Eco home tips for Christmas times whether it fills you with yule time joy or frosty dread, Christmas is unavoidable. It’s never too early – so better get prepared.
One thing is for sure – the average Christmas season is possibly one of the most wasteful times of our year.
Unwanted gifts, unrecyclable glittery wrapping paper, plastic glasses, baubles, disposable tableware, off the scale electricity use, tinsel – not to mention the poor tree that got the chop so it could be a decoration for a week! It’s enough to make you want to cancel Christmas altogether.
But let’s not get all bah-humbug here and make like Scrooge. We can make it a happy, green Christmas with just a little thought and effort.
Don’t give in to the glitter!! There are ways through this!
And here they are.
Dispose of the disposables
Crack out the family silver (or mums old 70’s dinner set at least). Say no to foil trays, disposable napkins or plastic anything. If you don’t have full matching dinner ware, go retro for the extra festive fun and charm. Use mismatched, pretty, old dinner sets, dishes and glasses, cloth napkins in fab colours. We’ll bet you can make a whole table look fabulous for a few quid. Hit your charity shops or car boots. Disposable is soo vulgar, dahling!
Think ‘alternative’ tree
Do we need to chop a tree down for this? If you do (?) go for a live potted tree, which can have a life after Christmas.
If not, re-think your ‘traditions’ and check out some tree alternatives this year. There are awesome designs out there now, from card and wood and sustainable materials. They are chic, festive, fun and a talking point. And best? Re-usable.
If you’re still craving that pine scent, buy wreaths or swags that use only the boughs of live trees. Or, make some gorgeous essential scented oils for burners.
Be inventive with your gift wrap.
A lot of festive wrapping paper is not recyclable (glitter and plastic coatings see to that). So, why not make your own? Paper shopping bags, brown parcel wrap spruced up with natural strings, star or tree cuts outs, or hand drawn coloured patterns. If you want to be really crafty (and speed things up) you can make ink stamps to decorate big sheets of wrap. Better still, set the kids to it. Nothing they like more that stamp painting! And nothing’s cuter at Christmas than stuff the kids have made. Right?
Get vintage with your gift lists. Check out antique and charity shops or eBay to find great deals on unique, unusual gifts. Vintage dishes, retro clothes, vinyl records, bags, books and jewellery. Each gift is totally unique for that individual person – so you save money, recycle and get to look super thoughtful on top!
Make your own gifts
If you’re artistic, or can needlepoint or embroider like a pro, paint like Picasso – you’re sorted on this one.
For the rest of us? How about making a mix CD? Or try out baking a cake. You could wrap natural pot pourri up in gorgeous upcycled fabric and ribbon for tree decoration gifts. Make herbed salts and sugars for friends.
What we’re saying here is you don’t have to be super talented to make something gorgeous, thoughtful and festive. People love the personal touch at a time when consumerism is at its most aggressive.
Decorate with the natural and recycled
Forget glittery plastic baubles and tacky tinsel. Fill your Christmas home with natural pinecones, boughs and holly. Fill pots, make garlands.
Make your own decorations from upcycled cards, and last year’s wreath. Paper chains, cut out stars, trees and angels .. the possibilities are endless. And another one for kids on holiday.
Burn Pure and clean
What’s Christmas without beautiful candlelit rooms? That warm light on dark winter days is a tonic for the soul. We say oh yes to festive flames, but keep it clean. Normal candles are made from petroleum based paraffin. Instead, go for beeswax, soy or vegetable wax.
Shop local, and small
Check out local boutiques, farmer’s markets, family-owned businesses and craft fairs in your area to find great gifts. Make an event of going to festive markets or artist open days. You won’t spend hours driving, burning fuel and paying parking charges! You won’t get Christmas shopping stress. Your gifts will be special. Kids will love it. You get to support your local economy, small business and makers. What is not to love here?
Watch the energy
Electricity use goes through the roof at Christmas. Get a timer so your lights aren’t on all day and night. Go for LED and low energy lights. Save energy. Save money.
Give, give, give
Pre-Christmas, go through the house and donate what you don’t want. Warm clothes and coats are always in demand in winter. Give away unused gifts from last year, and anything that someone could use to help them through Christmas. You’ll feel cleansed for the incoming holiday and you’ll have done some good. Do the same after Christmas. Donate all unwanted gifts and clothes.
Giving helps us feel grateful for what we have.
On top of getting big eco brownie points, you’ll save a fortune, make local traders very happy, be making Christmas a sustainable festive season, and it’ll all be a bit more, well, personal. And we guarantee you, that personal touch will charm and delight the people you love this Christmas.
We’ve got a fuzzy glow already. Green Christmas? You got this.