Christmas - big love, low waste style
Hello fabulous people
Gosh, it’s been a while between posts – I really don’t know how the year has flown by so fast – either a poor memory, old age or not enough slow living! I do hope you’ve continued to make good environmentally conscious decisions in your lives, without my regular posts.
Guess what? It’s officially time to get out the advent calendars and find a Christmas tree. If you want to do Christmas 2018 in a kinder-to-the-planet way and need some inspiration then stay tuned, you're in the right place! There are so many options it’s getting me excited, so excited in fact, I’ve even made up a slogan to inspire a slow living style Christmas this year “Make, Bake, Create or Donate”. Meaning less waste, more love, and (hopefully) less stress and more joy.
This slogan has come out of my desire to teach my children some old fashioned values that are a bit anti-consumerist too - that create more joy, show more love, care and individuality (plus the fact I’m sick of excess STUFF and looking for car parks to go shopping). Oh boy, I could really go off on a tangent here about clutter….Pen, stay focused, it’s Christmas…
What appeals to you more - driving around looking for a car park at an overcrowded mall to buy mass produced things, while listening to below average carols and queuing for tills; or creating and making gorgeous things at home with friends, some bubbles, above average music, no car parking required? The home version is way more like jingle bells in my opinion and it will save you time, money and reduce stress levels.
Here are some easy things you could make at home:-
- Beeswax wraps
- Chutneys, sauces or cordials
- Furoshiki cloths (which have so many uses & reduce the need for bags)
Some festive things you could bake at home (or in the home of a friend with the most enviable kitchen or view):-
- A batch of Gingerbread, or cookies like the stash here, photographed by Markus Spiske
- Meringues then put in a lovely tin/jar from a second-hand store, with a ribbon and home made gift tag.
Oooh, now the creative juices are flowing, here are other gifts you could create from the comfort of your own home:-
- Home-made Christmas cards reusing old ones from last year
- A photo book of a recent holiday or happy memories
- A potted plant – by taking a cutting from your favourite plant, plonking it in a second hand pot or jar, tied up with a red ribbon
If making, baking and creating is a bit beyond your head space right now you could always donate things like:-
- your time. Give someone a home-made voucher to help in their garden/paint their fence.
- that dress to your sister that she always covets and you never wear…
- gift cards through charities, like Fountain of Peace, who’s cards directly benefit children and families with things like clean water, fruit trees, goats. For more options and to purchase click here. Gifts like these are really appreciated by people with everything, and by the recipients who very little.
If you really do like buying Christmas gifts, this year I encourage you to work with a theme of thoughtful gifts that will inspire positive change and reduce waste. There are so many options now, as more and more businesses are focused on social and environmental improvements.
- A reusable coffee cup for the coffee drinkers in your life, so they can help save the world. There are so many gorgeous options out there (see my previous post on Keepcup)
- Stainless steel straws from Caliwoods
- Or, go the whole hog and make a takeaway kit for the car/handbag with a reusable cup, some bamboo cutlery, a stainless steel straw, and linen serviette
- A bumble bee house to encourage more pollination
- Any of the Ethique soap bars will be popular, even pooches are catered for with these guys! Their packaging is stunning and compostable packaging too. To shop now click here
- An experience like a cooking class, massage
- A satchel made from old billboard skins, here's a link to some cool Defender Bags made in Wellington, NZ by the groovy and socially inspired caped crusaders Spinning Top charity - who donate their profits to vulnerable children on the Thai/Burma border.
To further reduce waste, while still sharing the joy of giving a beautifully wrapped gift, ditch the wrapping paper and instead wrap the gift with a gift of a tea-towel, beach towel, pillow case or beeswax wrap. If you’re still keen to use wrapping paper (and let’s face it half the time small children are more interested in the unwrapping than the contents) opt for stylish and slow-living ish (not to mention reusable and recyclable) brown Kraft paper tied with ribbon. Most other types of wrapping paper available are slippery, coated and shiny (the type that rip at the corners just when you’ve got your thumbs out of the way and the tape at the ready) and are not recyclable. They’re also generally not durable enough for re-use, other than chopping up for craft days, so they need to go into landfill…which is not what we’re all about round here
Lovely and quality brown Kraft paper, tied with ribbon rather than sellotape is not only stylish and old-school, it also encourages reuse the following year, as do gift bags. This year, take charge of the recycling on Christmas day, to reduce what goes to landfill, educate and inspire those you’re with to reuse their paper and ribbons and create their own cards next year.
Now that your gifts are sorted in a responsible way, another potential wasteful aspect of the silly season is hosting. If you’ve got a crowd of in-laws, out-laws and almost-laws coming to you, rather than buying disposable, single-use plastic plates, go op-shopping for extra plates, glasses and cutlery (mis-matched is the new black afterall). Then, after Chrissy, donate your extra stash back to the op-shop for someone else to enjoy, or pass it on to the next person to host the family Christmas. If you’re planning a casual affair and can’t bear the thought of doing the dishes – buy sets of compostable plates and cutlery that can all be thrown into the organics bin, with the food scraps and paper towels. Rather than buying boxes of bottled beer, go to a local craft brewery with a glass flagon/rigger/growler and fill up with your favourite beer to share over Christmas (also a popular gift for the hard to buy for) and let’s hope it will inspire some change too.
Merry Christmas everyone,