With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be busily planning our Christmas celebrations.
This year, the effects of climate change is more evident than ever and it's now critically important to consider our own consumption with a more conscious and ethical microscope. With greater awareness it is easy to enable and nurture change.
Whether you are a host or a guest, it is a time where we all purchase, consume and generate more waste than we normally would. It's Christmas!
Rather than it be a burden, it is actually the perfect time of year to consider how we can contribute to a more sustainable Christmas. We have shared our tips below.
Let’s get festive
For most, the pièce de résistance is the Christmas tree. Traditionally, a Christmas tree can be real, or more recently, many have opted for the plastic counterpart. While some people have thought that a plastic tree is more environmentally friendly than cutting down a living one, this in fact not the case.
Christmas trees can be purchased through accredited sustainable growers and after the festivities have ended, they will break down and become part of the earth once more.
If you don't have the space for a real Christmas tree, a beautiful alternative is to decorate any inside plants you may have.
Pinterest is a wealth of Christmas inspiration, particularly if you fancy getting creative and making a quintessentially Australian driftwood Christmas tree.
For some, the Christmas tree decorations must be perfectly curated. For others, wherever the kids have lovingly, if not slightly haphazardly, forced the decorations on to a (now) bent arm of the tree, is perfect.
Decorations, especially those mass produced, fall into the not so eco-friendly category. Thankfully there are so many amazing alternatives you won’t look back.
- Shells collected at the ocean on a favourite family holiday spot
- Fashion 'tinsel' out of string and eco-friendly pegs to hold decorations and lights in place
- Odd bits of wool hanging about? Crochet Christmas baubles
- Cut and colour any old cardboard that would otherwise be thrown out, into stunning decorations. Hold fire on the glitter!
- Old glass jars with odd lids can be repurposed into sparkly tea-lights with cut out cardboard shapes inside to create stunning shadows on a nearby wall
- Sit back, relax and fold some paper origami stars to be decorated on the tree and can also be used to hang from door frames.
Minimising our Christmastime Footprint
It may seem like a heavy feat when we are preparing to host Christmas, awaiting for people to RSVP and simultaneously doing a mental inventory of plates and cutlery.
And it may even seem like the simplest solution to nip to the shops and pick up disposable utensils. However there are better, more sustainable alternatives.
Ask guests if they could bring an extra set of plates and cutlery - most people will be more than willing to help.
If this is not possible, look for the biodegradable, compostable or bamboo alternatives to the traditional plastic or waxed paper plates. These are readily available and are much more eco-friendly - they look better too. Or consider picking a variety of otherwise discarded porcelain plates from your local Salvation Army shop for no more than a small Christmas donation.
Encourage children to hand-me-down toys
We are all guilty of possibly over-indulging our children, especially at this time of year. Whether we are guilty of that or not, our children’s toys accumulate over time. Christmas is a time of giving and that doesn’t have to be limited to family and friends.
Rallying the kids to collect any toys that they no longer play with, or would simply like to pass onto another child to enjoy is a wonderful way of teaching children about giving and gratitude.
Kris Kringle Christmas Gifts
Similarly, as adults we are often gifted and gift far beyond what is necessary. It can be financially quite taxing and it is also unnecessary. A great way to get everyone involved, in a way that remains fun and inclusive is a Kris Kringle draw.
Each person has one person allocated and it remains a secret until the game of guess who gifted my gift is played. To further instil our eco-friendly Christmas ethos, place a caveat on the type of gifts allowed - or rather not allowed.
Gifts that are purchased are to be free from excessive and unnecessary plastic packaging or packed with styrofoam. Shopping locally and supporting local business can alleviate the shipping packaging as well.
However you celebrate Christmas, remember to enjoy every minute of the precious time spent with family and friends.