You can have a Green Christmas.
Often the best time of year for catching up with family and friends, it’s also the biggest time of spending – on presents, food, alcohol, parties and holidays. Unfortunately, all of our spending and consumption results in significant environmental damage and carbon pollution.
However, you don’t have to be a scrooge to reduce your carbon footprint at Christmas.
Here are tips for a more sustainable festive season.
Buy a service, not a product
To reduce embodied carbon pollution and water consumption, think about buying someone a service – say a voucher for a massage, rather than a massaging appliance. Vouchers for other services, (such as gardening or housecleaning) or film and theatre tickets are also good.
Buy gift vouchers
Gift vouchers are a good thing for the environment. People use them to get exactly what they want.
Buy gifts that give twice
Give your friends and family membership to charities, overseas aid groups or environment organisations
Buy carbon offsets
You can choose the amount you want to spend and offset someone’s car travel, household energy use or airline travel, once-off or for a year. A great gift for people coming from interstate to celebrate the festive season. Make sure you check the bonafides of the offsets though – some are dubious.
Get a really green Christmas tree
Go for a native tree in a pot which you can use year after year, or can plant in the garden after Christmas. In Australia, you can support the campaign to revive the native Wollemi Pine, an endangered Australian native which makes a great Christmas tree.
Another option is to buy a fake tree as long as you’re going to buy one that lasts for a long time and you reuse it for years.
Keep a list of things you want/need
Some people love giving presents and they will only feel happy if they give you something. So keep a list of things, of various costs, that you do want or need. For example a book, or a tool, a scarf, a cooking implement, some kind of special food for Xmas… Note your ideas down somewhere where you will remember them – for example on the calender or in your phone.
If you are like me, then if you don’t keep a list, your mind will go blank and you won’t be able to think of anything when your relative or friend asks ‘what do you want for Christmas’?. It might feel a little greedy, but it is better to be able to say ‘actually, I would really like this…’ than to get something you don’t particularly need or want.
Recycle or make your own Xmas paper
Most wrapping paper is not made from recycled paper. When you get wrapped presents unwrap them carefully and you can use the paper again.
Things to avoid
- Non recyclable gift wrapping paper.
- Presents that won’t get used or will be thrown out after a short period
- Eating too much at Christmas lunch.
- Answering work phone calls (mobile or otherwise).
Enjoy a safe and happy festive season.