It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but it can also be the most excessive! Between the gifts, the food and all the shopping, it can feel like a lot of waste (and a lot of plastic!). Here are some top tips for a more sustainable holiday season.
Run a secret Santa
If you have a group of friends or a big family, why not run a Secret Santa? Instead of buying several gifts for everyone in the group, you can instead focus your attention on one quality, meaningful gift for one person. Less stress and less 'stuff'!
If you're shopping online, try small businesses with sustainable practices. These products often have a lovely story behind them, and you'll be supporting a person, rather than a big company. Or, try the local shops for unique gifts. It will save you “shopping miles” and support the local economy. Bonus Tip: Bring reusable bags with you to reduce plastic bag consumption.
Don’t Shop at all!
A handmade gift will be cherished much more and longer than anything from a store. It shows you've put time, thought and skill into the gift. There are many YouTube tutorials on making great gifts, or you could even bake cookies or make sweets for friends and family. Offering your time to someone busy or donating to a charity in someone’s name is a gift that keeps giving. Or, you could give an experience: cook them dinner, give a gift certificate for spa services, restaurants or even a membership!
Skip the wrapping paper
Try using newspaper instead of wrapping paper. There are heaps on the tube you can pick up; you can have a read and then reuse the paper, all for free! Try using a full-page ad with bright colours for interest! Or you could even turn a used (clean!) crisp packet inside out for a shiny look on a small gift. And to decorate, try drawing on a ribbon or foraging for decorations. Use offcuts from the Christmas tree, pinecones, or mistletoe to decorate the wrapping.
Save your gift wrap
If you’re given gifts, try to unwrap them carefully – you can re-use wrapping paper or gift bags you already have. You can cut the tags off bags or trim the paper's edges. Keep tissue paper, ribbons, jars, twine from deliveries you receive. Bonus tip: If the paper is not suitable for re-use, try the scrunch test to see if it can be recycled. If you scrunch it into a ball and it holds, it can be widely recycled across the UK. If it unfolds or springs back, it cannot be recycled.