How To Have A More Conscious Christmas
Christmas is one of the most indulgent times of the year, in more ways than one.
Georgina Wilson-Powell, the founder of sustainable lifestyle magazine, Pebble shares her top ways to have a more conscious Christmas – from having a real tree to ditching gift wrap.
Do you really need all that?
We all go crazy in December, loading up trollies and online baskets with enough food to last us to Easter. While no one’s asking you to Scrooge it up on the food side this season, a bit of meal planning and a stricter shopping list can help reduce the five million tonnes of waste each Christmas. Apps such as Too Good To Go (where you can pick up surplus food from cafés and restaurants on the go) or Olio (where you can share leftovers with neighbours and your community) can also help you wage a war on waste and get your halo shining).
Stop using paper gift wrap
Did you know that we get through 3,000 miles of gift wrap each Christmas? It’s paper right, so it can be recycled. Wrong, most of it either never makes it to recycling or gets rejected because it has Sellotape on it (what gift wrap doesn’t) or it’s metallic or glittery. Swap paper for fabric and get to grips with Furoshiki, otherwise known as the Japanese art of fabric wrapping. It’s simple, non-plastic, reusable and looks gorgeous.
Buy an experience
Gifts don’t need to be physical. Give your loved one a year’s subscription to their favourite digital service like Audible or Netflix. Memberships to favourite museums, the cinema and the National Trust work too. Treat your loved one to an evening at the theatre, a meal at their favourite restaurant, a concert, a weekend away or a comedy night.
Eat more veg
Yes, Christmas is a time for turkey, pigs in blankets and baked ham but we are where we are planet wise. Most of us are aware that eating more meat-free meals is the way to go. Luckily, there’s never been a better range for veggie and vegan eaters for Christmas. Even if you don’t want to give up meat for the main event, think about where else can you cut back and swap to a plant-based option. Is this prime time for you to convince Great Aunt Hilda that vegan burgers taste just like the real thing?
Make a ‘real’ effort to recycle
Who else ends Christmas with piles of wine bottles, biscuit boxes and selection pack cardboard stacked by the back door? Green habits tend to go out the window at Christmas, especially if you’re not at home or you have family staying over, but really making an effort to recycle will make a difference, and it might encourage other people under your roof to make a change.
Slow down with the gifts
Or rather just pull back a bit. Apparently most of us, deep down, prefer hanging out with family and friends over the gift-giving bit so can you limit what you spend or buy? There are two ways to be more conscious around presents – make something rather than buying it (edible presents are never returned) or use your money to support independent and ethical brands who often get forgotten in the big Christmas shop).
The ultimate in ‘single use’ – Christmas crackers are discarded after a single ‘crack’ and are filled with (mostly) useless plastic toys and gimmicks – this year, why not try some reusable crackers
Craft natural place settings
This Christmas set your table using natural, foraged items, for a back to nature, low waste vibe. There are so many amazing colours around every winter, why shop for something plastic or single use, when you can find such beautiful things in nature.
Being conscious isn’t just about buying less, or not indulging, it’s about doing it in a way that values what we have now and considers more carefully what your hard-earned money is spent on. Being present at Christmas can be tough when there are political divisions, sibling annoyances or irritating in-laws but putting down the phone, parking cynicism at the door and being a sporting loser at Monopoly can help you value what you have, not what you don’t.