This Christmas has never been more important to think about the environmental impact of your actions.
Finding the perfect Christmas present is one thing, but what if the gift ends up being single use, made from non-recyclable materials, or produced through unethical means?
Or you find yourself on Christmas morning with bin bag upon bin bag of unrecyclable wrapping paper? How about your food choices- are you making too much food or not utilising leftovers?
Whether it's your choices of gifts, food or decorations, we all can make changes this holiday season for a more eco-friendly Christmas this year.
Have you gotten tired of Christmas shopping? Hate the last-minute dash to the shops when everyone in the UK is also doing the same? Can't seem to find 'the right present' after hours of scrolling site after site?
Instead of listing gift after gift in this blog, I'll share with you the best app I have found for shopping Christmas gifts this year: GoEthical.
GoEthical is the UK's first dedicated ethical marketplace and lifestyle app that brings you curated eco brands, artisans, and preloved items to one place.
This free downloadable marketplace app has done all the hard work for you by curating ethical Christmas gifts you can browse from your phone.
Have fun searching the app's small sustainable businesses and well-known ethical brands to find unique, personal presents from gorgeous jewellery to fragrant candles made by skilled artisans, perfect for friends and family.
You can also find quality, preloved items that you can buy with confidence in their eco-credentials and without needing to queue.
An unbelievable 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each and every year, according to Imperial College researchers.
This year, try making your own with supplies you have already, or send an e-card. E-cards (sent online) are an increasingly popular alternative. They cut your carbon footprint, save trees and save money.
Small actions add up to big changes
Recycling Christmas Trees
Far more Christmas trees get recycled now than even just five or ten years ago, which makes the process easier for you! Most councils have designated locations where people can leave their tree after Christmas (please take the decorations off first). Or, you can usually take them to your nearest municipal tip/recycling centre.
When you recycle a Christmas tree, the tree is shredded then used as mulch on plants in parks, on woodland paths (for a lovely pine-forest smell), or else taken to decompose and turn into compost.
Cut Food Waste
When you're out food shopping for your holiday meals, try and choose items that are light on packaging or that are loose/ have no packaging.
If you end up over-doing the amount of food this year (as most of us do), don't just bin what's left. Transforming leftovers is a great way to create new meals, save money, and cut overall waste! Check out delicious magazine for ideas like Christmas leftover traybakes, or challenge your family to create recipes with whatever is in the fridge.
If you have too many leftovers, see what you can freeze! See if you can donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen. Compost any other waste that you can.
Most of us love festive decorations, but research says that the paper waste over the Christmas period is equivalent to 5-12 million litres of biofuel – enough to power a bus to go to the moon 20 times!
So why not recycle or even make your own natural Christmas decorations? Foraging for pine cones, winter twigs, and holly is the perfect excuse to enjoy the great outdoors and keep kids busy, if there are any around.
Don’t forget the wrapping
Green Gift Wrapping
There should be no shame in collecting old wrapping supplies and reusing them later on – especially if you’ve been the recipient of carefully wrapped gifts complete with real ribbon and expensive paper.
My family does this- we all take our gifts home in the gift bags and boxes and store them away for the following year. We also pick a box to hide a small gift card in and the next year, we all get excited to see who will get the special, reused box.
Lots of wrapping paper contains plastic and most types of wrapping paper is actually unable to be recycled. Change out the wrapping paper for the look of understated elegance of brown parcel paper tied up with string – adding natural decorations like spruce, dried fruits, or even homemade cookies.
If paper is the bane of your existence and can't manage the art of cutting and folding like me, try using a scarf! No really, someone came up with the amazing idea of using a scarf to wrap presents – and the results are pretty amazing.
Have a crafty Christmas
Making your own decorations will not only help the environment this holiday season, but is also a way to bring the family together through some crafting! Keep kids busy while you're in the kitchen and in no time, you'll have handmade decorations to transform your home into a natural and festive space.
Hope these small tips have helped inspire you to make some eco-friendly choices this holiday season! And if you're looking for the ultimate eco-friendly wedding dress, check out our Green Collection below.