How to have an Eco-friendly Christmas

December 9, 2019

Have yourself an Eco-friendly Christmas. Help our world this year. Planet earth is really gonna need our help.

Welcome back to my blog, see what I did back there? Hopefully you sang it and I didn’t just waste like 15 seconds of your life. *insert laughing, then hand over head emojis here*

More and more people are becoming aware that the time for change is now. We don’t have long to fix past humans mistakes, and even then we will never be able to reverse all of the effects that we’ve had on our planet. That honestly makes me so sad. But beside from making big changes in your life to reduce your carbon footprint, like going vegan which would cut it by more than half, there are small and incredibly easy things that you can do, like trying to have a more Eco-friendly Christmas.

Christmas can be a big burden on our planet, we buy way too much and a lot of that has travelled many a mile, we eat too much and accumulate massive amounts of food waste (approximately 230,000 tonnes in the UK alone) and the unrecyclable wrapping paper that is thrown away (about 230,000 miles worth to be exact, again just UK alone), let’s not even get into the amount of unnecessary crap that our gifts are delivered in.

Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels

But there’s plenty of things that you can do to help our one true home this year. . . . .

G I F T S & C A R D S

o Be smarter with your spending

We tend to over-buy and spend around Christmas, especially on presents. We all have that one friend or relative that is almost IMPOSSIBLE to buy for, so we just buy the first thing that we see in a store and think ‘oh that’ll do’. So when you do your present shopping this year, take a bit of time before you go to think about what you want to get, rather than going with no idea and then coming away with things that won’t get used; nothing has to be set in stone, just gather a list or screenshots of ideas, no matter how vague. Your less likely to buy nonsense presents when you have an idea of what to get, just like how you don’t do your food shopping when you’re hungry. Walk past the aisle with the jokey presents that the other person laughs at for a second and then puts away never to be seen again.

o Wrap gifts up in newspaper or recyclable brown paper

The biggest, and hardest change for me this year has been to use newspaper to wrap my presents in. If you decide to do the same, then ask around and see if you can have what someone else has already read instead of getting a new one just for the purpose of wrapping. That way it can be reused and then recycled. I’ve always loved making my presents look nice by using fancy wrapping paper and accessories, but it’s a waste of money, a waste of resources and honestly it’s a waste of time, plus none of it can be recycled. If you’re not ready to make such a massive jump if you’re like I was when it comes to making presents look pretty, then choose brown paper as I personally love the look it gives, especially paired with string. Search the floors for pine cones during winter walks if you want to add a little something extra.

o Shred used paper and use it to pad out boxes

Don’t waste money on tissue paper or already shredded paper just to pad out boxes and hampers. Sure it may not look as pretty, but mother earth will thank you for it!

o Ditch tags or make them from old cards

This year I’m going to be ditching tags and instead writing people’s names on their presents. Sure, it doesn’t look the best (even though I’m sure with a bit more effort you could make it look nice) but I’ve come to realise that I care more about the environment than I do impressing people with my wrapping skills. Or do what I used to do with my mum- turn Christmas cards into tags. We’d save our cards from the year before and then cut them up and turn them into tags the following Christmas.

o Buy canvas bags and use them instead of gift bags

I’ve been doing this all year so far and I will never go back to using unrecyclable gifts bags again, especially when you can get 100% organic cotton gift bags from as little as £1 from places like Primark and Typo, or buy from a small business from places like Etsy and get a really cool and unique one for a bit extra. I know you can reuse gift bags a couple more times if you’re careful, but once they’re broken there’s not much else you can do with them. After all, you can’t nip out and do your shopping with a ‘Merry Christmas’ gift bag. So choose reusable canvas bags instead this year!

o Buy from small and local businesses

Small and local businesses generally have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies, and they also don’t accumulate much waste especially if what they sell is what they’ve made themselves. Cheeky self promo, I’ve just started selling my own sustainable slogan tees with Teemill if you want to support me this year. Small businesses are always so grateful for their customers so make their day, as well as the person you’re buying the gift for. Christmas is all about supporting one another so why not help out small business owners this Christmas?

o Buy second hand gifts

There’s this idea that you can only gift NEW presents, but I think it’s rubbish! Scroll through eBay, DePop or go out and have a browse through charity shops! Not only will you save some money but you’re helping to reuse items that won’t go into landfill, plus you’re getting something unique too if you take a bit more time to look.

o Put down the cards and pick up your phone

I stopped sending out cards (for birthdays as well as Christmas) quite some time ago. I still get my boyfriend a card for things like birthdays and anniversaries, but we said that this will probably be the last year that we do it. I do like getting cards, but I also think they’re a waste of money and paper. I say if you want somebody to know that you’re thinking of them this Christmas then call them! I know this takes a bit longer but I think it’s so much better! I feel like nobody talks to each other anymore, especially now that everybody texts – that’s a point! If you don’t have time to call around then just send out some Merry Christmas texts, I still think that it’s more personal than a card, plus no trees were pointlessly chopped down for it.

