How to have a more sustainable Christmas
It seems like in today’s world Christmas has become somewhat synonymous with consumerism - the decorations, the gifts, the food, all those ‘treat yourself’ moments you give in to during the impossible to resist sales (we've all been there). It’s everywhere, and it’s pretty easy to get caught up in!
Sustainable Christmas Gifts
Ask for less and be the change!
You may want to start reducing your footprint at Christmas by requesting less gifts, providing ideas of what you actually need to point loved ones in the right direction, or maybe you’d like to request no gifts at all if that’s your style. Whatever your choice, remember to communicate kindly with those around you, rather than passing judgement on their choices. Everyone is on their own journey when it comes to sustainability! And remember, to some people, gift-giving is their love language (who doesn’t love giving gifts?), so if you have someone in your life who insists on giving lots of gifts, kindly let them know what kind of gifts you do like to receive.
Gift second hand
Beautiful gifts don’t need to be brand new! You’ll find stunning homewares, art, jewellery, records, books and so much more in antique stores and second-hand shops. Giving second-hand items a new lease on life is one of the most sustainable gifting choices we can make.
Give experiences instead of things
This is one of our favourite ways to make gifting more sustainable! You can gift a massage, a movie voucher, facial treatment, fitness classes, tickets to an event, a voucher for their favourite hair salon… the options are endless. Gifting an experience is a great way to build happy memories, without adding more clutter.
Sustainable secret Santa?
Ah, office secret Santa. It might be a fun way to do a little team bonding at Christmas, but it can be so wasteful. So, what can you get within the $10 - $20 other than a useless item that will likely end up in the bin? With a little thought, there are lots of sustainable options!
First up, we’re all for practical gifts that will be used or eaten. Handmade soaps, homemade granola or chocolate in a nice glass jar, pretty handbag-size notebooks… and even fruit, vegetable or flower seeds can make great gifts! Then there are also small eco gifts that are perfect for secret Santa, like reusable straws, cutlery sets and coffee cups. You may also wish to give a gift voucher or donation - a secret Santa donation from The Smith Family makes a perfect last-minute gift, that gives joy to those in need without putting a strain on our planet's resources.
Shop small and local
You’ll find lots of creative Christmas markets popping up in the lead up to the big day, so head down and pick up some local handmade gifts! You’ll be supporting the artists, makers and small business owners in your community, and be giving a unique gift that will be loved for years to come. And if you can’t make it there in person, choose to buy from small businesses online - that way, when you make a purchase the person you’re buying from does a little happy dance! Now that’s spreading Christmas joy.
Wrapping and decorating
Wrap with paper or fabric, not plastic
Did you know that most Christmas wrapping paper is plastic coated, and therefore not recyclable?! So instead of choosing rolls of regular wrapping paper (which often comes wrapped in plastic), wrap gifts with recyclable, uncoated brown paper, or something that can be reused. Silk and thin cotton scarves make excellent gift wraps and can be a gift in themselves! Check out our blog on Furoshiki for more ideas on cloth an other gift wrapping.
Using plain paper doesn’t have to be boring either. Tie them up with biodegradable cotton or paper twine, add sprigs of dried rosemary and add a cute cardboard gift tag.
Plastic-free Christmas decorations
Most artificial Christmas trees are made of plastic so opt for a living tree in a pot plant rather than buying one or get inventive and make your own Christmas tree using hanging or staking driftwood an old pallet.
Instead of plastic Christmas baubles and cheap decorations that tend to end up in landfill and replaced over and over again, invest in quality decorations made with timber, or hand-make your own decorations! The kids will love helping you make decorations and seeing their own creations displayed in your home for Christmases to come.
You can make decorations from recycled paper, salt dough, dried orange slices, twigs and twine, fabric cuttings - get creative!
Buy only what you need
Food waste is a massive problem in Australia - over 5 million tonnes end up in landfill each year, and would you believe that it’s estimated over half of the fruit and vegetables produced by our farmers go to waste? It’s a sickening thought! And it’s choking our planet, too. It’s estimated that 8% of greenhouse gases are caused by food waste.
We all want to enjoy delicious food during the holidays, but we must choose to buy our food mindfully. Only buy fresh food that you know will be eaten, or that you can freeze in the event that it isn’t. Wrap leftover food securely to keep it fresher for longer - beeswax wraps and silicone food wraps and bags are all great reusable options.
Buy local and package-free where possible
And it’s always best to try and support local growers and farmers and buy from the bulk section to try and save on plastic waste. Many bulk food stores sell everything from individual ingredients to snacks and lollies, all plastic-free! So pack your reusable produce bags and bulk food bags, and hit your local bulk store to stock up the pantry.
Here's to a more mindful Christmas season full of more joy, and less waste!