Wondering how you can keep things green without missing out on all the festive fun? Let's unwrap a few eco-friendly tips...
- How do you know if wrapping paper is 100% recyclable?
- How can we make sure we support local businesses?
- How do we keep Christmas plastic-free?
Christmas can be eco-friendlyChristmas might be a time of excess, but there’s no need for the planet to take a hit. With a few small changes, it’s easy to make things a little eco-friendlier without compromising. Here are a few tips on how to keep things green this festive season…
Can wrapping paper be recycled?
Though most wrapping paper can be recycled, Sellotape and some coated papers can’t... and let's face it, nobody is going to spend their Christmas Day sifting through what can and can’t be put in the recycle bin.
So, get rid of the plastic altogether by choosing recyclable paper and use festively coloured string to tie it together. As for ribbons, gift tags and bags, look for those made of natural materials or make your own with sprigs of holly. Consider using fabric or brown paper to gift-wrap presents and avoid non-recyclable materials like glitter and foil. Plus, brown paper and string aren't Christmas specific, so they can be used for birthdays and other occasions, so any leftover paper can still be used. Not that we'd be judging you if you wrapped up a present in Christmas paper for an August birthday…
Get creative with your wrapping!
Instead of buying wrapping paper why not use old newspapers to wrap your presents. With this hack, you can not only save money on wrapping, but there’s also no doubt that it can be recycled.
Wrapping this way will impress your loved ones as the newspaper gives presents more of a personal touch than the usual shop bought wrapping paper. If you want to go that extra mile, why not save the sheets from their birthday or any other important date?
Dry your fruit
Drying fruit is quite straightforward and can be a super creative way to decorate your gifts for the festive season.
You can dry fruit in two ways, either using an oven or a dehydrator. The fruit needs to be cut into thin slices and put on parchment paper in your oven / dehydrator, making sure nothing's overlapping for the best results. The timing and temperature will depend on your oven or dehydrator, so keep checking and adjust to what works best for you.
Once the fruit's dry, add them to your wrapping as a substitute for bows or use them as decoration around the house by filling a jar.
Bonus point: not only do they look beautiful, they smell great too!
How can Christmas be plastic-free?
Terrible jokes and paper hats are a must on Christmas Day. There's always that one family member who keeps their cracker hat on for way too long, and another one who laughs way too much at the awful cracker jokes, but do you really need another fake moustache and fortune fish? The plastic toys that pop out of crackers often – understandably – end up lost or in the bin.
If you’re looking to reduce your plastic waste but still want a little surprise in your festive crackers, you could always make your own. Fill them with chocolate, sweets or handmade gifts. For a less hands-on option, you can now buy cardboard crackers that don’t contain plastic toys, or fabric reusable crackers which you can fill with your own treats every year.
Should you shop locally at Christmas?
A tower of selection boxes a few feet high and more mince pies than you know what to do with – when it comes to food, the holidays are a time of overindulgence. You can cut down on food waste without losing any of the festive fun by shopping locally for your delicious festive additions. Use up your leftovers and plan your portion sizes based on how many people will be at the dinner table to reduce food waste.
Turkey, vegetables, mincemeat and more can all be sourced at your local butchers and greengrocers. Not only are you putting money back into the local community, you can often put your purchases straight into a tote bag so there’s no plastic packaging either.
Dreaming of a local Christmas?
Go the whole hog (or pig in blanket) and make your Christmas an entirely local affair this year. With a little research you can usually find some wonderfully talented local business owners that would just love some of their arts, crafts and produce to find their way into your stocking. Ditch the gift tokens and next-day delivery orders and grab the opportunity to discover your local community.
If you’re a dab hand at handicrafts yourself, perhaps you can make your own treats and trinkets to put under the tree.
How to make homemade presents?
Homemade Christmas presents are perfect for your loved ones, as everyone knows the thought behind the gift is what really counts! Here are a few easy and useful Christmas presents that you can make yourself:
- Jam or chutney jars - homemade jam and chutney is the perfect gift for any foodie. All you need is your chosen fruit or veg, sugar, water and some zest - for chutney be sure to add vinegar and salt. Once cooked, add to a jar and wrap.
- Coffee scrub - got some ground coffee in the cupboard? Did you know that mixing coffee, sugar and coconut oil together creates the perfect blend for an indulgent body scrub? The perfect gift for someone who loves a pamper.
- Pillow sprays - if your friends and family love to sleep, how about a homemade pillow spray? Simply mix a few drops of essential oils together, add two drops of alcohol spirit and water. Put the mixture in a bottle of your choice and it’s as simple as that.
These gifts don’t need much effort, time or money but will definitely surprise your friends and family - and they’re a great way to share the homemade love this Christmas.
Reduce, Reuse, RecycleGlass jars, bottles, boxes, gift bags, decorations – the list of items you can reuse is almost as long as your wish list. Consider following the three Rs this festive period – reduce, reuse and recycle. Find new life for old jars in the kitchen, keep hold of decorations for next year and recycle any old boxes and cards – just remember to remove any Sellotape and ribbons.
What does an Eco-Christmas look like?
In a nutshell...
- Make the most of a reusable advent calendar
- Wrap your present with newspaper or recyclable wrapping paper
- Take reusable bags with you when gift shopping
- Choose sustainable decorations and crackers
- Use LED lights in your decorations
- Minimise food waste
- Avoid single use or throwaway gifts
- Homemade gifts for family and friends
- Stay away from plastic
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