I love Christmas, although it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Giving gifts is one of my love languages, so I love to buy the people I love gifts at Christmas. To put thought into and see their faces when they open them. But I am also becoming conscious of the impact the things we buy and use are having on the environment and the world we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren. I am not going to confess to always getting it right, but I am trying to do better. I have made environmental swaps such as trying to avoid single-use plastic and switching to reusable products where it’s feasible.
This year I have been thinking about what swaps I can make to make our Christmas a bit greener.
5 Swaps for a Greener Christmas
Here are 5 swaps you can easily do starting right now to help you have a greener Christmas this year and help the environment.
1. Use Reusable gift bags
Over the past two Christmases, I have started to invest in reusable, drawstring gift bags to wrap our gifts that can be used year after year. So we are not using wrapping paper which is just going to ripped off and thrown away. This is more expensive and I can’t afford it for everything, but I am a firm believer that if we all did what we can it will make a difference.
2. Reduce Food Waste
Did you know that £444 million worth of food gets binned on average in the UK at Christmas? That’s an incredible amount of food. I think we all prone to over-buying especially if we are entertaining, but it’s worth having a planning session before you hit the shops. Write down and plan who is coming and the type of food that they will consume. When people are leaving offer them a portion of leftovers to take home and use up. If you have more food than you can eat consider donating it locally, there will be people who are grateful of it. Make sure to compost any leftovers.
3. Send Ecards or Ditch the Cards All Together
When my Grandma was alive, I could never ditch Christmas cards all together as she took so much pleasure in receiving them and used to tel everyone how many she use to receive. For the record, it was often over a hundred. But for the majority of people I really don’t think they would mind if you sent them an email or an ecard instead. Or ditched sending the cards altogether and donated the money to charity. The cost of a stamp has risen so much recently, that sending them alone is pretty expensive before you add in the environmental impact of creating, printed and delivering them.
4. Shop Secondhand
Presents do not have to be brand new. I have bought my children secondhand gifts before and they have had absolutely no idea. They are also much cheaper and better for your bank balance. I also sell or donate my children’s toys when they have finished with them to pass on to other children. Reusing it so much better for the environment and something we should all try to do more.
5. Use a Real Christmas Tree
I regularly go through the debate as to whether decorating with a real tree is better for the environment than buying a plastic one and reusing it every year. Well, apparently using a real tree is overall better for the environment as it help to fight climate change when it’s being grown and can be composted down when it’s life is over. There are also companies that will give you a potted tree and replant it after you have used it too.
So there you are, just a few ideas to help you have a greener Christmas. Do you do any of these already?