CHRISTMAS is a wonderful time of year where we get together to celebrate, appreciate our loved ones and take time to reflect on the year just gone. Christmas doesn’t have to be a mad dash, costly or negatively impact the planet; get in the festive spirit whilst doing your bit for the environment. Essex Wildlife Trust gives some creative tips for a greener Christmas:
Decorations and wrapping
Buy local, potted trees so they can be planted and re-used year after year, providing a habitat for wildlife in the meantime. If you do happen to have a cut tree, leave it in your garden after Christmas to compost and become a habitat for wildlife or recycle it locally. If you would rather use an artificial tree, buy a good quality one to last or even buy second hand.
Around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used each year in the UK so try and rethink how you wrap your gifts; you can get really creative! Consider fabric knot wrapping, or even using newspaper that you already have in your home. If you would prefer to use wrapping paper, avoid anything shiny that can’t be recycled and use string to fasten together instead of tape. Add eco-friendly glitter, a sprig of mistletoe or pinecones if you’re feeling creative.
Decorate your home with handmade decorations made from paper, felt or material. If you’re buying your decorations, be conscious of the packaging it comes in, try to stay away from plastic.
You don’t have to break the bank every December or end up with lots of physical things that may only be used a few times. Why not try your hand at homemade gifts this year? Nothing is more precious than your time and creativity; from homemade jams in recycled glass jars to bug hotels for gardens, making your own gifts is a real declaration of love and it will reduce your carbon footprint.
If you’re not up for getting creative you can consider treating the people you love to experiences, not things; enjoy a fun day out locally and make new memories that will last forever. Alternatively, if you know a wildlife lover, you could consider gifting them with an Essex Wildlife Trust membership or a nature course so they can learn something new about wildlife in 2020.
Food and drink
Support your community, reduce your carbon footprint and shop locally for your Christmas dinner by visiting farm shops, butchers and grocers; you could even try replacing various components of your meal with meat-free alternatives.
Be aware of plastic packaging, if you can, buy loose fruit and vegetables.
Reduce waste by meal planning and using leftovers the next day. Avoid leaving leftovers out for wildlife, it can be far too salty.
Lastly, raise a glass to toast your eco-friendly Christmas with a bottle of something delicious that has been brewed or distilled locally.