Here at Fresh Design, we’re dreaming of a green(er) Christmas. Yes, the festive season is traditionally a time of over-indulgence – but it’s possible to choose more eco-friendly options without compromising on quality or style. Here are our top ten tips on how to have an eco-friendly Christmas.
Always a slightly ‘thorny’ topic! There are arguments for and against both real and artificial trees. Many real trees end up in landfill every year, whereas artificial trees last for many years but aren’t recyclable at all. If you do opt for a real tree, try either keeping it pot to use for several years, or plant it outside and put outdoor lights on it.
To minimise your carbon footprint, choose a tree that’s been grown in the UK (see the British Christmas Tree Growers Association website for stockists), and talk to your council about recycling options. If you’re buying a new artificial tree this year, source a second hand one through online auction or giveaway sites.
There’s no way round the fact that buying ethically farmed meat is more expensive. It’s still possible to work to a budget, though, even if you spend almost all of it on the turkey!
Options include serving less meat and making up the difference with vegetable dishes, or using clever leftover ideas to get the most from the bird. Forget boring turkey curries and sandwiches – try mini turkey and cranberry tarts, or turkey noodle soup. Freeze any cooked leftover turkey within two days so you don’t end up throwing it away.
Buy local as much as you can to reduce food miles – try artisan and farmers’ markets for ideas.
The most eco-friendly way is to keep wrapping paper and recycle it – but it does have a tendency to look a bit second hand!
A compromise is to use gift wrap made from recycled paper, such as this lovely Christmas range from Re-Wrapped, a London company specialising in the production of ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and recycled products.
Keep used Christmas cards, cut out designs and use them as next year’s gift tags. Plump for fabric ribbon, raffia or string to tie parcels, and ask recipients to return it to you if they don’t want to recycle it themselves. Send eCards rather than real cards, make your own or buy cards that support a charity – most of these are printed on recycled paper.
Green gift ideas
Instead of a traditional gift this year, how about giving an experience? For example, sign your recipient up to membership of the National Trust or English Heritage. They can enjoy the benefits throughout the year – plus you don’t need to wrap it!
Many charities, such as the Oxfam Unwrapped range and animal charity The Brooke, offer different gift packages which you can donate in the recipient’s name. For example, you can sign up to provide a year’s worth of water for working animals, or buy a goat for a family. For stocking filler ideas, take a look at the range at One World Shop.
If you’re crafty, then homemade decorations are the way to go! Little stockings and holly leaves made from leftover scraps of felt will look great on the Christmas tree.
If you’re not crafty, don’t despair! Collect fallen pine cones, dry them out in a warm place and spray them with metallic paint. Arrange bunches of holly in vases, and use sprigs to decorate napkins for the table.
Christmas normally means rushing here, there and everywhere – combined with eating too much! If possible, walk or cycle to your rendezvous – not only is it greener, but it’ll help you combat the excesses of Christmas too. If it’s not possible to get there under your own steam, arrange to car share with friends or arrange to take the same taxi.
Here’s wishing you a green Christmas this year!