Ah Christmas, a consumers heaven. I don’t want to sound like Scrooge here because I do love love love Christmas, however, it is the most wonderful time of the year for buying crap!!
I’m on a mission this year to make every purchase count while still upholding the magic of Christmas. It goes without saying if you know me or have read this blog before that I also want to avoid plastic were I can and make it a sustainable Christmas. So here’s 10 things I be won’t buying this year and my sustainable solution.
1. Sparkling wrapping paper.
You might think “why complain about wrapping paper when it can be recycled”. Well every year enough Christmas wrapping paper is brought to wrap the circumference of the WORLD!!! That’s a lot of trees being cut down.
But worse of all. Most of it can’t be recycled. All that pretty shiny stuff and all that glitter makes it un-recyclable.
I used to be the worst culprit when it came to wrapping everything as pretty and flamboyant as possible. I’m still going to do that but with a new tend, which includes earthy colours (a fancy way of saying brown paper, reusing some from packaging and some brought) with an autumnal and nature theme (meaning I’m going to send the boys of a mission in the woods to collect pretty things I can stick on to decorate.) and you’d be amazed at how lovely string can look wrapped around pressies.
Another idea is to use old scarves. Have a look in charity shops (I did find some but they wanted quiet a lot for each one which was getting a little expensive but you might have more luck) or check eBay out. You can ask for them back afterwards and use them year on year.
I’ll be using string or ribbons that I’ve collected off things throughout the year. Off clothes tags, other pressies I’ve been given etc.
We’re making ours from old toilet rolls and brown paper. It gives the boys a chance to find some truly awful jokes to put inside and we might add a little adult treat into some in the form of tiny gin bottles and perhaps a scratch card. Who wouldn’t love that?!
If however your not keen on getting creative look out for some that don’t contain the plastic hair combs and things that go straight to landfill.
I always hated the stuff but I guess that’s down to opinion. Its the only “tat” that Mat allows in the house and he thinks it’s great 🤷♀️ who knew tinsel would be something we would disagree on so much. We’ve been using the same stuff for years so I won’t stop doing this but when it does finally give up the ghost we will find other decorations instead. (Here’s to hoping that’s soon, don’t tell Mat I said that).
5. Present labels
Last year I kept any cards I had been given that had nice bits on I could cut out. For example a nice picture of holly on the front or a Santa waving. I’ll dig them all out this year, cut the nice pictures out and use a fore-mentioned string or ribbon to attach to presents.
If you haven’t got loads of saved Christmas cards like I didn’t last year how about sticking old scrabble pieces or letter fridge magnets to your presents. I obviously collected these back up and saved to use again.
6. 100 Cards
Do we really need to give everyone in the office a card when you can just say Merry Christmas. Or our parents when we will see them on Christmas Day?
I save my card giving to the people I know really like getting cards and the people I won’t see. Like my Nanny in Ireland who will be pleased to see one arrive from me in the post.
The cards I do buy are usually from charity shops or the local hospital that sell remade cards. I also then donated any cards I can’t reuse myself to them for next year.
7. 100 plastic baubles
I usually buy a one or two special decorations every year and normally give them as presents but always buy handmade ones from local community fairs or Christmas markets. That way when you get them out every year you can tell the story of where or who they came from.
If you have kids they manage to bring enough home to fill your tree easily.
Also can you tell I don’t colour coordinated my tree? In my opinion a tree having special decorations from all over is a much happier tree than one with just silver and pink in neat rows. You may disagree?..
8. Advent calendars
I’ve brought a wooden one this year from a charity shop. Although it was new, as they were selling loads of them I figured this was going to last us forever. Our plan is to put chocolates in some and things for them to do in others, like a swimming trip, cinema, maybe a special meal out. (If you’ve read my previous post you’ll understand that food means a lot to our boys).
Because they aren’t with us every day it means when they have a few days to open at once they will get a few different things.
9. A fake tree.
Every year I hear debate over real vs fake. I hear people tell me that a fake is more sustainable because you use it year after year. The fact is, even if it last 10-20 years it will eventually end up in a landfill and it is still made with resources taken from our earth so a real tree is the way to go. There are things you can do to reduce your real trees carbon footprint still buying locally and making sure it’s recycled in the right way, or have a tree in a pot in your garden that you bring in everyday.
10. Excess food.
Ok, let’s not take this too far because I enjoy the food of Christmas as much as the next person but in the UK every year we throw away 7.1 million tons of food from our households. And that’s nothing compared to what happens at Christmas. A report by Unilever stated in the UK the equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies, and five million Christmas pudding are thrown away EVERY YEAR. This paints a horrific picture.
If we all planned a little better and didn’t panic buy I think we can all have our Christmas cake and eat it too…
So, remember to use all of those turkey leftovers. Turkey pie, curry, sandwiches, you name it I’ll be eating it all.
I hope this will make you think about your Christmas waste and of course have a Merry Christmas!