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How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Christmas is a time of abundance. We celebrate the end of another year, leaving behind our troubles and concerns. We come together with our families and those closest to us to share homemade meals and exchange gifts as a token of our love and appreciation for one another.

Over the years, Christmas has sadly become a marketing tool for many companies who create unrealistic expectations around the idea of this festive holiday and put pressure on us to be overly generous with our gift giving and can often lead to debt for many families around the globe. As a result, this over-generous giving also creates a lot of waste, with people purchasing things for each other that end up collecting dust before ultimately finding their way into landfill. The world’s pollution crisis simply cannot afford more rubbish.

On top of unwanted gifts, there is a plethora of wrapping paper, cards, plastic cups/plates/crockery, decorations, lighting omissions, fake trees, food and lots more waste discarded as a result of the holiday season.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden on you or the planet. With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. So here are some fun tips that will help you have a more sustainable ‘green’ Christmas that won’t put you in debt, or cost the planet.

Buy less, buy smart

Gifts should be a reflection of your relationship with the person you are buying for. Reflect back on recent conversations, what are their interests/hobbies? Have they mentioned they would like to try something new? Or perhaps that something broke and they need to replace it.

If you prefer to give a practical gift they will actually use – try to remember or find out what they need. If it’s more of a thoughtful gesture – suit the gift to their interests.

It’s helpful to pay attention to these little clues throughout the year, perhaps even note them down and collect them along the way so that when Christmas rolls around – you’re ready and there’s no financial burden of buying everything all at once.

Suggesting ‘secret Santa’ to your family will also take the pressure of the number of gifts you are responsible for – with each person being designated just 1 other.

Get creative

Gifts don’t have to be store bought. Often the most thoughtful, appreciated gifts are handmade. The internet provides loads of gift ideas that you don’t need to be an artist to create. This is also an awesome creative project to do with your kids that will teach them the true meaning of gift giving and how to get nifty while having fun and bonding.

Cards and wrapping paper can also be homemade – opt for using twine instead of sticky tape!

Think green

Opt for local, handmade gifts. Most areas have a Christmas Market which is filled with beautiful artisan gifts that were made right around the corner from natural materials.

Avoid plastic & batteries – these are environmental hazards that are impossible to dispose of.

When shopping for kids – try to opt for gifts that will promote creativity and connection with nature rather than violence or more use of digital technology.

Re-gift. If the gift didn’t work for you, that’s not to say it won’t for someone else. There’s no crime in passing it on, especially if it is going to waste at your place.

Connect with nature

Christmas in Australia is warm, sunny and vibrant. Get outdoors and celebrate nature. Begin an annual family hike, decorate a living tree, go for a swim or have a long lunch in the backyard. Getting the kids out of the house and away from screens is crucial for family engagement.

Opt for a live tree

Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC) and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. They are often discarded after a few years when they begin to wear and then end up in landfill.

Live trees are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing and can be recycled. You can also opt for a potted tree that lasts for many years – all you have to do is keep it outside when not in use and re-pot every few years.

Reduce, reuse & recycle

Instead of throwing out and purchasing new wrapping paper every year, keep it and reuse it. Same for ribbons and bows. You should always opt for recycled paper that is matte and can be further recycled or jazz up some newspaper with colourful ribbons and bows.

When it comes to Christmas lights – use solar powered or LED lights to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Try to avoid plastic plates/cutlery/cups altogether. Use paper as an alternative or better yet – if meeting in a park or public place ask everyone to bring their own that way it’s not up to 1 person to bring all the kitchenware and be left to try to clean up.

Christmas doesn’t have to cost the planet, there are so many creative ways where we can all make a difference while saving money and stress at the same time.

From all of us at BBDR, we wish you and your family a happy green Christmas!! xo


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