The holidays are supposed to be a time of year when everyone can reflect on their good fortune, surrounded by family and friends. Christmas should be the perfect moment for us to realise how truly grateful we are for the wonderful things in our lives. It should be a coming together of loved ones to share good company and good food and a time marked with happiness and cheer.
Unfortunately, society’s attitudes towards Christmas have changed dramatically over the last several decades. Instead of the focus being on family and community, we’ve all been driven mad with rabid consumerism and greed. Christmas used to be a time when people partook in the innocent delights of eating turkey and spending time with their families. Today, we all take part in the fervent exercise of spending too much money and buying things no one actually needs. This intense drive to buy is not only ruining the spirit of Christmas, it’s also causing irreparable damage to our environment.
Research has shown that we increase waste by up to 30% more during the holidays in the UK. Because of plastic, disposable and poor-quality Christmas decorations and gifts, a lot of that waste ends up directly in landfills. More landfill waste means more methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, which leads to an increased risk of rising temperatures on Earth. So, while we’re buying seemingly endless supplies of Christmas decorations that need replacing every single year, we’re just contributing to climate change. Even innocuous things such as wrapping paper and sticky tape can add up. In fact, because the average child in the UK receives around 16 Christmas gifts every year, that’s a lot of resources wasted on gift-giving (not to mention there are about one billion Christmas cards sold in the UK each year!).
Can Christmas be sustainable?
While all the points mentioned above are relevant, it doesn’t mean you need to suck all the fun out of Christmas just to be eco-friendly. Going full Grinch means you’d be focusing solely on how lucky you are to have plain, boiled brussels sprouts on the table – and that wouldn’t be fun for anyone. So, in order to make the holidays more sustainable, try to be more mindful of the waste you’re producing, as well as still focusing on the elements you’re grateful for. We’ve listed some things you can do if you’re wondering how to have an environmentally friendly Christmas.
Tips for an eco-friendly Christmas
Need some sustainable Christmas ideas? Look no further than these tips!
1. DIY Christmas decorations
Don’t spend a fortune this year on meaningless tat to decorate your home. You can make your own using recyclable materials or natural, compostable items like dry leaves or twigs. Making your own decorations can be a fun activity to do with kids or just a relaxing task to help get you in a festive holiday mood. The best part is that you can toss everything once the holidays are over without feeling guilty about buying something that’s not eco-friendly.
2. Go vegan
One of the biggest ways we’re harming the environment is by overconsuming meat around the world. If you want to be super green this holiday season, consider eating a vegan diet (that means no meat and no animal by-products such as eggs, dairy etc.). Because there are so many vegan options on the market these days, you can easily forgo more traditional options like stuffing balls, pigs in a blanket and bacon sprouts for full-flavoured, tasty veggie sides. They’ll make your table look more colourful, add texture to your plate, and help with overall digestion. Going green never tasted so good!
3. Give smarter gifts
Stop buying your loved ones things they don’t need this Christmas. Instead, focus on giving consumable gifts (such as a wine subscription service or a tasty chocolate sampler) that won’t contribute to the world’s waste problem. Or better yet, give the gift of a fun activity or experience (concert tickets, travel adventures, etc.) so that your friends and family can have an amazing time that they’ll remember long after Christmas is over.
You can also gift items that are built to last and will be treasured for a long time – including clothing! Our PS Waterproof Winter Parka is perfect to keep your mum cosy during colder weather, and because it’s made to last for a lifetime, she’ll be able to use it for years to come. A more glamorous option, the PS Waterproof Mac, is ideal for any women in your life who love to support sustainable manufacturing (but still want to look stylish while doing it). Plus, buying from us means you won’t be wasting money on gifts that won’t last beyond the holidays.
4. Get wrapping
If you are buying physical gifts for your loved ones, make sure you’re not producing extra waste in how you wrap them. One fun option is to use newspapers to wrap your gifts. You can stay even more green by using flour and water to create glue and twine to tie it all up with. This will give your presents a fun old-school aesthetic, while still staying with the ‘green’ theme. Although it takes a tad more effort, you can make things a little silly by only using funny newspaper stories when wrapping. Whatever you’re using to wrap with, try to stick to compostable or recyclable materials.
5. Christmas gaming
The holidays can be such a fun time of year to spend playing games with your family. But you don’t need to waste money purchasing board games or other expensive activities. Instead, play equipment-free games like Charades or Celebrity Heads that can keep you all entertained for hours. Another idea is to make up quizzes on different family members to help you all get to know each other better. Using these quizzes to learn more about older generations (such as parents and grandparents) can be a wholesome and enlightening way to find out some hidden treasures and fun stories in your family tree. These types of games can help you stay eco-friendly and can prevent you from buying extra stuff during the holiday season.
Try out the tips listed above so you’ll know how to have a sustainable Christmas without being too much of a Grinch! Following these ideas can help you recapture the good ol’ days when the holidays were about connecting with loved ones, not mindless consumption.