Have a merry sustainable Christmas – Part I
Ho, ho, ho – the festive season is upon us! It is the merriest time of the year … but probably also the most unsustainable. We certainly don’t want to rain on your parade and dull the sparkle of Christmas, so instead, we would like to share Grandma Sita’s best tips for a greener holiday season. 🎄♻️💚
1 Use wrapping paper alternatives
Did you know that gift wrapping paper usually cannot be recycled? It is often of poor quality and contains chemical colours, coating, or glitter (microplastics!) which is why it belongs in the general waste. Of course you can try to not rip the paper when you peel it off your presents and reuse it the next year – but there are more convenient alternatives.
- Newspaper and magazines: Save the most beautiful pages and use them to wrap your presents. Every one will be unique.
- Brown paper: Recycled brown paper is greener than conventional wrapping paper and if you add a nice bow, name tag or twig it will look stylish too.
- Shawls and fabric: Why not wrap presents in fabric? A nice shawl from your local charity shop can actually be a present itself.
- Fabric bags: Simply put your presents in a fabric bag and use it for years to come.
2 Make your own Christmas decoration
Instead of buying Christmas decoration, why not make it yourself! This is a great activity for kids too. You can even use paper from old newspapers or magazines to craft stars, snowflakes, and other festive shapes. If you make the decoration sturdy enough, you will be able to use it for several years.
3 Give a homemade present or memories
There are so many presents you can make yourself. It really only depends on the time and money you want to invest and what tools you have available. If you are not the crafty-type, give away an experience and create lasting memories together.
- Need a present for a foodie? How about making your own glögg (traditional Nordic drink) or Christmas sweets? Get inspired by Grandma Sita’s Christmas cookies 💚 plant-based recipe is quick and easy to make 👉http://www.sita-nena.com/plantbased-christmas-cookies/
- Presents for a relaxing time-out: Body scrubs are easy to make and you can, for instance, recycle your coffee grounds to make them. Or give away a massage or beauty treatment to support local businesses.
- Presents for adrenaline junkies: White river rafting, paragliding, theme parks, bungee jumping – there’s so many possibilities to get the receiver’s blood pumping!
- Presents for a crafty person: Think pottery, jewelry, or cooking class – there is a course for everyone out there. Join Grandma Sita’s plan-based cooking workshops against food waste 🌱 sustainability tastes great 👉http://www.sita-nena.com/workshops/
- Feeling crafty yourself? The sky is the limit! A self-made wine shelf? A magnetic board with unique, personalized magnets (photos, beer bottle caps, …)? A knitted jumper?
- Make memories together: How about a day filled with the receiver’s favourite things – food, activities, events – without telling them what’s next? It will be a magical day full of surprises. Or how about an invitation to a home-cooked three course dinner?
4 Buy ethical Christmas chocolate
Unfortunately, cocoa production is intrinsically linked with modern day slavery. Especially in some parts of West Africa, cocoa beans are still harvested by children. Good news is that some of the big chocolate producers are finally taking measures, sourcing their chocolate in a more ethical way. Keep your eyes our for ethical labels on the packaging that guarantee a sustainable supply chain. We as consumers do have an influence as every purchase is a small statement. Thus, every fairly produced Christmas treat counts to remind the chocolate industry of their responsibility.
5 Opt for a sustainable Christmas tree
Let’s face it, buying a tree whose sole purpose is to add a bit of hygge to our living room for a couple of weeks only to be burned to ashes in a garbage facility after the holidays – that’s not sustainable at all. However, finding a sustainably sourced Christmas tree is a very, very deep rabbit hole that not everyone is willing to go down.
So why not go for a non-tree this year? Get creative and build your own tree out of books, wood, paper or whatever else you can think of. Again, websites like Pinterest are your friend and a great source of inspiration.
A little goes a long way
Nobody is perfect and you don’t have to be either. The most important thing is to start somewhere. If we all make little changes in our life, the world will be a better, more sustainable place. We hope this post did inspire you to have a greener festive season. For more ideas, check out part II.
📷 & 🖋️ Words by @theroadbeneathmyfeet
Did you know?
A 2 metre high artificial Christmas tree made from plastic has a carbon footprint of around 40kg of CO2. Compared to a real tree that would mean a fake tree would need to be used for at least 10 years to be greener than a real tree. (Source: The Carbon Trust)