G I F T | I D E A S

o Pearl of the sea clothing

Of course I’m going to have a little shameless promo for my new slogan t-shirts. By buying from my site, not only are you supporting me in my venture, but you’re also buying a great product that is sustainable and ethical. All t-shirts are made to be re-made to avoid them going straight into landfill and they are also made in a renewable energy powered factory. I’ll insert all designs below.

o Experiences

Virgin experience days and Buy a gift are my favourites to buy from. I’ve bought two this year because I think they’re amazing gifts! At the end, our memories will be what we’ll treasure the most, not the materialistic things. So give somebody the opportunity to make memories with a loved one, plus if you play your cards right it could be a gift for you too.

o Otter candles

These have quickly become a new favourite of mine this year and I’m hoping to get some more this Christmas. They are made from soy/ coconut wax so they’re better for you and the environment. I’ve only used the heather and rose scented candle but I love it, it has such a potent smell and lasts for a pretty long time! Although I may be a bit biased because I love me some little otters, yes my opinion can be swayed that easily.

o Vegan cookbook

Going vegan is the single best change any of us can make to minimise our carbon footprint, not to mention the innocent animals that won’t be getting sent off to the slaughterhouse by you choosing to be vegan. Whether you know someone that wants to go all the way into veganism or just wants to cut back on the amount of animal products they eat, then a vegan cookbook is a good way to help them out in leading a compassionate lifestyle.

o Books on living a more sustainable and Eco-friendly life

This is something that is on my own list this year! If you’re not sure where to look first then check out Urban Outfitters as I always see books like this in there that I want to buy, especially when it comes to living a plastic free life. Plus, the new year is a perfect time to have a books like these, help a loved one start their year off on the right and Eco-friendly foot.

o Reusables

  • Metal/ bamboo straws (I used to have a metal one that folded down into a small box which was perfect, until I lost ithere’s a similar one)
  • Reusable cotton pads
  • Flask
  • Stainless steel water bottle (you won’t struggle to find one that you like)
  • Reusable cutlery (I’ve gifted a wooden set to a friend before)

If you know somebody that is looking to become more environmentally friendly, you could put a little box together for them with some reusable items like the ones I mentioned, shred used paper to pad it out and make it look a bit fuller, throw in a book on how to live more sustainable and you’re good to go, they’ll love it and love you for it!

F O O D

o Cut back on the animal products

I know, I know but it has to be said. The holiday season is a vegans worst nightmare as food is such a massive part of it all. But if you want to lower your carbon footprint this Christmas, then cut back on the animal products, especially meat. It’s the best singular change you can make.

o Buy loose ingredients

Lots of meals means lots of ingredients, so try to buy loose food items rather than in plastic packs, especially ones in plastic bags that are already cut. You’ll save yourself money and you’ll save lots of plastic from going into our oceans. It all adds up and it’s such a small step. Although sometimes things don’t go to plan and the things you want may only come in plastic, so at least try to avoid and minimise it where you can.

o Plan for those left overs

With food being such a big part of Christmas, and there’s always more than we need, have a look into good left over recipes. Again, not only will you save yourself a bit of money, but you’ll stop the food from going into landfill that just ends up releasing methane, which like all other greenhouse gasses, we don’t need more going into our atmosphere. There are so many ways that you can use your left overs, like soups for the veggies, you’ve just gotta get creative.

I pledge that this year I won’t be sending out cards, I’m ditching the bows and ribbon and fancy wrapping paper for newspaper or brown paper, obviously I’m not going to be consuming any animal products, I have been buying from small businesses and charity shops, I’m going to continue using canvas bags instead of gift bags, I’ve been pretty good at not buying random crap that won’t get used (however there is still room for improvement) and I’m giving out quite a few experience vouchers instead of materialistic gifts. So that’s how I’m having an Eco friendly Christmas this year- how about you? What will you be pledging to do or not do?

If you have other ideas or suggestions on how to have an Eco-friendly Christmas then please drop them below, I know there’s probably things that I’m doing that I could always improve on.

I hope the holiday season isn’t causing you too much stress and hopefully you make good decisions for the planet this Christmas time! You may have to put a bit more time and effort in, but it’ll be worth it; this time of year comes and then goes so quickly, but the decisions we make can have such a big impact on our planet and those don’t go so quickly, so please, put in that extra time and effort and make the world smile this Christmas time.

Let the countdown to Christmas begin.

A hui hou, until we meet again.

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