If there was one key theme that dominated our thoughts, news feeds and social channels this year, that would be our environment. From climate strikes and protests around the world to news reports from the UN, and even our favourite celebrities joining the debate — you’d have to be living under a rock to not have felt the social impact of sustainability and climate change.
While it can be easy at Christmas to get swept away with the fun and festivities, the reality of these global issues remains. The planet doesn’t go on holiday just because we do! Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful times of the year — but it’s also one of the most wasteful.
Luckily, less waste doesn’t have to mean less fun! To get you thinking more sustainability this Christmas, we present our 12 Days of Sustainable Christmas:
Day 1: A reusable water bottle:
Great as gifts, or even as a treat for yourself! There are so many options for great reusable flasks and bottles today, here are just a few of our favourites:
Day 2: Eco entertaining
Skip the disposable plates and cups. Instead, ask a few friends or family members to loan you some plates, cups or cutlery that can be washed and returned to them. Or, charity shops often have plates and cups you could buy for a steal — simply use them, wash them afterwards, and donate them back to the shop. This way, not only are you reducing your party waste, but you’re also supporting a valuable part of your local community.
Day 3: Beeswax wraps
Buy these for yourself, or treat your loved ones to a plastic-free way to keep food fresh — a very handy stocking stuffer! There are plenty of great eco brands to choose from, or get a little crafty and make your own.
Day 4: Recycling gift wrap
Did you know that one of the biggest sources of waste each Christmas is from the wrapping paper? This year, why not reduce your wrapping waste by choosing reusable boxes or paper bags? Better yet, make the wrapping part of the gift itself by using a beach towel, a cute hair scarf, or wall hanging.
Day 5: Gift of food
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a delicious treat! Get creative in your kitchen and whip up some festive goodies that you can serve to guests, take to your work party, or add to Christmas stockings (wrapped in a homemade beeswax wrap, of course!) Need a little inspiration? Take a look at our Gift of food suggestions.
Day 6: Experience gifts
Instead of buying stocking-stuffer gifts for the sake of it, or risking a gift not being used and sitting in a cupboard collecting dust, why not look into gifting your loved ones amazing experiences? From organic wine tours, movie tickets, wildlife park memberships and even guided foraging trips, there are so many options. And the best part? There is no need to gift wrap!
Day 7: e-Cards
Christmas cards are lovely to receive, but these merry messages are usually foiled or plastic coated (aka not recyclable. Luckily, there are plenty of websites and apps that can help you create beautiful, unique and delivered-in-an-instant E-cards. And, with the ability to add moving image and sound, going digital is a really easy and fun way to say Merry Christmas to loved ones.
Day 8: Lovely leftovers
Few things bring more joy than a well-stocked Christmas table! And, by being a little clever with your leftovers, you could still be enjoying that festive meal in the days and weeks that follow. Leftover cold meats and salads are perfect sandwich fillers — they’ll typically last 3-5 days in the fridge if well covered. Give your leftover mashed potatoes new life as cheesy potato fritters, and turn your leftover vegetables into a boxing day veggie soup, a great meal that’ll keep for weeks in the freezer.
Day 9: Gifts that grow
Give a gift that gives back to our ecosystem. Trees and flowering plants are a thoughtful gift that will bring years of joy, or opt for potted plants for your apartment dwelling friends. Growing gifts are also a great opportunity for learning for little ones — we love these cute, clever and so-much-fun plantable colouring pencils.
Day 10: Shopping bag
Single-use plastic bags are so 2015. Help your family and friends make the transition into reusable shopping bags with these chic, eco-friendly carry-alls from Baggu.
Day 11: “Adopt” an animal
World Wildlife Fund has a range of adorable at-risk animals available for symbolic adoption, like a koala, lion cub or red panda. A tremendous gift idea for caring kids, your adoption will include a plush toy and an adoption certificate, along with other goodies.
Day 12: Indoor herb starter kit
Growing your own herbs is a really easy (and delicious) way to reduce waste. It’s also a fantastic gift idea that will have you popping to your loved one’s mind every time they reach for that parsley! Keep it simple with a cute windowsill planter, or invest in a smart starter kit like this one from Lakeland — it has its own LED grow light system and a self-sufficient water reservoir!