Given the catastrophic events of 2020, perhaps this Christmas is a time to reflect on what is really important and meaningful in our lives.
The future is uncertain with Corona Virus still very much a threat, and the bush fire season already upon us.
Social distancing and lock downs are still the norm, so it is likely you will be having small gatherings of just family or perhaps a few friends.
Sharing a meal and spending quality time with loved ones rather than the normal Christmas experience of frantically rushing around, buying more things for people that they probably don’t need can be a rewarding way to go.
What does a sustainable Christmas look like?
The pandemic has resulted in huge amounts of additional waste worldwide. The scale of the waste was already overwhelming prior to this current crisis. We have waste management systems that are just not coping, so more and more garbage is littering our environment.
Rather than adding to the problem, consider having an Eco-friendly Christmas.
Many families are now limiting gift giving to having a “Secret Santa ” where everyone buys or makes a gift of a set value and these are given out either randomly, or by each person being nominated another person to buy for. Everyone ends up with just a single gift.
You could take this a step further and experiment by making gifts from recycled materials, and give gifts that are useful and reusable.
Old Christmas wrapping, gift bags and ribbons can be reused. Instead of using new Christmas wrapping paper, consider using cloth bags, tea towels or recycled brown paper. You can use string to tie around the presents instead of buying ribbon or other packaging items. Use real foliage to decorate on the day you give the gift rather than plastic decorations.
Instead of plastic packaging, consider using recycled and plain cardboard boxes. You can decorate with stencils using water based paints.
Other sustainable gift ideas:
- Bake biscuits or cakes and gift them in reusable air tight ceramic or glass containers
- Make jars of jam or pickles to give as presents
- Give pot plants or potted herbs – you could pot them in old workman’s boots – these look great outside on steps – or interesting containers you may find in a second hand or charity shop
- Bake a Christmas cake in a new terracotta plant pot and put packets of seeds down the side of the cake
- Buy an experience for someone; a flying fox or adventure park day; national parks pass; movie tickets or a gift voucher for a massage
- Donate money to a charity or animal shelter and let the person know you have done so on their behalf instead of a gift. A recycled or handmade card can be given with the details of the donation and how it will help the cause.
- Send Christmas eCards and save paper
- Check out charity shops or second-hand stores for items you can re-purpose to make into a unique gift for someone.
The options are endless, you just have to be a little creative, but it does get addictive, especially when you find a bargain!
The other bonus is that it takes most of the stress out of Christmas. You won’t feel pressured to jostle with the crowds, (not recommended at the moment anyway!) to find those last-minute gifts, or break the bank trying to afford it all.
Your Christmas can be much more relaxing and enjoyable and there will be much less waste to throw away.