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From on-budget gifts to eco-friendlier decorations: tips to celebrate Christmas without harming the environment.
Christmas has traditionally been a period of peak consumption, but if I have learned something this year, is that we should start taking care of the environment. You can host an eco-friendly Christmas and still enjoy the magic of it.
Having spent almost a year without seeing most of my family and friends, I learned (the hard way) that what really matters is the people around you. Having expensive decoration and loads of presents is no longer important –I just want to be with the people I love, and if on top of that, I can cause less harm to the environment, I think we have a deal. Here are some ways to have a more sustainable Christmas:
- Choose a present that will last, that has value, purpose and meaning –it needn’t be expensive, it should show that you have given the present some thought.
- Make sure you shop locally, this has been a tough year for independent businesses, it will help boost a more sustainable local economy and on top of that you’ll get a special gift that cannot be found anywhere else!
- Choose only one special present, don’t overspend on several small gifts.
- Give a handmade gift. Whether you like painting, drawing, baking or sewing, why not give the ones you love something you have done yourself? I believe that when we spend time creating a present for one person, the object will bear traces of the good vibes and love we feel while doing it –and that something you cannot buy.
- Use eco-friendly wrapping paper. Tapes ribbons and paper covered in glitter cannot be recycled, so please don’t spend money on them. Use brown paper or fabric wrapping and use a twine with a few flowers or leaves to decorate.
Re-use decorations as much as possible, unless they are broken, there is no need to change all your ornaments and tree once a year. If you still feel like you could use some new stuff, make sure you shop locally or make your own handmade decoration and opt for ornaments made from biodegradable materials. You can even turn your houseplant into a Christmas tree!
Have a vegetarian Christmas dinner! The meat and dairy industry pollutes more than all the world’s planes, trains, cars and boats. I know that for those that aren’t vegetarian, it is a tough thing to ask, but I’ve been vegetarian for over 10 years and it’s the decision that I’m the proudest of. Why not try a plant-based menu for a change? If you still want your turkey, you can make some small changes like including more veggies than usual and try to choose food that is light on packaging.
Christmas should be about sharing with the ones you love, whether you are having a zoom meeting with your friends or you are lucky enough to be close to your relatives, please make sure that the time you spend with them is more important than the material things that are around you. In the end, that is all that matters.