Christmas is a wonderful time of year where we gather with our loved ones, many times with people we may not see very often.
But Christmas has today become a time of year that also means excessive consumption of both gadgets and food.
This has a major negative impact on our planet.
Often you stand there with an abundance of leftovers from the Christmas table and Christmas presents you neither need nor perhaps even want.
So what can be done to alleviate the effects of our traditional Christmas celebration? We have collected the best tips for a sustainable Christmas, join us!
Tip #1: Reverse Advent Calendar
Are you also tired of all of December being about consumption? Then have Amanda Borneke a great suggestion: reverse advent calendar!
Instead of getting one thing per day, you put one thing in a box every day. At the end of the month, you leave the box for charity.
Tip! Talk to your local aid organization about their needs. Mostly dry goods, soap, hand sanitizer, clothing care, etc
Tip #2: Wrap sustainably
Wrap presents with recycled paper or fabrics. You can use antique shawls or nice kitchen towels to wrap your gifts. You can find tips on how to tie beautiful gifts with fabrics on YouTube, among other places.
You can also save wrapping paper from each Christmas celebration and reuse next year!
Dear Lizette has several good tips:
My best tip is to buy nice boxes/boxes/baskets etc secondhand to wrap the Christmas presents in.
You don't have to wrap everything in paper! Think an old cigar box to put the gift card in, or create a basket of edible goodies that are best without paper hiding the contents. Even fine silk ribbons and cords can be found second hand and I have seen several charity shops that even sew gift bags from recycled fabric that they sell.
I would like to give a shot at reusing gift materials as it is both environmentally friendly and fun. Wrapping with recycled wallpaper, beautiful fabric ribbons, a sprig of fir, tissue paper and dried orange wedges (to give a few examples) feels much more luxurious than ordinary gift wrap.
Tip #3: Used under the tree
Christmas presents account for a very large part of the environmental impact during the Christmas season. Think about what you're buying, and try to ensure that the recipient wants what you're buying, so it doesn't sit unused.
Buy more climate-smart gifts; if you know someone who needs a new phone, one of ours will do just as well used mobile phones which has been renovated. Both cheaper and more climate-smart.
Sophia Schyman tips:
Focus on used under the tree. If you feel that giving away used is too big a step, you can lower the threshold by wish you used. Or wish for experiences.
Then a simple way to reduce your climate impact is to buy decorations second-hand, or of course to reuse last year's decorations!
Says like this fairfashionistafilippa :
Personalized Christmas gifts are always found primarily second-hand! It can be some of your "old" stuff, second-hand or that you inherited and can now pass on. It doesn't get more personal than that!
Tip #4: Circular Christmas Gift Game
If you want to take the idea of sustainability one step further, you can play a circular Christmas gift game! It reduces both your stress and your purchases.
Says like this reasonable standard of living :
Last year we ran a Christmas gift game with the colleagues where everyone had to buy something for a predetermined amount. The game was fun, but there was a lot of knick-knacks, so we decided that next time we will run a Christmas gift game where everyone gets to wrap something from home that you already have but are tired of/don't use.
After all, it was the togetherness and the joy of the game that was the thing, not some cheap lantern from the big discount store!
Tip #5: A sustainable Christmas table
Christmas food is a real environmental culprit. We cook a lot of food, and there are usually leftovers for several days, many times it is not eaten and ends up straight in the garbage. More vegetarian, seasonal products and locally produced are good tricks you can use to reduce the environmental impact of the Christmas table.
Smaller amounts of food are also a good idea to reduce the risk of food waste, it's better to run out of food than to have leftovers, all the guests will be full anyway!
Hanna Olvenmark from The portion during the tian comes with a good tip:
My tip is to get more green on the Christmas table. Partly because our meat consumption is generally very high during Christmas, but also because it is a perfect opportunity to introduce good dishes without meat to relatives who normally might not try new green dishes. So it's a way to spread more green!
