It’s beginning to look a lot like LANDFILL!

5 doable tips for a less-stuff Christmas

Christmas is a great time for family and creating memories, but it’s also the peak time for excess and creating waste.

Think about how full your wheelie bin has been on Boxing Day after Christmases Past.

You don’t have to change everything. Just be mindful of what moves in and out of your home, what generates landfill, and what generates emissions. A few tweaks can make a difference so we can continue to enjoy Christmas for generations to come.

Here are some tips if you are wanting to reduce your household’s impact on the environment without reducing the fun.

1 Buy Less

On the face of it, that doesn’t sound much fun until you consider that all the plastic stuff you have ever bought still exists in some form somewhere on the planet. That is a sobering thought! Even if it has left your home, it will still be out there somewhere.

Try this formula for thoughtful gift giving and to help keep shopping under control:

● something to read

● something to wear

● something they want

● something they need

Ultimately, the best gift is the one the recipient will actually use.

Buy less over time by purchasing items that will maintain their quality and usefulness for many years, or buy something preloved.

Gift an activity or event, for example, a workshop or movie, or donate to a cause that has significance for the recipient.

Think carefully about how much food you really need and how much you can safely store.

Make your own treats from scratch, if you have leftovers (and who doesn’t?), send portions home with guests, freeze, or have a plan for using over the next few days. Jamie Oliver has some great ideas for using leftovers.

2 Buy Local

Choose items from local suppliers as much as possible. Products that are shipped around the world contribute significantly to global emissions. It also means that the money you spend is more likely to stay in the local economy.

● order produce from local businesses – did you know that there is an organic, free range turkey farm at Kingsthorpe?

● join local business and handmade groups on FB and buy from them – you could help a local artisan have a good Christmas, too

● there are often makers’ markets in the lead up to Christmas where you can find unique gifts.

3 Use Reusable Wraps & Stockings

Personalised stockings can be reused for a lifetime and become a treasured tradition.

Try reusable shopping bags, pillowcases tied with a bow, Furoshiki cloths, or even tea towels to wrap gifts rather than paper. Make the gift wrap part of the gift.

Replace single use gift tags with ‘blackboard tags’ that can be cleaned and reused.

Keep wraps and ribbons as close to nature as possible. Could they be composted? Try brown paper (can be stamped and decorated with natural elements like pinecones, cinnamon sticks, rosemary). Tie with jute string, reusable fabric ribbon, and raffia.

Avoid plastic sticky tape by tying your parcels with ribbon or string.

If you are giving baked goods or meals, consider sourcing second-hand jars, containers, or dishes that the recipient can keep.

You could even avoid wrapping a gift like a bicycle altogether by hiding it and creating a treasure hunt with clues guiding the recipient to the hiding spot.

Replace Christmas cards with a digital card or Christmas email. Reuse any old greeting cards, gift wrap/bags and ribbon to make your own gift tags and decorations or wrap gifts.

4 Decorating

If you are thinking of replacing your Christmas tree and decorations, consider opting for materials from nature rather than manufactured decorations that have a large carbon footprint and are hard to recycle when they are at the end of their usefulness.

● a living tree in a pot that you can keep for years or plant out in the garden after Christmas, or fashion your own from recycled materials such as wooden pallets, driftwood, fallen branches, and wine bottles – just add fairy lights!

● use natural items collected from the garden or on a bushwalk to create decorations, such as tying sticks together to make stars or wreaths, and pinecones for the table

● make salt dough decorations – these can be scented with cinnamon and other spices

● try ornaments made from wood such as advent calendars made from little drawers, Christmas trees made from reclaimed timber, and fabric bunting and stockings – check out your local makers markets for unique handmade decorations

● use paper, cardboard, old greeting cards, or even corks to make garlands in place of plastic tinsel

● use numbered drawstring bags in place of an advent calendar

● avoid purchasing Christmas-themed tableware that will only be used once a year – use your everyday plates and, if you don’t have enough for all your guests, you could even do as the Danes do and ask guests to bring plates with them.

If you are replacing Christmas lights, switch over to LED lights or solar lights to reduce strain on your power bill. Have them on a timer so they aren’t still running at 3am when no one is looking at them.

Look for secondhand decorations before buying new.

And Finally 5

Divert as much as you can from going to landfill by repurposing, reusing, donating, recycling, and composting.

You don’t have to make big changes, but every little bit helps.

Wishing you all a wonderful time with the people you love best this Christmas and many more to come.

This blog is a collaboration between Robyn from Everyday Concierge and Suanne from Green Dandelion.

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