Cheesy, but irresistable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to have a bit of a greener Christmas this year. It’s not difficult to find ways to do it given that words like ‘green’ and ‘eco’ are in daily use now, and articles on the subject abound. I’ve read an awful lot of ‘How Tos’ over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d pick my favourites and the ones I think are easiest to do (because let’s face it, most of us will only change lifelong habits if it requires minimum effort and/or cost).
A quick word on ethical gifts, you know the kind, where you buy a goat for a family in Africa and then give the lucky recipient of your gift a card saying that’s what you’ve given them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully in favour of giving sustainable gifts to those in need, but I just can’t make myself feel that that makes a good present for someone you care about. In my mind, a good gift is one that shows you have really thought about what the recipient would like, thus making them feel special and cherished. A present should be something someone wouldn’t buy for themselves, something treaty and possibly a bit unusual or quirky; it should say ‘I care enough about you to have put thought and effort into choosing what you would like most’. I also realise that Christmas isn’t actually supposed to be about ‘stuff’, but people give and receive presents anyway, so why not put a bit of heart into it?
So here are some of the ideas I particularly like for greening up your Christmas:
1. Buy a potted Christmas tree which can then be planted after Christmas.
2. Be inventive with your wrapping; use fabric, newspaper and bright ribbon, brown paper and raffia – all reusable or recyclable. If don’t have these sorts of things to hand, avoid that plasticky shiny paper that won’t recycle or do anything but sit on a landfill site emitting gas long after Christmas is over (in fact several Christmases, probably).
3. Do away with the need for wrapping and buy an experience! Whether it’s a prepaid skydive or your own homemade tokens for massages or washing up duties, this is a good one for the ‘I thought about what you would really like’ thing.
4. Use solar powered or LED tree lights (no energy and less energy than traditional ones, respectively).
5. For toys that require batteries, buy up some rechargeable ones, or those clever USB batteries that charge up when you stick them in your computer.
6. Don’t leave the tree lights on all the time. (Unless they’re solar powered of course, see 4.)
7. A bit contentious, but recycle those unwanted gifts! Give them to charity shops to avoid accidentally giving them back to the people who gave you them in the first place.
8. Buy as much organic, locally produced Christmas food as possible and cut down on cruelty to turkeys, chemical free food, CO2 emissions and food miles. (Loads of brownie points here.) (Or greenie points.)
9. Use soy or beeswax candles instead of paraffin based ones. Healthier for you and the environment.
10. Save this year’s cards and (with a bit of cutting, sticking and imagination) turn them into next year’s!
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