Christmas is a beautiful time of the year & can be an even more wonderful experience if we take some steps to make conscious & earth-friendly decisions.
There is no need to create unnecessary waste, the below suggestions will give you some advice on how you can have a wonderful & greener Christmas!
1.Ditch the wrapping Paper
Instead of using wrapping paper that often lands in the bin, try wrap your presents with something the recipient can re-use. Below are a few things you can use to wrap your presents in:
- A beautiful cloth tote bag can be used for weekly food shopping once it has done it’s job as wrapping material.
- Using a scarf to wrap a present is original & looks very pretty! You can find heaps of inexpensive scarves from vintage stores and Op shops.
- Use recycled paper & draw/paint your own design on it. If you have kids this is a great activity to involve them in.
- Smaller things can be wrapped in little cloth bags that can be re-used for purchasing fresh fruits & vegetables at markets.
- Use small jewellery boxes & other little cases to package gifts – you can again draw/paint your own design on it.
2. Give Digital Gifts
Buy digital gifts: These don’t cost the earth much & can keep the recipient happy for a very long time (e.g 1 year subscription for Netflix) You can find a few of digital gifts ideas below:
- iTunes vouchers for music lovers
- Buy online music subscriptions, like Pandora or Spotify
- If you are tech savvy you can make a video for the recipient (e.g collection of pictures, send them a video message)
- A Netflix subscription is a great gift for movie lovers
- Audible has a large selection of audiobooks – ideal for people who spend lots of time driving or commuting by public transport to work
- Buy e-books instead of books – just make sure you get the right version for the device the recipient owns
3. Kiva Gift Certificate
Give a loan! Kiva allows the recipient to invest in something they believe in – the recipient will then receive the money back once the loan has been re-paid, or continue to invest that amount into another project. You can gift a Kiva Loan to anyone you think will value supporting others by empowering them.
4. Make your own
Create your own little gifts! Hand-made products are beautiful & can be adjusted to reflect exactly what the recipient likes: scents, colours & texture can all be altered to fit the person you are making something for. Great home-made gifts are:
- Shower Gels – find a simple recipe here
- Room sprays – learn how to make it here
- Jams – makes use of very ripe fruits by making them into jams
- Write a poem or song if you are gifted in that area – then record it and give it as a digital gift.
- If cooking/baking is your thing create a recipe with all the things the recipient loves – if you are good with wood you can also engrave the recipe you created on a wooden chopping board.
- Grow a plant for the recipient – if they love flowers grow them a lush pot of a flower they love. If you know the recipient loves herbs, grow them some Basil or Rosemary – both are used often and look pretty. Aloe Vera makes a great gift too, is so versatile and fairly easy to maintain. Choose the plant you feel will suit the recipient best.
Whatever skill you have, try and incorporate it in your gift-making – it will show the recipient that you have put thought into it & love.
5. Oh Christmas Tree
This is a tough one: Although you can use an artificial Christmas tree for many years, the process of manufacturing such a tree costs the earth. Also, once you want to get rid of your plastic tree, what you have is non-biodisposible waste. Although, a real tree may not be 100% sustainably (a cut tree) – it is a better option if you really want a tree in your home. The real tree will de-compost easily and doesn’t cost the earth as much resources as a fake tree. However, the best option if you want a tree is to get one with it’s roots intact – it can then be replanted & continue to exchange CO2 for oxygen.
If you have a garden & know a little about gardening you can plant the tree in your garden – just make sure the tree is native to your local area. If you don’t have a garden you can find a community garden that you can plant it in, or you can simply “rent” a real tree & bring it back once Christmas is over. The tree will be replanted & continues to grow.
Another sustainable option is to make a beautiful arrangement with some branches that can be used over and over again (for example during Easter for a beautiful arrangement). Or try a completely different version of Christmas tree, browse these up-cycled creations.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you think about the whole life cycle of the product.
7. Food & Drinks
Just because it is Christmas don’t give up good eating habits of having organic, local and healthy meals. There are plenty of ways to adjust traditional Christmas meals and make them healthier. Often you can change just one thing about a meal. Below are some suggestions on creating meals & drinks that are local, organic and healthy!
- Skip sauces, and replace them with dips: hummus & beetroot dips work great with lots of meals
- Include large salads as a side with every meal: like this you will at least cover some nutrients
- Drink plenty of water – if you want to give it a twist; add lemon, mint or cucumber to flavour your water.
- Include plenty of fruits for desserts: offer a large fruit platter along with a cake, so people get to pick on fresh fruits – browse your local farmers market to pick fruits that are in season.
- Serve fresh vegetables or vegetable chips (e.g. kale chips) for people to snack on instead of chips or other salty snacks
- If you drink alcohol, source sustainable & organic drinks from a local producer
8. Experiences are more valuable than things
We often forget that experiences are truly what make our lives enjoyable. We never forget the things we experience, but easily forget things we purchased. This is the same for things we receive from others. People will always remember experiences more than things – if you know someone well enough to think of something they’d like to do, try and arrange that for them.
And remember, your time with someone close to you is the best gift you can give them.
We hope you have a wonderful green Christmas! Enjoy!
BLUE MONKEY & PINEAPPLE