I then recommend having mine brussels sprouts salad on the table. Mmmmm it's so good!!
Also Alejandra Cerda strikes a blow for a greener Christmas table and suggests the following:
My best tip for a sustainable Christmas: Eat a vegan Christmas table! What we eat is a concrete thing where we as individuals can make a big difference to the climate.
There is a lot of good Christmas table food that is just as good in a vegan version. Stewed kale, oven-baked Brussels sprouts, salad with walnuts, pickled beets and so on!
Are you having trouble figuring out how to make the traditional Christmas table more vegan?
Linen on tjenavegan comes with two really good recipes to help you on your way:
Hope it tastes!
Tip #6: Reduce stress with a tie-dye party
For many, Christmas is synonymous with stress. Especially for whoever is hosting the Christmas celebration. It often becomes very expensive for food and other purchases, says The savers and adds:
Our tip is to hold a tie party and involve everyone else who will come to the celebration!
For those who do not know what a tie party is, it is simply an invitation where the participants are expected to bring food (and possibly drinks) to offer each other. Mostly homemade.
Tip #7: Be early and plan your Christmas gifts
Buying used Christmas presents requires a little more thought and care. It's not as easy as Googling something and clicking it home from one of all the different stores that sell the gadget.
Greta on gretas_gard comes with the following tips to make it easier to shop for more sustainable Christmas presents:
Be there in good time so that it does not become stressful with any Christmas gift shopping as there tends to be new production then.
By being out in good time, you really have time to think through the Christmas presents so that you buy or make something meaningful that is guaranteed to be used. And partly, it may take a little longer to find exactly what you are looking for if you search the used market. Used is especially good for children, for them it doesn't matter at all if they get something that is bought used!
Jennie on eco life_ says like this:
If you, like me and my family, love to exchange Christmas presents, my best tip is to start early. Preferably have a list on your phone with tips on what you want and keep an eye on second hand. With a little ice in the stomach and plenty of time, you will find most things.
Tip #8: Give away an experience
Giving away an experience is not only more sustainable, it is usually also very much appreciated!
Maggie on Maggie's pantry tips:
Instead of giving the children lots of toys for Christmas, you can give them an experience instead. For example, go to a theater performance, cinema, show or playland.
Some good examples of experiences to give e.g. your partner is to give away a spa visit, a dinner at home, or tickets to an event.
Tip #9: Festive (and durable) outfit
Do you really need a new outfit for every event around Christmas? Glöggmingel with work, Christmas Eve at mom's, Christmas Day at grandma's... This means piles of clothes that probably won't be used for the rest of the year.
Instead, buy second hand, borrow from friends/siblings or use the same outfit as last year. Hanna on hanna frank says like this:
Create Christmas traditions with a second-hand outfit and run the same every year. Feels great with a traditional outfit and second hand offers lots of stylish (and slightly crazy) Christmas outfits.
Tip #10: Remember what's important about Christmas
Unfortunately, Christmas often comes with a very high environmental impact. This is mainly due to the fact that our consumption is increasing. Instead of falling back into old ruts; try to remind yourself what the whole point of Christmas is.
Therese on money or hobby came up with a great tip that we all need to be reminded of. This is what Therese says:
Think about what is important to you. Prioritize it and skip other things that you do and buy just because "you have to", "everyone else does it" or because it is tradition.
Also The minimalists tips:
Prioritize. Choose a few things that mean a lot to you around Christmas and dare to prioritize other things. There can of course be different priorities from year to year, depending on life phase, the age of the children and one's own energy level.
Christmas is not about having to do anything or about appearing a certain way on the outside. It's about you and your relationship with your loved ones.
It's easy to lose that perspective when we're peppered with shopping frenzy and all the perfectly decorated Christmas trees in the social media feed.
If you read all the way down here, we want to thank you for your commitment to the environmental issue! Together we can make a difference.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas celebration. Merry Christmas!