With December fast approaching, it’s time to talk about a sustainable Christmas (where has this year gone!?) Many people tend to have a habit of buying new every year, including trees, wreaths, tinsel, baubles, calendars, wrapping paper, the list goes on. In general, it’s an extremely wasteful time of year and decorating the house is no exception.
Christmas is all about consumption. Plenty of food, wine, presents, decorations, it is a very flamboyant time of year. It is magical and glittery and full of warmth, (mulled) wine and feasts. As fantastic as this is, we do need to strip it back slightly. So, let’s get into five top tips that we can implement to ensure that our houses look beautiful and that we can still enjoy the true spirit of Christmas except in a more sustainable way.
Buy a locally planted Christmas Tree
Surprisingly, unless you have a fake tree that you’ve had forever, buying a fake tree is actually less sustainable than buying real. The reason being is that fake trees are often made from plastic in China and the carbon footprint is huge as the trees need to be transported across the world. As the trends change or as the trees become battered over time, they often end up in landfill, and because they’re made from PVC, they are not recyclable. The best way to erect a tree in your home is to buy from a local supplier which can usually be found at garden centres. Once the trees are felled, new ones are planted, which helps the environment and keeps wildlife thriving.
Buy groceries from local suppliers
We are all more gluttonous in December and there is bound to be more food waste. In an effort to be more sustainable, try to purchase your food, meat, wine and chocolate from local suppliers. Also, instead of throwing out leftovers, either make a soup or simply freeze them; you can freeze almost anything! And finally, when you’re buying booze, always go organic. Buying organic ensures no pesticides, fertilisers or chemicals which is better for both you and the environment.
Say goodbye to plastic decorations
Let’s talk Christmas decorations. When buying decorations, it is tempting to go cheap and cheerful. I mean, they come out once a year, so the tackier the better, right? Well in fact, cheap ornaments are much more likely to break which actually makes less financial sense in the long run and also adds unnecessary waste. Invest in high quality baubles and ornaments that are going to last you for many, many years. Also buy Christmas decorations made out of wood which is much less prone to breaking and is going to last for a lifetime. Wood is also a natural material which is better for our environment. When lighting candles, which we all love to do, go for soy or beeswax. Many candles are made from paraffin wax which releases toxic chemicals into the air, so always double check. Literati & Light do some excellent hand-poured soy wax candles, plus you’re supporting an ethically functioning and independent company!
When thinking of Christmas, the scent of pine trees, gingerbread, oranges and cinnamon comes to mind. Get crafty and make your own decorations and wreaths! Collect pinecones and dry out oranges, cranberries and star-anise. If you get creative, you can easily make your own decorations and save a ton of money. Bake mince pies and fill the house with the scent of baking rather than buying room sprays that are toxic for the environment. There are so many ways that you can inject some DIY into your home this Christmas. Type ‘homemade Christmas’ into Pinterest. You’re welcome.
Be mindful of your lights
Lighting is a HUGE part of Christmas. First of all, switch to LED energy-efficient bulbs which uses 80% less energy and saves money. Also, if you’re going to decorate the front of your house (which you definitely should, the more lights the merrier) then invest in some solar-powered lights. Yes, we don’t have as many hours of light during Winter, but it’s still enough to power your lights, and unless it snows, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold weather!
As a final mention, try to use brown craft paper to wrap presents which, unlike most wrapping papers, is recyclable (and actually recycle it), secure wrapping with ribbons or rope instead of tape, always hold onto and re-use gift bags and try to send e-cards rather than physical cards. Christmas will surely be different this year, but nonetheless, let’s try to make it as sustainable as possible and feel great about the fact that we’re channelling our inner creativity whilst saving the planet and still enjoying the festive season. *Raises a cup of Eggnog* Cheers!