How to have a sustainable Christmas

Sustainable Christmas guide

Us humans are generous creatures, so it’s no wonder that when the giving season slides up in its sleigh we tend to go slightly overboard. We eat more, buy more and waste more, all in the name of love. Charities that deal in the unwanted (like food, electronics and clothing) are inevitably inundated, and that’s before we even look at recycling and waste facilities. With our  current waste crisis, there’s no doubt that we need to rein(deer) it in a little. Here are some ways that you can go green this Christmas without going full Grinch…

First up, let’s talk food.

Australians are estimated to spend $10 billion on food over Christmas and that’s not even the shocking part – of that, 35% of it is wasted. Avoid being left with a mountain of food by planning your meals ahead of time. Coordinate with your loved ones, and tell them to bring their own containers so you can share the leftovers without waste or plastic. Avoid the temptation to leave the food to spoil on the table while you slip into a food coma. This all saves time, money and pruney fingers from washing all the extra dishes!

Coordinate with your loved ones, and tell them to bring their own containers so you can share the leftovers without waste or plastic.

Give green gifts.

While it’s fabulous if you can come to an agreement with your loved ones to give presence over presents, sometimes it’s not possible without some serious pushback. In that case, choose experiences over things: book a class together, buy a concert ticket or send them a digital eCourse (try Masterclass or Creative Live). Otherwise stick to the 5H rule – Handmade, Homemade, Healthy, Helpful or from Here (locally made).

That’s a wrap!

Wrapping paper is no ordinary, recyclable paper, my friends. Often it’s a mix of non-paper material (ahem, plastic) that has been chemically dyed and laminated within an inch of its life. Don’t fear though, I’m not suggesting you come bearing naked gifts – using materials like cloth bags, old pillowcases or material scraps is an alternative that provides an extra gift to boot! Use a scarf and try out Furoshiki, the Japanese art of fabric wrapping. If you’re a paper purist, use repurposed paper (like kids’ artworks) or go for brown paper tszujed up with a sprig of rosemary and twine. Finally, Who Gives A Crap is a plastic-free toilet paper company that wraps their rolls in patterned paper with the intention that it be repurposed. Let’s make wrapping in reused paper the new bog standard, hey?

Ideas for kids.

If possible, try avoid leaving kids gifts to the last minute – give yourself time to become the savvy secondhand shopper the planet needs you to be. Online marketplaces are teeming with everything kid-related at a fraction of the new price. If you feel strange about gifting something pre-loved then I suggest watching an amazing Pixar documentary called Toy Story that’ll set your mind at ease. If, however, you’re reading this a panicked mess on Christmas Eve, then try going for locally made toys made of sustainable materials that don’t require batteries. Good luck!


WORDS: EMILY EHLERS
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