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As we hurtle our way towards the festive season, now is the time to stop and think about what you are buying, and why you are buying it. Yes, we all want to have a great time with family and friends, but to do this there is no need to buy tinsel and tat that will take the local landfill to bursting point.
We have some top tips on how you can be kinder to the planet and look out for future generations while still raising a glass (not a plastic one) with your nearest and dearest this Christmas.
A renewable Christmas tree
You read it right. Millions of Christmas trees are bought every year and that’s a lot of waste! Other options include going for a fake tree – but if you do this, pack it up and keep it for years to come. A new trend being seen in farms, garden centres and nurseries is one where there is a Christmas-tree hire service, so you collect, use and return! Or you can do it yourself and buy a rooted tree that you then plant in the garden after Christmas and bring back out from the cold for the next few weeks.
What about cards?
An unbelievable number of Christmas cards are thrown away each year, so let’s put a stop to that. You can either use ones from years gone by, make your own (leave the glitter out of the equation) or you can send e-cards which cuts down your carbon footprint as well as saving trees and money, oh yes and the fumes of the post vans that deliver them!
Years ago, no one would have thought about doing this, but if you have goodies that are brand new that you didn’t want, dust them off and wrap them up for someone else – they will be happy and so will your eco-conscience.
Speaking of wrapping up, this is a good one to thing about as all that shiny, glittery paper isn’t up too much for anything other than ripping up come Christmas Day. If you can, save paper each year and bring it out next December, giving it a gentle iron if need be. You can also go for brown paper, draw on bows rather than using ribbon and keep things super simple but stylish and environment loving.
Give away your time
Why spend money if you don’t have to? Instead, give a gift from the heart and do something nice for someone instead of giving them another pair of socks or box of chocolates. You could create some pretty cheques and make them out for something like a walk in the park, a trip to the beach, or an hour of gardening once a week and use this as a lovely gesture of showing how much you care.
Go meat free
This idea seems alien to some, but even if on one day you look at creating vegetarian and vegan recipes, it could make a difference if everyone did the same. We aren’t talking about an omelette or nut roast, but instead look at a tasty bean casserole, spicy sweet potato wedges or bubble and squeak – it might be out of your comfort zone, but it could lead to some pretty special resolutions come 31st December. When you do eat meat, go for organic and free-range options, and if you can, support your local farms and butchers – not just at Christmas, but all year round.
Don’t over buy
You know what we are talking about here. The day before Christmas and the supermarket is carnage as people stock up as if the world is going to end, whereas you’ll find somewhere open on the big day if you run out. Just like Santa, make a list, check it twice and this year, be nice rather than naughty and keep to it! If you have leftovers, see what you can freeze, donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen and then compost any other waste.
We know the temptation is to keep a black bag open and on the go come Christmas morning, but rather than chucking everything in the bin, have fun as you open presents and cook dinner, and sort things into recycling as you go to keep things green.
You see, it’s the small things that can really have a big impact, so go forth and enjoy the festivities but keep the planet in mind whenever you can.
Team Pure Beauty