It feels as though Christmas has crept up on us so quickly this year, having only just had time to draw breath from the rollercoaster that was 2021.
We hope that you’ve been able to find the rainbows that may have appeared amongst the chaos – more family time and time in nature being our team’s highlights. In our family, our tree has been put up early and carols have been playing for weeks with much excitement – a warm, happy sparkle to end the year with! However, continuing with the change of habits that this time has thrust upon us, we’ve been focusing on how to make sure our actions stay true to our values, of protecting the planet and its people.
Happily, there are many easy ways we can have a very merry conscious Christmas. Here are our favourites:
REGIFTING AND THRIFTING SHOULD BE CELEBRATED
Buying second- hand items or regifting an item you won’t use are great ways to gift more sustainably as it is saving on the resources needed to make new products. There are so many designer products even available second hand now, there doesn’t need to be a compromise on quality or style.
Whenever you spend money, remember you are voting with your wallet for the kind of world you want to support, so make sure you do it consciously. Support businesses who are manufacturing ethically, packaging sustainably and giving back to their local and global communities.
Look through the Clean + Conscious Directory to find the best conscious buys.
Not only are these small businesses usually at the forefront of innovation and making wonderful products that are healthier for your body, but your purchase will be kinder to our planet and you will be able to fund some amazing initiatives at the same time too.
CHOOSE A GIFT THAT LASTS OR ONE WHICH DISAPPEARS WITHOUT A TRACE
This Christmas, make it your purpose to only buy gifts which won’t add to landfill. Rather than going for gimmicky, make Christmas giving about quality. Think about the lifetime of the materials that your gifts are made from and make sure every purchase is something with purpose or meaning. You can even choose a theme of sustainability in your gift giving and inspire loved ones to live more mindfully.
For children, choose to gift toys made from sustainable wood or non-toxic, recycled plastic that are durable enough that can be passed on to younger kids when outgrown, instead of into landfill.
Great zero waste gift ideas include Zero-waste kitchen products such as silicone food wraps, organic cotton un-paper towels, stainless steel food containers, or a reusable coffee cup. There are also some beautiful zero waste body and beauty products which are sure to delight.
Other fantastic zero waste gift ideas include experiences, vouchers for cleaning, massages, gardening, cooking classes, music or art lessons or a gift of food consciously packaged. For food gifts – why not gift Fairtrade, organic chocolate that has been ethically and sustainably sourced from cacao farmers. Or organic chai made from fair-trade tea and organic spices?
When making purchases, keep in mind where a product is coming from and the impact that transportation across the world has on contributing to greenhouse emissions. Choose to purchase products made locally if you can. You will not only be supporting small business owners and reducing your footprint on the environment but also supporting local farmers and communities. Skincare products made with wildcrafted Australian native ingredients such as Kakadu Plum, Kangaroo Flower and Lemon Myrtle are incredibly popular and sure to impress.
Wrapping paper is one of the biggest sources of waste each Christmas and not all of it can be recycled. Metallic wrapping, glitter encrusted paper and plastic cellophane go straight to landfill. Even the wrapping paper which does get recycled, requires more chemicals to process due to the high ink to paper ratio.
This year, why not make the sustainable swap to recycled brown paper or even better, use old newspapers, magazines or last year’s wrapping paper to wrap gifts. We also love the idea of using old linen or fabric to wrap presents or combining the wrapping as part of the present –a tea towel or a second-hand scarf. Also make sure to use recyclable paper tape or twine so that you can be sure everything can be recycled after, and keep any special bows for next year to reuse again!
GIVE TO CHARITY
If you are stuck for a gift for someone who has everything or if you want to give something meaningful, why not gift a donation to a charity? Many charities provide gift cards or vouchers. What better gift than the promise of a better future?
SUSTAINABLE TREES COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES
The most sustainable tree options are using a living tree in a pot which you can bring inside each year or a tree made from driftwood, decorated branches or sustainably sourced timber.
If you did want a real tree, that too is a sustainable option as long as you make sure it is from a sustainable farm and at the end of its life, it is recycled back into mulch and doesn’t go to landfill. (Check with your local council to see if they organise a collection.)
If you do already have an artificial tree, the most important factor in its sustainability is to use it for as many years as possible. What stops it from being truly sustainable, is that even after a long life, it will unfortunately continue to exist for hundreds of years.
If you’re feeling creative, we’ve also seen some incredible sustainable ‘trees’ made from a creatively stacked pile of books, a decorated ladder and even a pineapple!
REUSE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
The best sustainable Christmas decorations are high quality ones which become family heirlooms and are used every year. Reuse the decorations you have already or try to thrift some vintage ones. Always look to avoid plastic and polystyrene and choose recyclable or natural materials such as glass, wood or fabric.
Other sustainable decorations include ones from nature – foraged holly, red berries, mistletoe or homemade dried orange garlands. Christmas decorations are also a great opportunity to have fun and DIY – just make sure to use biodegradable glitter!
USE LED LIGHTING
When it comes to Christmas lights, make sure yours are LEDs. These use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Make the effort to turn the lights off when you go to bed and choose lights which aren’t flashing as these use more electricity too.
EAT MORE PLANT BASED FOODS
Consider minimising your meat consumption this Christmas. Why not try a plant based main meal or if you do choose to eat meat, sourcing from a regenerative farm.
Regenerative agriculture aims to rebuild organic matter in the soil and restore soil biodiversity, working to reverse the effects of climate change. Use this as an opportunity to support a local regenerative farm.
It’s always good to aim to avoid over-catering, to prevent food waste. However, if you do miscalculate, embrace the leftovers and create new meals. Leftover cold meats and salads are wonderful sandwich fillers and you can always stock up your freezer too. There may also be the opportunity to donate to a local food bank or soup kitchen.
RECONNECT WITH NATURE
Christmas is about spending time with family and giving back. Use it as a time to reconnect with nature as well as each other and take time to enjoy time outdoors. Focus on giving back to the earth – in your garden; plant a tree together or decorate one in your garden for the birds with seed balls.
You could also attach a nesting box to a tree for a local bird or animal to make a home in or spend time cleaning up a local area. These are great activities to share the value of the importance of sustainable living with your children.