You may have noticed this past month that I’ve been very careful to limit my festive themed posts; sticking by my belief that Christmas shouldn’t have to take over the whole of December (or in fact November or January either). And all in all it’s been my most relaxing December ever! There’s been no frantic late night shopping or messy weekend baking sessions; and I haven’t even stressed about what colors fairy lights to hand in the window. Success!
Instead, I’ve spent the past month away from my computer, away from the shops and in the company of lots of friends in the great (chilly) outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, I have invested some thought into the 25th December, but only in the way you would organise a birthday party or day out with friends; not a month long build up to a day of excess! A few nice vegan friendly treats, some mulled wine spices and a few inexpensive but thoughtful gifts are all that’s needed to make my day special.
Green Christmas Checklist
But this year is not only different in my stress free approach to the day, I’m trying to be green too! But what does a green Christmas even look like? Should we all just gift each other clementines and switch off the fairy lights for good, simply to conserve energy?
Well, I’ve created a little checklist to help me stay sustainable during one of the most frivolous times of the year, and hopefully save a few pennies along the way:
1. Challenge myself to 1 (or 2 max) thoughtful gifts per person; cutting out the stocking fillers and giving 1 special thing I know they will love (and most importantly, actually use!). Or better still gift with time – such as a lovely day out or an IOU to do the dishes – or even a donation to their favorite charity.
2. Wrap with love…and a bow. Cutting the paper big enough to be simply wrapped with a bow removes the need for sellotape, so the paper can be used again. It also creates a fabulous ‘unveiling’ when opening the bow! Using old newspaper earns brownie points 😛
3. Organise one big get together to minimise travel, and encourage people to car share to get there. Getting people together not only saves time, petrol money and my carbon footprint; it’s also a lovely way for people to make new friends during Christmas.
4. Make my own sweet treats and cut out all the plastic wrapping. Cooking up a big batch of my Spiced Chocolate and Seed Thins, or Salt Chocolate and Peanut Bites is cheap, quick and is a nice thing to do with friends and family too!
5. Not buying into the false economy of January sales; especially when I really don’t need anything. There is always a sale going on and the best thing to do on boxing day is to finish off leftovers (to reduce food waste) and go for a nice long walk. AVOID THOSE SHOPS!
7. Don’t go crazy with the fairy lights and heating, but don’t sit freezing in the dark either! Even just waiting until dark to switch the tree lights on makes a difference, and is a special thing to do every evening as a family. Check out this guide to greener lighting ideas.
It may be too late for anyone to follow suit, but I have also – for the first time in my adult life – not bought a tree or decorations. My house looks just the same as it always has (bar one mulled wine scented candle) and I have the luxury of having no rearranging to do once Christmas is over!! Don’t worry though, my mum has her tree up and I will be spending Christmas there; so my heart won’t turn black just yet!