How to Have a More Conscious Christmas
We know, like many of you, it feels like we just had Christmas! Prolonged COVID19 lockdowns Worldwide have made 2020 feel mercifully short. It may seem too soon to talk about it but Christmas is just around the corner! For us at Wild Fawn preparations are in full swing for a busy Christmas period with more people shopping on line this yer than ever before. This truly can be the most wonderful time of the year but it is often not the most environmentally-friendly.
With over consumption common and waste rife, we thought we would make some suggestions for you so you can embark on a more conscious Christmas period without dampening the festive magic. From the tree you deck the halls with to the food you eat and falalalasleep after, every part of your celebration can be made more eco-friendly. This list is not exhaustive but we hope it will help you make better choices.
For many, the most important, and usually the most stressful part of Christmas is the shopping. There are many ways to shop more sustainably, if you are reading this you are probably already more conscious of consumerism then most and we salute you for that!
We know with more and more COVID restrictions it is more and more difficult to get out to your local ‘non essential’ shops but it is more important not than ever. Rather than shopping with large online retailers or supermarkets, give your local shops and markets some love this Christmas. As well as supporting independent businesses and helping boost a strong, sustainable local economy, you're likely to seek out special finds you won't get anywhere else.
Choose a gift that lasts
One of the most important aspects of sustainability is longevity. At Christmas, it can be tempting to panic buy presents, cheap and cheerful plastic toys or low quality garments won’t last long. Why not opt for high quality products of gift like platted plants which will not only last (as long as the recipient can care for them!) but will grow and become even more enjoyable as time goes on.
Gift one big present
Another great way to cut down on waste and unnecessary gifts is to choose one big present instead. If gifts are unavoidable at Christmas, partaking in Kris Kringle or Secret Santa is a fun way to reduce the amount of 'stuff' we all end up with. Especially for large families, rather than buying a gift for each person, you gift one person anonymously, and a price limit for all of the gifts is set. Plus, guessing who bought your gift can be such fun.
A gift in the form of a donation to a worthy cause, is probably the most sustainable gift you can give. Find a cause that truly matter to the recipient and make a donation in their name. It is not always the most exciting gift to receive but it can really make a difference to the charity and should make you feel good too. Some charities such as the WWF have more gifting a donations slightly more endearing by not just having the option to donate but also the option to adopt an animal. Rather than using resources and energy to produce a gift, a donation can protect the environment, promote health, support local businesses and employment, protect workers and promote animal welfare.
There are also many charities which have online shops, like The Big Issue with products on sale, so you can have the best of both, a physical gift with a charitable aspect.
Gift Experiences rather than stuff
Do you really need more stuff? Many of us have far more than we need, and when we really want something we simply buy it for ourselves. Gifting an experience such as a massage, a cooking course, a yoga class, or even skydiving or flying lessons, is an excellent way to end the cycle of needless consumerism. Depending on the experience, it can also be an invaluable opportunity to spend time with loved ones, encourage them to try something new and even to establish a healthy habit.
Gift e-gift Vouchers
Although vouchers can be seen as very impersonal, it’s a surefire way to reduce the waste of unwanted presents and ensures the giftee can get something they truly want. Your can get our e-gift card here (just saying!)
Gift a handmade gift
Another great way to help the environment — and to save some money in the process — is to make your own presents. Whether you love baking, sewing or painting, why not get creative this season. Best of all, it will enable you to put your own stamp on a gift.
Wrapping can be one of the most soothing parts of giving gifts, and who doesn’t remember the excitement of ripping wrapping paper off those boxes under the tree as a child? However it is usually the most wasteful part of giving gifts too.
Use eco-friendly wrapping paper
Apparently, on average, Brits use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over the festive season! Did you know, sellotape and paper covered in glitter cannot be recycled? Best to stay away from those if you can. Switching to brown eco-friendly paper instead and use and reuse ribbon or twine, this will help to minimise the high levels of waste produced at this time of year.
Or opt for fabric wrapping! You can ditch paper altogether and wrap presents this year in fabric. Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of using cloth to wrap up and transport gifts, it's a great way to live a little greener and reduce waste this festive season. There are many brands inspired by Furoshiki, The Fabric Wrapping Co. creates boldly colourful fabric gift wrap that can be used over and over again. This zero-waste take on a very old fashioned way of wrapping is a great way to add a unique twist to your gift.
Artificial trees have an environmental impact 10 times greater than a real tree and many are not recyclable. You’ll need to use it for at least 10 years for it to have low impact but some do keep their fake trees a lifetime, making this a somewhat sustainable option. Make it an even more ethical choice by buying second-hand, charity shops or websites like Freecycle will have pre-loved trees that you can give new life to.
