Dreaming of a Green Christmas
The Christmas season is finally upon us, and oh what a wonderful time of the year it is. A time of family, friends, love, laughter, and fun.
And if we’re not careful, a time of too much consumption and waste as well.
Thankfully, it’s possible to enjoy the fun and festivities while still having a more sustainable, eco-friendly Christmas. With a little thought and planning, that green Christmas won’t be just a dream any longer.
1. Rethink Your Tree
One of the biggest ways you can enjoy a more sustainable Christmas is by changing your tree.
You might think that buying a plastic tree and reusing it would be a sustainable option, but you’d be wrong. Unless you keep that plastic tree for more than 20 years, the environmental costs to produce and ship it still outweigh those of a natural tree.
But is cutting down a tree year after year the best option? It’s certainly better than using a fake tree, but there’s still a high environmental cost there as well. One of the major drawbacks to this method is that people don’t know how to properly recycle their natural trees after the season. If you choose to use a natural tree each year, contact your local council to see if they have a tree recycling scheme, or if they can point you to a good option.
If you really want to go green for Christmas, though, your best bet is to find yourself a forever tree. Purchasing a potted Christmas tree will allow your tree to grow with you over the years. In New Zealand, Potted is a great option – you can view the Levin-based trees in person or order online for a tree to be shipped to you.
2. Give Experiences
Another great way to reduce your footprint this Christmas is to avoid buying stuff that your friends and family might only use for a short time and instead gift them experiences. Perhaps your loved ones would enjoy a soak in some natural hot pools, or maybe a hiking trip through a national park is more their style. Whatever their idea of fun, gifting experiences will help them build lasting, fond memories without the detrimental effects of plastic found in many traditional gifts.
3. Buy Green Gifts
Although experiences are great, sometimes you just need to give a gift. In that case, seek out eco-friendly, plastic-free gifts wherever possible.
Not sure where to start? Our natural garments make fabulous gifts, but we also stock some other wonderful brands who share the same values we do. This gorgeous Weekender Duffel is perfect for the adventurer in your life. Or this certified non-toxic, plastic-free JOCO reusable cup would be great for the coffee lovers you know. View our whole range of stylish and sustainable items here.
4. Use Recycled Wrapping
When wrapping your presents this year, skip that expensive store-bought wrapping paper – it’ll only end up in the bin anyway. Instead, see what you can recycle to make beautiful and unique-looking gifts. You could use newspaper, scrap fabric, or even scarves you found at a secondhand shop (bonus: your recipient can even use the scarf!).
5. Reuse Wherever Possible
A big part of having a sustainable Christmas is reusing things wherever possible. Don’t toss the gift bags or wrapping paper; instead, save them so they can be used again next year. Forget switching up your decorations to keep up with new trends; instead, purchase timeless pieces that you’ll want to use year after year. Want to use an advent calendar for the kids? Buy a wooden one or make a fabric one which can be filled with new things each year.
6. Creative with Cards
A favourite Christmas tradition for many people is sending out cards, but most people don’t think about the environmental cost of producing and shipping these cards.
If you enjoy sending season’s greetings to your loved ones in the form of cards, why not look for brands that make cards from 100% recycled materials? You could even make your own cards from materials you have around your home. Or better yet, you could send out plantable cards, so that not only is there truly no waste, but your friends and family will think of you fondly as they tend to that beautiful spot in their garden.
7. Consider Your Energy Consumption
Christmas wouldn’t be the beautiful season it is without lights, but a truly eco-friendly Christmas requires us to rethink our lighting situation. If you haven’t already done so, switch over to LED lights, which use up to 85% less electricity than traditional bulbs. You can also add a timer to your display so that your lights will turn off at a specific time, potentially saving hours of electricity.
8. Craft an Organic Christmas Menu
If you’re in charge of Christmas dinner this year, seek out locally grown produce and organic, free-range meats. Supporting small-scale producers will support your local economy and reduce food miles at the same time. You can even seek out locally produced and organic beverages. Here in New Zealand, there are plenty of excellent wine and spirit producers who employ sustainable measures in their vineyards, so why not allow them to provide your favourite holiday tipple?
9. Watch Your Waste
The potential for waste during the Christmas season is higher than ever – food and packaging waste seem nearly inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Once the Christmas dinner has been picked over, make sure you store your leftover food properly and create a plan for how to use it up. You can use meats in sandwiches for lunches, while both leftover meat and veggies make a healthy and hearty stew.
When it comes to packaging waste, try to be mindful about packaging when you purchase food in the first place, but be sure to separate out anything that can be composted or recycled!
10. Reduce Your Footprint
Finally, during this busy time of year it’s easy to end up dashing through the town without realising the additional emissions. Transportation can’t be avoided, but consider carpooling with friends to go shopping together or when heading to a party. If you live close enough, you might even want to hop on your bike or take public transport.