Eco Tips – Christmas

24th November 2022

  • More is not always good – enough is better!
  • The financial value of a gift is not the same as the value of the gift, nor does not equate to the  amount of love you have for the recipient.
  • You might agree with friends and family to source all your presents from charity shops – the charities gain, and if anyone receives something they can’t use, it is easy to pass it on again via another charity shop!
  • You might opt to give charity gifts such as sponsoring a puffin, planting a tree, twinning a toilet or equipping a child with warm winter clothes. 
  • Reuse last year’s wrapping paper ( or make a note to keep this year’s for reuse).
  • Reuse brown paper (often comes as a space filler in delivery boxes) which you could decorate with potato prints. Equally newspaper with coloured string is effective (choose sheets with a nice picture). 
  • Use eco friendly/ non plastic sticky tape or  use string as  that can be reused.
  • Make gift tags from last year’s recycled cards or simply buy some coloured card and cut it into squares or rectangles.
  • If you make your own Christmas cards why not make them as postcards avoiding the need for envelopes. Email news letters rather than printing out round robins. Add a picture and make your email into an e-Christmas card.
  • Make your own decorations. Cut up coloured paper (pages from colour magazine, strips of reused  wrapping paper etc) to make paper chains or pleated chains. 
  • If you collected autumn leaves earlier in the season, strings these together to make a decorative chain. 
  • Tie together pine cones, decorative twigs and to make vertical hanging decorations.
  • Make pleated paper angels, origami stars, reindeer,  or Father Christmases. For a series of activities making Christmas theme decorations you can watch this YouTube Advent calendar –
  • Use champagne corks and felt to make Christmas elves –
  • Rather than buying a tree collect some decorative branches and arrange them in a large vase (add stones to ensure it is bottom heavy) and then add your tree decorations. 
  • Make a wreath from greenery from your garden or tie into a bunch with  a cheerful ribbon (door decorations don’t have to be circular).
  • We tend to generate most food waste over the Christmas season. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. If you do add in extra potatoes etc – just in case – make sure you use them before buying more. (We dread not having enough but perhaps forget that by Boxing Day plus 1 many shops will be reopening).
  • If you like a tradition roast bird, try and source one that has been compassionately reared, ideally organic. Maybe this could be the year to investigate a vegan alternative complete with all the trimmings of roast potatoes and parsnips, sprouts, cranberry sauce and stuffing. Cook enough to have left overs to enjoy on Boxing Day.
  • If you haven’t yet made mincemeat there is still time and it is very easy. Making your own mince pies will avoid a lot of waste and/ foil and plastic.
  • Christmas puddings are also easy to make. If the 7 hours of steaming puts you off, you can steam then in a slow cooker half filled with hot water. 
  • Plan for a walk on Christmas Day in  a local green space – the exercise and fresh air is a good tonic and it is a chance to reconnect with the natural world. 

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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