So this is Christmas – and what have we done?
Well, for some, everything is organised but for others, there are still things left to do (and why not, December feels far more Christmassy than September!)
How about thinking sustainably this year? There are so many more options available than before to help us go green this festive season.
Wrapping paper, for example – why not re-use pretty gift bags instead of paper or how about looking for some nice tissue paper from a previous gift or purchase?
If you’re feeling crafty, you could actually make your own fabric drawstring bag.
Or, you could use newspaper or brown paper, then write the name on luggage labels with a silver or gold Sharpie – try drawing on a bow to save on ribbon – your gift will stand out as a retro or one-of-a-kind present.
Maybe, if you’re out for a walk, you could forage for decorations like pine cones, dried leaves or petals…it’s amazing what a sprig of holly can do to make a gift look original!
And don’t forget, if you do have any left over bits of wrapping paper at the end of a roll, try layering them which can create an unusual effect.
So you have the wrapping – what about the gifts?
There’s no need to spend hundreds on lavish gifts – remember what this season is supposed to be about.
Why not give something homemade; baked goods, sweets, jewellery or a photo in a frame are all made with love and thought.
If you’re stuck for ideas, how about a gift experience or even a family holiday somewhere.
For gifts with a story behind them, why not shop locally? There are a wealth of craftspeople making gorgeous gifts from jewellery to hampers…and it cuts down on the carbon footprint of your chosen product!
You could also choose gifts made from recycled materials and those without batteries if you really want to be eco-friendly.
Don’t forget, there’s nothing wrong with re-gifting either – as long as you don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you!
Look at earth easy’s website for more ideas.
Now we come to the tree.
Whether you have a real tree or a fake one…there are still ways to stay sustainable.
Fake trees are obviously plastic and have to be shipped over to the UK mostly. Although if you have one, you probably use it year after year – if you invest wisely, they can last ten years or more.
Real trees look nice, smell nice and soak up the carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
You can plant them out in your garden afterwards, and re-use them, though many people buy new, and you can also rent Christmas trees!
If you are thinking of buying a real tree this year, have a look at the Cornwall Life website for some places to buy them – there’s so much choice, from the Nordman Fir with its glossy green needles and great shape, the Noble Fir which has blue-tinged needles for something a little different, or the traditional Norway Spruce with its fresh, festive smell.
And what do we put on our trees…and the house…and in the garden? Lights.
If you want to save electricity, try using LED lights, which are less expensive than they used to be, last ten times longer than other bulbs and use 90 per cent less electricity.
And why not put them on a timer to come on for a few hours a day – nobody needs to try to compete with the Griswolds (when was the last time you watched National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation?)
What’s left? Of course….Christmas cards.
You’ll want to send greetings to your friends and family but how can we do this in a sustainable way? Many cards are made from recycled paper these days but, as with gifts, home-made cards are so much more personal.
And in this age of modern technology, why not send e-cards or simply a message via email or social media and maybe with the money you’ve saved you could make a donation to your favourite charity.
Last but not least, are the Christmas crackers.
How many times have we groaned over the terrible jokes, lost the plastic moustache in the detritus of the dinner table and ripped the hat just trying to unfold it?
Try cracker kits, made from recycled card, which you can fill with your own little gifts; or cloth crackers which you can re-use – click here for some ideas.
There are so many ways to make your Christmas personal, eco-friendly and memorable! Let us know your sustainable ideas via our Facebook or Instagram pages.