The best thing you can do this Christmas to save the environment is probably not celebrating it at all. But there’s no fun in that, right? Here are some top tips for getting in the spirit this festive season without killing the planet while you do it.
Change up the Spread
Traditionally Christmas feasts are quite meat-heavy, between the turkey and the gammon and other animal proteins on offer, you’ll be stuffed. A study released at the beginning of this year found that a plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. The whole family certainly isn’t going to convert to veganism 9 days before Christmas but they can be persuaded to include a few more veggie options on the table this Christmas. You’ll feel less full and have way more room for dessert.
Rethink the Gifts
This Christmas, a good friend and her family are forgoing gifts and instead, they’re each going to write a heartfelt letter to each other. It’s a wonderful way to practise gratitude and think about the true meaning of why we celebrate the holiday. We all want new things. Marketing, shopping malls and advertisements are certainly going to convince us we need them so that we spend more money. But do we really need them?
Your Purchase is Your Vote
If forgoing the gifts is a step too far for you, then your purchase is your power. Do your research before heading to the nearest shopping mall and filling up your trolley. Fast fashion brands support modern slavery and severely infringe on human rights in poor communities. Other big corporations destroy the environment with pollutants, palm oil or deforestation and many skincare companies still test on animals. Purchase from local, socially responsible or eco-friendly brands. It may take a few moments of research but at least your conscience will rest easy this Christmas.
Alternative Gift Wrap
Rethink the way you wrap your presents. This step is probably the easiest of the suggestions to reduce your waste over the festive season. Splendid Moon’s suggestion to use offcuts of fabric that you might have lying around is a great way to repurpose something that’s only going to be collecting dust in a cupboard. Newspaper paired with twine and dried flowers also look gorgeous.
One of my favourite memories from my childhood is the time we made our own Christmas decorations using shells collected from the beach. Don’t get caught in the consumerism trap of believing you need to buy more decorations this Christmas. In an effort to minimize your space and your budget, avoid buying more decorations this year. If your Christmas tree is needing a refreshed look, make some of your own decorations. Fresh flower wreaths are a great start if you have floral fingers and natural decorations are easy to make with a few decomposable ingredients like cinnamon sticks, dried oranges, twigs, dried leaves like eucalyptus and twine to hang them on the tree.
I’m lucky to have a dad with green fingers so for the last couple of years I have always gifted my dad plants on special occasions. I clearly take after him as I’ve been joking (but not really joking) that all I want for Christmas this year is an urban jungle. Buying someone a plant for Christmas is a great way to offset your carbon footprint as your little plant baby will produce oxygen through photosynthesis. Try to make sure that the plant you’re buying is indigenous to your location. Too many plants will never be enough. Let this be my declaration to my friends, family and the entire internet, please buy me plants for all my days to come ;)
Thank you for all the love you’ve given to atotheme during 2019. May you all have a wonderful Festive Season! I’ll be back on the other side of Christmas Day.
Ps. I’d love to hear how you’re celebrating in 2019, drop a comment below.