Buy sustainably grown trees
Search for real Christmas trees for sale near you that have been sustainably grown in the UK. You’ll receive a free Christmas tree sapling with your purchase too on forestryengland.uk. There are many small family run and sustainably growers with FSC-certified trees grown in a responsibly managed forest.
Choose alternatives to traditional Christmas trees
It might surprise people to hear that you can rent a tree for your home this Christmas using sites such as www.loveachristmastree.co.uk. They are collected and replanted afterwards. Be sure to choose a local supplier for a lower carbon footprint.
Turn your houseplant into a Christmas tree
Why not do what our Creative Manager Rebecca does everyday year and turn a houseplant into a Christmas tree Turn your existing houseplant into a modern looking Christmas tree – and all you'll need is some fairy lights!
Make a tree
Be it fairy lights hung on your wall in the shape of a traditional tree or an arrangement of twig or driftwood there are many ways to get creative and make something truly unique which you can keep and use year after year.
Use to eco-friendly crackers
The ever-popular Christmas cracker can also be a huge contributor to waste in the UK. Most cannot be recycled and the plastic toys normally end up in the bin before the meal is even over. Keep an eye out for recyclable and plastic free crackers, they will be available in some stores. Better still, If you are feeling crafty, why not make and fill your own with Little Crafty Bugs or buy reusable fabric crackers from many different sellers on Etsy including Follow the Hem
Use handcrafted decorations
Aside from making them yourself, if buying new decorations for the home, choose handmade pieces made of wool, wood, rattan, recycled glass, hemp, jute etc.
If not from your local high street, you'll find many online shops sell locally made bespoke goods too, so have a browse – you never know what you might find. For crafts, take a look at Etsy or Notonthehighstreet.com. It's also worth browsing Nkuku for ethical Christmas decorations and homewares, all eco-friendly and handmade.
We have put together a Pinterest board of festive DIY decorations for you to try at home, we are definitely going to be making some of these this year!
Re-use Christmas tree decorations or go second-hand
Unless your baubles are damaged or broken, do your best to reuse them each year – and it doesn't even have to be on your tree. You could use baubles as table decorations or place names, or you could use string to hang them on door handles or string them together to create an unusual wreath. Don’t spend your money on new decorations, especially if you don’t know where they come from, when you can find absolute treasures in charity and vintage shops.
Buy plantable Christmas cards
A zero waste alternative is plantable Christmas cards. When the biodegradable paper is planted in a pot of soil, the seeds will grow and eventually the paper will decompose.
Or why not consider not sending physical cards at all! There are many options for sending e-greeting cards available now, they might make a good alternative with no waste!
Grow your own veg
Although his might have to be an idea for next year, growing some of your own veg is a wonderful option for your Christmas dinner and good for the soul all year round. With just a small amount of space - a balcony garden, a wall garden, or an indoor garden, or even your local community garden. Growing your own food you will eliminate all packaging, plus the energy expenditure and emissions associated with transportation of food. You will also save money and have an unrivalled sense of pride and satisfaction when you are munching on your homegrown Brussel Sprouts (or another less controversial veg!)
Make a shopping list
Rather than wandering the aisles like a dear in head lights hoping not to forget anything important, write a shopping list, choose what you would like to eat ahead of time so you do not end up buying things you don’t need or extra food which won’e keep and may go to waste.
We know it is probably the most difficult change for people to make to their traditional celebration but if you fancy trying something new why not swap your turkey and ham for a plant-based menu instead? The meat and dairy industry is responsible for more emissions than all the world's planes, trains, cars and boats put together.
If that's not possible with your family, you could make just small changes to your Christmas dinner menu. Use mainly plant based ingredients, make sure vegetables have been grown nearby so you can cut down on transport emissions, and try to make sure any meat or dairy products have not come from intensive farms.
Lessen food waste
Shop smart and never over-cater! When it comes to excess food, never bin it! Leftovers can be transformed into new meals, this will save money and cut waste. You can find an incredible selection of clever leftover recipes online. If you still have have too many leftovers, try freezing it or why not donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen? If all else fails, compost it!
Last but not least, Christmas jumpers!
Over recent years cheerful Christmas jumpers have become a staple of the festive season. These jumpers are often made very cheaply with substandard materials often containing plastic which cannot be recycled but can be reused! Don’t buy new every year, re-wear your Christmas jumper, donate them for others or buy second hand.
We hope this list was thought provoking and if you have any suggestions for other eco-friendly alternatives please share them with us below, we would love to hear them!