Bethia: Next week is December and the countdown to Christmas really begins. It’s a funny one this year - it will be different in many ways but the most important things about Christmas will still feature - family, faith for some, fun, food and friends.
Unfortunately, Christmas can be a time of a lot of waste. I love ‘stuff’ as much as the next person but I don’t like the piles of wrapping paper overflowing from the bin or the food waste etc. I’m not advocating that we go miserly at Christmas - there are 364 other days in the year for that. Christmas is a celebration. But there are easy wins. Here are some that I have discovered:
My sister has just made her kids hot water bottle covers from their favourite t-shirts that don’t fit anymore. We might not all be creative whizzes (I have been known to embed a sewing machine needle deep into my thumb) but you don’t know where your skills lie until you try. Look around at what is already special to people in your home and see if it can be given a second life in some way. They will love it!
This is a great way to reduce unnecessary gifts, spending, wrapping paper, the whole shabang. Everyone gets one gift that they really want rather than lots of gifts they might have wanted. In my experience, people are nearly always grateful for this suggestion in families as it takes a lot of pressure off. We all have an uncle who is impossible to buy for and this is an easy way out!
You can get lovely paper now made from recycled paper, or compostable or made using vegetable ink if you want to be traditional. You want to avoid that plastic stuff that you scrunch up and it bounces right back. But if you want to get original then buying scarves in charity shops and making up gift bags is a good idea. Make your own paper with brown paper and potato stamps or cardboard stencils.
Giving food, drink, toiletries, candles etc. - things that can be used up and enjoyed means less ‘stuff’ hanging around at the end of Christmas. There are so many Christmas flavours and tastes out there at this time of year - the options are endless.
This is a favourite of mine. The best presents I’ve had have been things I’ve done with friends or family. You can book a day trip somewhere, plan a picnic for when the weather gets better and since lockdown there are lots of museums and art galleries that you can visit virtually now. This is the ultimate low waste gift.
Be inventive with leftovers:
Everyone knows about the turkey sandwich. But what about the turkey omelette!? Or the turkey pie!? Chuck it all in and add eggs - Christmas omelette! Chuck it all in and add a pastry lid - Christmas pie! Admittedly you are sick to the back teeth of the taste of Christmas by now but you can freeze it and bring it out at Easter!
Whatever creative and imaginative changes you can make this Christmas to be more sustainable and more planet friendly are wins. Whether they are big changes or small. They all count. It’s December next week so there is still plenty of time to plan for the changes you want to bring to Christmas 2020.
Jess: We're really keen to help you make the festive season special, so we've put together a little ecoCHRISTMASbox. This can be given as a special, eco-friendly treat around your Christmas table or given as gifts to people who you'd normally share Christmas with but can't this year. A gesture of goodwill, a little fun with little waste - spoil yourselves, you deserve it after the year we've all had!
The ecoCHRISTMASbox is available now as well as the Planet Action Kit, all in time for Christmas. Perfect gifts for the people that matter in your life.
GROWnings is a weekly blog conversation by ‘Planet & People’ to reflect our values and behaviours and encourage open conversation on topical issues.
We are the creators of GROWbox, for budding planet-friendly kids. GROWbox is an educational resource and subscription box providing personalised learning resources engaging children in planet and people. The activities focus on getting in touch with nature and encouraging a desire to protect it, promoting better mental and physical wellbeing, allowing space for creativity and connectivity.