The Christmas holidays are just around the corner, and here at St Peter’s every student and member of staff has got involved with the festivities in one form or another. As households up and down the country prepare for the joyous occasion and celebrate with friends and family, it’s important to remember the ever-increasing impact this has on our planet. Consumerism at Christmas has tenfold the impact on the environment than at any other time of year, but there are certain ways you can reduce your family’s footprint for an eco-friendlier Christmas. We’ve put together just six ways you can do your bit for the planet this December.
Responsible Tree Selection
Artificial trees that are used year after year are a fantastic option for those conscious of the planet, alongside those wary of the eye-watering price of real trees. Those who prefer to invest in a real tree can ensure it has been grown sustainably by lookingout for the FSC-certification or one that has been approved by the Soil Association for a guilt-free Christmas. Buy a potted variation and replant in the garden in preparation for a bigger and better tree that doesn’t cost a penny next year. If that isn’t an option due to space restrictions, many councils offer a tree recycling service, so familiarise yourself with the process and ensure it makes it onto your January ‘to-do’ list.
Families with children should encourage them to make their own Christmas gifts for family members and friends. Not only will this encourage their creativity, save money and reduce the crippling consumerist demand, but the recipient is likely t oappreciate the unique, thoughtful nature of the gift much more than anything you could find on the high street. Homemade baked treats will always be well-received as most diets are put on hold over the festive period or, failing that, there are an array of ‘green’ gifts that anyone who is environmentally-conscious is sure to appreciate. Check out the popular bee saver kits or look into the various animals-in-need adoption packages. Younger children of our independent pre school in Devon might have made crafts at school that are suitable to gift to other members of your family.
For many, Christmas is more about the fine food and drink than anything else, although of course catching up with distant relatives and old family friends is always a close second. Consider how you will source the inevitable feasts and treats coming your way, opting for independent food retailers, organic and free-range variations and locally-sourced produce wherever possible. You may find yourself over-catering but refrain from binning any leftovers that can be transformed into a delicious dish. Turkey pie and bubble and squeak are a fantastic option for extending the life of your festive foods and who knew Brussel sprouts tasted so good in a curry?
Wrapping paper may look nice under the tree, but the detrimental effect the demand for so much paper has on our eco-system doesn’t bear thinking about. If you have any old newspapers and magazines lying about, then they serve the same purpose and add a retro twist to the pile under your tree. Alternatively, a recent trend that has taken the internet by storm is using scarfs to wrap up gifts for your nearest and dearest. We are all guilty of having a few extra scarfs lying around and once you’ve mastered the various ways of folding the finished product looks fantastic!
Christmas cards area burden we all put off for as long as possible, so why not just put it off for the foreseeable? Instead, opt for an E-card, where creative images, graphics and even personalised videos featuring your family can be sent straight to the inbox of your family and friends. Not only will this lighten the financial strain of Christmas by saving you a fortune in stamps and even more in time, but it will also contribute to lessening the 1.5 billion Christmas cards that, according to researchers at Imperial College, are thrown away every year.
While the Christmas specials of your favourite programme can’t be missed that’s no excuse for curling up in front of the telly for hours upon end over the holidays. The average person will spend 30 hours in front of the box over the Christmas holidays, but why not make the most of the precious time you have together with wintry walks, board games and other all-inclusive activities. With most work now involving a screen of some form or another, your eyes will appreciate a break.
That concludes our list of Christmas considerations to bear in mind over the festive season. We hope it has inspired you to make some greener decisions this December and think about how your individual choices can affect the planet. Do you have any other eco-friendly tips to share with other parents this Christmas? Let us know via the comments on our social media!