Hello! Are you feeling Christmassy yet? 🙂
-On Friday we wore Christmassy jumpers at work for the Save the Children charity.
We all donated a minimum of £1 and had a bit of a tacky Christmas jumper competition. The donations will help buy mosquito nets, treat children and save lives, did you have a Christmas jumper day?
Rather than buying a cheaply made one from Primark and then not wearing it again and wasting it, I simply secured some of my Christmas decorations to my second hand jumper with safety pins! 🙂
You could also be a little craftier a make one with beads, pearls or glitter like what they did in this boohoo TV video!
Sorry about the long silence, I recently moved to NW London and it has taken me weeks to complete the move! I was waiting to sort that out before churning out new posts. I hope you are well 🙂
Christmas preparations have been simmering away since the end of October and we’re getting closer to the big day.
What is Christmas for you? I guess it can be a myriad of different things for each of us: a time to be kind, cheerful, celebrate, indulge, spend time with loved ones, a time to be generous…it’s all lovely but can be stressful and hectic too, hence the “Christmadness feeling” of having to get so much done.
Many of us will have some time off around Christmas and will be able to relax, sleep more and will be busy cooking, preparing, clearing, eating and perhaps thinking of all the things that have happened this year while looking forward to a prosperous new one.
Of course there is another side to Christmas: celebrations often come with the sort of “more is more” mood and excess often means waste (of food, time, money, energy…).
Fortunately there are some very useful tools that can help wasting less and making the most of Christmas!
Avoid Food Waste
When I think of Christmas I think of food, and I am not the only one, right?
Here is the Love Food Hate Waste Advent Calendar (I know it’s a bit late but all the tips can still be useful now!)
This clever advent calendar has 24 tips that can help you avoid food waste this Christmas. Making room in the freezer, planning meals and portions, recipes to use up leftovers…have a look 🙂
If you want to try to eat more sustainably too, try to incorporate more seasonal and local vegetables and less meat in your Christmas menu, you can find delicious vegetarian and vegan Christmas recipes from:
How to store food safely to avoid wasting it – NHS guide
A sustainable tree
…Have you put a Christmas tree up? My friend R and I were talking about this the other day: what’s more eco-friendly, an artificial tree or a real one?
I said an artificial one, because you can use it for 20 years without cutting any trees, but R said a real one would be better as producing a fake one must use a lot of energy and chemicals. I did a little bit of research and found a popular eco-friendly option: potted Christmas trees!
Buying a potted Christmas tree from companies such as Clifton means you can have a real, live tree for several years (if you can keep it somewhere!) or you can even rent one from companies such as this U.S. one called Living Christmas Company or from the Little Tree Company in the U.K. – isn’t that great? You get to have a real tree for Christmas, with its lovely resiny scent and know it won’t be disgracefully left on the pavement in January.
More information on the artificial/real tree debate is provided on this Friends of the Earth page full of eco-friendly tips. You could get a tree from Freecycle or eBay or purchase a real one from a Soil Association-approved company and why not try energy-saving LED Christmas lights which use a fraction of the electricity?
One of the aspects of Christmas I don’t like is that daunting feeling of having to buy presents for people. People you may not see very often, who you may not know well…gifts that end up being generic, bulky -a foot SPA that you will never have time to use, anyone? – probably unnecessary, unwanted and ultimately wasted.
It really upsets me that so many gifts we end up buying are a waste of time, money and energy…what happened to writing Christmas lists?
We are all so busy nowadays that it is pretty hard to know exactly what someone may desire or need (there are only so many pashminas a lady may need, trust me!)…but a Christmas list can help! 🙂 It may be less of a surprise but buying something your loved ones need can make them happier and avoid your gifts from becoming desolate dust-gatherers.
There are more interesting tips on the F.O.E. website to make your Christmas sustainable with homemade gifts – if you can, have a look at these lovely vegan ones posted by Poppy-, and sustainable gift wrapping: I will either be using recycled wrapping paper (paper I saved from previous occasions and put aside for the next occasion), newspaper with colourful ribbons or I will be wrapping gifts in colourful cloth or scarves that can be kept as a gift too.
Recycling all the paper after being used will prevent it from going to landfill and give it another life (and can possibly make you feel like a superhero!).
Sustainable Gift Ideas
- Organic, vegan, fair trade food is more sustainable, needs less energy to be produced and is fairer to the producers, so if you know a keen cook you could put together a lovely hamper of food goodies or purchase one such as these Organic Green&Black’s ones
A few birthdays ago my mum got me this amazing food delivery for my birthday, it was a great present! It had lots of organic goodies I would not have bought myself, tons of amazing sun dried tomatoes and it was simply a treat! I made a lovely Sunday lunch the day after with all those vegetables 🙂
- Chocolate – if in doubt, buy chocolate! Soph at Raw Nibbles makes sustainable raw, vegan, organic and refined sugar-free chocolate and other treats in England – so healthy you will be able to enjoy them even during a January diet! They have 10% off orders over £25 in December too 🙂
- Vouchers: people often moan about not having enough room and space where they live, so instead of a (potentially dust-gathering) gift, you could get them a voucher for their favourite shop or restaurant to look forward to using during the “January blues” period
- Buy from sustainable companies, such as Lush – I got this amazing Lush gift box last year and it had lovely vegan freshly handmade cosmetics such as Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner which smells so utterly delicious you’ll be tempted to eat it!
Lush only make vegetarian and vegan cosmetics, fight against animal testing and use as little chemicals as possible – they have something for everyone!
- Natural Collection is a website full of more sustainable gift ideas, from food to garden and beauty products
- National Geographic Magazine: you could purchase an all-year round gift such as a magazine subscription for National Geographic, which can only inspire to love our planet more
- Adopt an animal – that would be another great gift, especially for a child! You can do so with WWF
- Nigel’s Eco Store has gift ideas to make you save energy such as solar-powered lights and waste less with reusable coffee take-away cups
- Etsy – “Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Etsy is proud to be a certified B Corporation — a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. – Have a look to find all sorts of clothes, crockery, jewellery made by small producers.
Borrow more, spend less
If you need extra chairs, beds, lights, try to borrow them from friends, family or use Freecycle, Streetbank or Ecomodo to source them, you will save money and avoid having to get rid of all these things once the holidays are over.
Are you looking forward to Christmas?
How do you enjoy spending it?