I don’t know what it is about the festive season, but it makes everything in me want to go full tilt; I need all the stuff and I need to buy all the things. This year though I want to do things a bit differently, small changes to make this a more waste-free Christmas.
Over the last few months I’ve become so much more aware of how much stuff we accumulate and how much of what we have goes to waste, this led me to start taking really small steps to make the way that we function as a household, more sustainable, slowly but surely. Christmas is a really great time to make these subtle changes; they aren’t difficult to implement and a lot of them can become traditions that you and your family do each year.
I thought that I would share some ways you have a more waste-free Christmas this year – it’s easier than you think!
Gifting: I don’t know about you but I’m a gift giver; I love the whole process from picking something out, wrapping it up and then giving it to a loved one. This is one area where I consciously need to reel myself in each year, especially with the kids. I’ve spoken about this before (saved on my Christmas highlight, you can also see what we’re giving the girls this year) but when it comes to toys, we are really selective because in reality, our kids don’t need tons and tons of toys, they just need a few open ended ones that they love… and books! For the grown ups, we each write wish list with items that we’ve had our eye on, both my friends and family do this and its so helpful because you know that what you’re buying for them is something they actually need/want and wont be wasted. Another great option is to do secret Santa, it saves money and of course, it’s a lot less stuff that’s accumulated. I would also really encourage you to thrift gifts where you can – you will be amazed at what you can find in charity and thrift stores and for crazy low prices, added bonus is that a lot of the time you will also be supporting a charity or NPO buy purchasing at these stores. If you need some thrifting inspo, Misses Chloe is just brilliant.
Gift Wrapping: I’m sure most of us collect gift bags and ribbons throughout the year as we receive pressies, using these to wrap is the easiest and most cost effective way to be more waste-free this Christmas. If like me though and your gift bag and ribbon selection has been severely depleted and you need another solution, there are a few:
- Newspaper is great and can be recycled easily. Jazz it up with a little ribbon or raffia and you’re done!
- You can absolutely purchase wrapping paper but remember that shiny, glitter and foiled wrapping paper cannot be recycled so steer clear of those.
- Christmas sacks are great and can be used year after year.
- Glass jars work a treat for little gifts and are lovely to reuse for all sorts of things
- Beautiful kitchen towels actually work really well and form part of the gift as well – bonus!
- Use twine, long strips of material and raffia to decorate your gift and then add natural elements like cinnamon sticks, a little flower or some eucalyptus to finish it off.
- Instead of gift tags, why not do something more personal like a personlised key chain, a photograph or Christmas decoration. This way the item will actually be used and not just turfed into the bin, even if it is recyclable.
- If you still would like to use a gift take, why not use a seeded one, so that your loved one can plant it and grow a lovely new plant.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to waste-free wrapping is that before you recycle the paper, you need to remove all the sticky tape and decorations, and don’t forget that glittery and foiled wrapping paper cannot be recycled.
- Wooden It Be Nice makes gorgeous Christmas sacks in large or medium. They can also be personalised!
- Christmas stockings for the minimalist by Baskiti and for those that like lots of colour by The Little Banner Company. Both of these can be personalised.
- These leather tags by Elysian are so beautiful and personlised, a great gift tag alternative.
- Nifty250 is my go to to print small gift tag size photos. I did it one year and it was an absolute hit! Also, they are doing 25% off ALL PRINTS until 29 November, yay!
- If you would like seeded gift tags, definitely have a look at Growing Paper
Decor: Don’t panic, I’m not going to suggest turfing your Christmas tree and its decorations. What I am going to suggest though is to invest in decorations that will stand the test of time, both in quality and aesthetic. When it comes to table decor you can do some really lovely things with recyclable items and nature, I made beautiful stars last year that I suspended above the dinner table, they were so easy to make and looked amazing. For your tablecloth and napkins, why not pop into your local fabric store and make some? After all the festivities, soak, wash and iron them and they’ll be good as new for next year. You could even make one in a neutral colour so that you can use it all year long.
Christmas crackers are another thing that you can make a lot more earth friendly. You can either purchase some cracker kits that make use of recycled paper or you can DIY your own, it just takes an hour or two in front of the TV and a whole bunch of loo rolls. Instead of those useless plastic knick knacks that you usually find in Christmas crackers, think out of the box. Maybe some nougat, or little bags of seeds to plant or even a tiny little decoration.
- Beautiful macrame ornaments from Tangled
- DIY star decor
- Eco friendly Christmas cracker kits from Growing Paper
- Cracker snaps for your DIY crackers
Food: This one is short and sweet, consider giving the food that doesn’t get eaten to a homeless shelter or someone else in need that you know. If you want to go the extra mile, you can donate some dry food goods to charities as well, they are always so appreciative and these donations go such a long way.
- Meals on wheels is one of the many charities/feeding schemes that you can donate to if you feel that way inclined.
I hope that this blog post has shown you that it really doesn’t take much to make small but impactful changes to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. I’m by no means an expert, I’m only starting out, so if you have any other tips, please do leave them in the comments so that we can all learn together.