packaging. Kitchen gadgets such as food processors etc can also often be found, perfect for keen cooks!
Lastly, if you're looking for a tablet or laptop it's worth looking at secondhand. My partner just bought an immaculate Samsung tablet which looked brand new aside from a couple of little scuffs on the case. It was in perfect working order and the original box was available too. Made a fantastic gift for his daughter and he saved himself a couple of hundred quid in the process!
There are lots of thoughtful and eco friendly products and gifts available, many of which are plastic free too.
If you're buying for a foodie, think about shopping local and supporting your local food producers. Check in your local area, many smaller independent companies offer coffee or cheese subscriptions direct (see the fabulous Liquid Spirit above, a local coffee roasters local to us in East Sussex).
Perhaps you've got a craft beer lover in the house. Again, look for a monthly subscription box for them to try. They'll love receiving a few beers each month which they may not have tried before.
One very well received gift in our house a few years ago was a comic subscriptions of the Beano for our kids. And a few years back, my Mum really enjoyed a magazine subscription.
Alternatively why not think about buying gifts which replaces disposable counterparts and can be reused. Reusable makeup removing pads make a lovely stocking filler idea, replacing cotton wool, or nasty disposable makeup removing wipes and are a splendid gift for every age bracket.
Perhaps you know someone who really needs a new phone. Fairphone are the worlds most repairable phone. It's an eco smart phone, made from fairly sourced and recycled materials. Unlike lots of big brands, it's built to last and be repaired rather than with built in obsolescence.
…with boughs of holly.
We love the idea of foraging in your garden for stems and branches of evergreen foliage. Plus when using pine branches, it's got the added benefit of making your whole house smell wonderful too.
Many of us love a real Christmas tree, and it goes without saying that a real tree is a much more sustainable option than a plastic one. You can now even rent a christmas tree, however this seems to be a VERY expensive option.
It's better if you can buy a rooted tree which can be used inside this year, then simply potted and reused again next year.
If you can't lay your hands on a potted tree, look for accreditation from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), so you’ll know that your Christmas Tree has been grown sustainably and ethically.
Once the festive season is over, make sure you dispose of your real tree in an eco-friendly way.
Many local authority councils will offer tree drop-off options at your local recycling centres. That allows the trees to be collected and then shredded / chipped into mulch. This service is usually available in December and January.
Alternatively, look out for local charities who may offer a paid for collection scheme for a small donation which saves getting tree needles all over your car. In our local area, the local Rotary club offer this facility for just £6.50 which saves so much hassle!
This had the added incentive of being brilliant for the chronically lazy / busy amongst us. Instead of the hassle of buying and sending Christmas cards, made a video call instead, or use a service like jibjab to make your own personalised festive video ecard to share.
Did you know that not all wrapping paper is recyclable? It's true. That's why you may have seen a lot more eco-friendly wrapping paper on your High St this year. It has been spotted in every major supermarket too!
Christmas crackers are such a fun part of Christmas day celebrations and everyone just loves a paper crown and sharing the cracker jokes. However many Christmas Crackers are also full of plastic tat - fortune telling fish anyone?
Thankfully we've spotted Christmas Cracker kits both online and at Tesco. The beauty of these is twofold. Not only does it give the kids something to do on Christmas Eve, you can also fill them with cute, useful gifts, such as lip balms, or small packs of sweets.
The BBC has a cracking article about how to be more energy efficient when cooking Christmas Dinner.
In summary, it recommends using any energy efficient applicances to prep dinner for the big day.
Here's the tips we'll be using at home, both to save energy and hassle:
- Microwave your brussel sprouts
- Pressure cook your potatoes for roasties
- Slow cook your gammon 2 to 3 days beforehand
- Make an double portion of veg (red cabbage in our case) for a roast dinner and freeze the rest to be reheated on the big day
It has been estimated that around 7 million tonnes of food is binned each Christmas in the UK! This is especially sad and shocking given the levels of food poverty in this country.
Some ideas on how to reduce Christmas food waste:
- Menu & meal planning and then create a shopping list which you stick to. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it!
- Go for a smaller size if necessary. If there's just the two of you but you still really fancy a Turkey dinner (and why not!) think about buying a turkey crown instead of a whole turkey.
- If you think you’re going to have way too much, think about setting aside a meal for neighbours, or even better, invite elderly neighbours to join you.
- Plan for how to use up leftovers. There’s no excuse with amazing inspiration online for cracking recipes using up leftover ham, turkey, cheese etc
- Make use of your freezer, storing leftovers safely for easy meals at a later date
Have you any tips to share for an eco-friendly Christmas?
For more sustainable alternatives to disposable including period pants, reusable sanitary towels, reusable makeup removing pads, check out our website.
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About the Author: Helen Rankin is a Mum of 4 who founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit, in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. She went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include reusable period pants & pads in the UK and reusable makeup removing pads. Her customer services team pride themselves on providing relatable friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.