I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas…

That’s not quite how the song goes, but you get the gist. Christmas is a time for giving, food, family, lots of great TV and a heck of a lot of rubbish. There is very little green about a traditional Christmas in the modern era.

Small things really do make a big difference, so if you’re thinking of being more environmentally conscious over the festive season, here are a few ideas for how you can go about creating an earth-friendly Christmas.


Wrap your festive gifts in parcel paper

Not all Christmas wrapping paper is recyclable, so we recommend you wrap your presents in parcel paper for a crafty/traditional feel that sets it apart from the glossy printed paper we’ve become accustomed to.

Alternatively, the whole family can make a pact to buy gift bags that can be reused the following year.

Or better still, why not challenge the smaller members of the household to repurpose the fancy wrapping paper as Christmas tree decorations for next Christmas?

Donate unwanted gifts

Let’s be honest. As much as we are grateful for presents, it’s the thought that counts etc, there will be one or two presents that will be duplicates or that won’t suit your tastes. However, one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. This is great news as it means you can sell it on eBay, swap it on online swapping sites or donate them to a charity shop to start the new year feeling generous.

6 Ways to Deal with Unloved Christmas Gifts

Avoid buying presents with plastic packaging

Sometimes the issue isn’t the wrapping paper; it’s the plastic packaging the presents come in when bought from the shop. Our advice would be to limit purchasing items that are heavily wrapped in plastic or vacuum-sealed. This is because not all plastics can be recycled. As for the ones that are, that depends on your local council.

To check what is generally accepted by recycling centres, please refer to Recycle Now.


Use all the leftovers for a fantastic bubble & squeak

Granted, not all the food gets eaten on Christmas day. With most of us suffering from eyes-bigger-than-our-tummy syndrome, the bin certainly gets a belly full of sprouts, parsnips and pigs in blankets.

If you serve dinner in large bowls instead of directly on the plate, people can help themselves to the food they want and go back for seconds.

That way, any food left over in the bowls can be put in the fridge and used up for turkey sandwiches or a bubble and squeak the following day. Who isn’t partial to a second Christmas dinner?

Recycle food packaging where possible

Food packaging is also a problem for those looking to reduce their ecological footprint, so make sure you check what materials can go in your recycle bin with your local council. For general information, Recycle Now have compiled this handy list.

You can also take your bottles to a bottle bank. To find out where your local bottle bank is, use this search tool.

Be aware that that drinking glasses cannot be recycled with glass bottles due to differing melting temperatures.


Repurposing your Christmas tree

Most Advent seasons happen like this. You put the tree up on the 1st December or thereabouts, then you take it down on 6th January (if you take it down before, you’d better not admit it to any Christmas lovers!). It has a wait-period of about nine months in the garden before someone has the bright idea to toss it in the rubbish.

Why not make this year different with one of a range of clever suggestions from Greenpeace? Trees can be used for wood chipping in garden centres, taken as garden waste, or even hired! But how’s this for an idea you never thought of? Try planting it in your garden for next Christmas. Who knew that these robust firs are able to take root in a pot? I guess they’re just good at dealing with hangovers.


Be sociable!

Sitting with other people means that it gets warmer in your living room… so you don’t have to turn the heating on. Only kidding, we are not that much of a Scrooge to say put a jumper on and grin and bear the weather.

Yet, there is something to be said for being more sociable over the Christmas holiday. For one thing, you don’t need to keep heaters on throughout the house while everyone does their own thing in separate rooms.

Another way to save energy is if you agree to a digital detox during the break. The family will use a minimal number of electronic gadgets at one time, with just the TV and for entertainment since mobile phones and laptops would be banned. That way, you can get on with a cosy Christmas uninterrupted by the outside world.

What are your handy tips for a greener Christmas this year?

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