A SUPER SIMPLE GUIDE TO AN ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS
A SUPER SIMPLE GUIDE TO AN ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for so many us. From the lights, decorations, the music, the smells, to family time, delicious food, gifts and the unrivalled excitement of Children. It’s often a time to forget life’s worries and be together in joy and happiness.
Amongst all of the magic, the backyard cricket and the food comas, the ugly side of the Christmas is often out of sight, out of mind.
We all love to shower our loved ones in presents as a token of our appreciation for them – it makes us happy to give, and I don’t know about you, but I love opening a personally wrapped gift picked especially for me. Sadly, our consumerism and generosity come at a cost to the planet.
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. We are not about to tell you to boycott Christmas. Christmas is not the problem. So don’t cancel your plans to go tree-hugging. We’re here to show you how you can do both – as environmentally and thoughtfully as possible. And just as beautiful as ever before.
We’ve all had those mornings – waking with the sun (or before), bouncing out of bed, the mad rush to the see what’s under the tree. Followed by vigorous unwrapping and repeated exclamations of “oh my gosh, I love it!”. The aftermath? A lounge room full of plastic packaging, zip ties, wrapping paper, boxes and bags – all awaiting a new home in landfill.
In New Zealand alone, 5.5 million tonnes of waste is discarded each year. That’s 3,200kg per New Zealander - the equivalent of Killer Whale (those things are as long as a school bus). That’s a huge amount of waste for one human to throw away. If that’s not scary enough, currently only 28% of that is recycled. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that we can do better.
Thank us later but we’ve put together 6 easy tips for an eco-friendly festive season. A super simple guide to staying sweet and sustainable. Together we can make this Christmas that little more kind to Mother Nature.
DITCH THE WRAPPING PAPER
“But where’s the fun in gifting if you can’t watch the joy on someone’s face as they unwrap it?”. We hear you. Don’t worry, you can still wrap your presents! We’re not the grinch, promise! But do you really need the store-bought wrapping paper that’s covered in a plastic sleeve?
Option 1: Use leftovers
Do you have leftovers floating around? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to use Santa-covered paper to gift your loved ones. You can use the birthday paper. Or the floral paper. Or whatever dusty paper is stuffed in the back of your linen cupboard. Use what you’ve got. Resist the temptation to buy more. You are not breaking any sacred Christmas rituals there. Own it. It’s for the greater good.
Option 2: Use children’s artwork
Creative, cute and resourceful. Need we say more? This is double special. A gift, and wrapped with a personalised scribble from a toddler? Or the handwriting talent of your 8-year-old? Imagine the look on Grandma or Aunties faces. You’ll melt their little hearts. They’ll probably cry before they even get to the present. You just wait.
Option 3: Use fabric
Wrapping your gifts with fabric is the new black. Simply grab some Christmas fabric (bonus points if you get it from an op-shop) and cut into shapes to wrap your presents.
Yes, it’s a little bit of a project and a quick stop off at the shops to get the materials, but once you do it once, you’ll have cutouts for gifts year in and year out and you’ll have no need for wrapping paper and plastic. Better yet, you can grab some old pillowcases and have the kids paint them into Santa sacks! Keep them occupied, upcycle some had-their-days and be eco-friendly. Now that’s a trifecta.
COMPOST FOOD SCRAPS
This is the easiest way to do your bit for the environment. When cooking and preparing all your favourite Christmas dishes, keep all your fresh veggie/fruit scraps and eggshells in a separate bucket and when you are done, compost them! If you don’t have a compost to donate to, find someone who does - there are plenty of community and school composts around. If you have no luck there, dig a hole, pop the scraps in and let the nutrients provide goodness to your soil and garden! This means your food scraps won’t take up space in landfill and your soil will have a beautiful Christmas feed too – a double whammy of eco-friendliness.
ZERO WASTE GIFTS
Gifts that will be used and cherished are the best! Especially if they are helping your loved one be kinder to the Earth. Think keep cup, glass drink bottles, material shopping bags, portable knife and fork set, plastic-free sunscreen, soap bars, bamboo toothbrush, subscriptions, or gift vouchers and even plants (who doesn’t love a living present? I mean, a puppy is ideal but plants are cool too).
Or – the best idea of all - our Bee Green Food Wraps! There are sizes and designs for everyone!
BUY SECOND HAND
There’s a bit of a stigma around giving someone a second-hand gift, but there shouldn’t be. It’s true what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are so many items in perfectly good condition waiting for new homes. Will your two-year-old know (or care) that her rocking horse isn’t brand new? Children are some of the most grateful beings in existence. If kids knew the reason we choose to buy second hand is to save sea creatures from swallowing more rubbish, I’m sure they’d be on board. Lead by example and walk your talk.
You can check out Facebook marketplace, garage sales, thrift shops, or even try upcycling something that you already have at home.
You never know what you may stumble across… Treasure, perhaps.
BUY FROM SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
In 2020 we have more options than ever to purchase from brands that align with our values and make a conscious effort to support businesses that do right by the planet.
There are so many incredible choices that don’t use plastic packaging, brands that plant trees for every purchase or donate to ocean organisations and those that choose sustainable materials over cheap and nasty.
Often these businesses are small and don’t have the marketing and exposure that big-name stores like K-Mart do, so you may have to do a little bit of extra research to find them. But it’ll be worth it. As we all know, it’s been a challenging year globally for small businesses, so not only can we help the Earth, we can help each other by supporting small, environmentally aware organisations that want to make a difference. Vote with your dollar and give it to those that care.
I know we aren’t all super creative when it comes to making things. But here’s a few ideas for items you could have a go at. Hand-made gifts are even more meaningful and I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate the time and effort you went to and never want to get rid of it.
- Personalised journal/notebook
- Painted pots
- Sangria kits
- Mixed CD/DVD/USB
- Bath bombs
- Sugar scrub/bath salts
- Tote bags
The list goes on… Thanks to YouTube and modern-day technology, there are hundreds of tutorials for each of these DIY projects.
2020 was a different kind of year for so many of us. We could never have predicted the events that have unfolded. While the planet has certainly reaped benefits from the human race slowing down and consumers taking a forced break from travel and shopping, it has also taken a hit from the millions of extra PPE, face masks, hand sanitisers and perplex screens that have been produced and distributed. Not to mention the packaging from online deliveries. Sadly, most of this will end up in landfill or our oceans.
With that in mind, conscious consuming and a thoughtful Christmas becomes even more important.
Join us in taking a pledge to get creative this year – we can do better and be better! Our incredible planet deserves it.
Lastly, Merry Christmas to all of you. We hope you enjoy a magical festive season with the people you love and close out the year with a full belly and an even fuller heart.