Christmas is a time for families and friends to come together, enjoy a special day of gift giving, great food and fantastic memories. But unfortunately Christmas time gift giving and dinners can also lead to a lot of wastage, with landfills the world over being filled with wrapping paper, discarded cardboard, food waste, and in some cases, unwanted presents. That’s why it’s important to do our part in making the day a little bit greener. So join us in dreaming of a green Christmas this holiday season.
Give Green Gifts
That might seem a little imposing, but don’t worry, a green gift doesn’t need to be something like a tree, or house plant. After all, there’s nothing worse than a gift you need to look after that you didn’t want.
A green gift can be anything from gift e-cards, to non-toxic cosmetics, or organically produced wines. Local is better too: the less travel a gift had to go through, the better it is for the environment. Plus, you get to help out your local businesses at the same time, which has never been more important than it is this year.
Reduce Food Waste
Turkey, Christmas hampers, massive sunday roasts, magnificently rich puddings. Christmas is a time of glorious excess, stuffing your faces until you can’t fit in another bite. But therein lies the problem, when people make far more than they need, and only eat what they can, much of it ends up in the bin. Christmas is the single worst day of the year for food wastage.
So, instead of making as much as you can, take a moment to consider how much you can eat, and reduce the serving sizes a little to match.
Recycle your Gift Wrapping
Ah, gift wrapping. The most unnecessary but exciting part of Christmas. There purely to keep up the suspense of what could be under it, before it’s ripped apart and thrown away. Every year, massive piles of wrapping paper fill bins everywhere.
This year, make an effort to open your gifts a little more carefully. Don’t go overboard on the tape so you can reuse the wrapping paper in years to come. Alternatively, you could give Furoshiki a try! This is the Japanese art of wrapping gifts with fabric, rather than disposable wrapping paper. That way, you can use the same fabric every year.
Dim the Lights
Christmas lights can light up a neighbourhood (literally), but they can be a real draw upon your energy bill, not to mention the grid. We’re not saying to get rid of the Christmas decorations, we’d never dream of it. But by cutting down on how long you have them on for each night, you can do a lot for the environment, and your wallet. Keep them on display when everyone’s home and the sun’s down, so they look their best, generally around the hours of 6 pm to 10 pm. Not leaving them running all through the night will make a noticeable impact on your power bill.
Alternative Christmas Trees
Nothing’s better than a proper evergreen conifer Christmas tree, we know. It’s the nearest thing many Australians will get to a traditional European snowy covered Christmas. But so many trees being bought, shipped, delivered, then dumped when Christmas comes to an end can have a massive impact.
Instead, consider shopping for a local tree to cut down on travel periods, or perhaps decorating a potted plant you already have, or one you’d like to adopt into your home. On top of that, the option of fake trees remains open to you, though these are best used when you intend to keep them for many Christmases to come. For example, this author’s family has had the same artificial tree for 23 years now!