“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Since becoming a mum this statement really hits hard. I’m constantly thinking about what the future will look like for my kids, for their kids, and how our actions now impact on theirs.
Of course we want to do what we can to be more environmentally friendly, but it can be overwhelming knowing where, when and how to start.
Christmas can easily become a time of overindulgence and wastefulness, so it’s a key time to take action!
Just a few simple changes really can make a big difference to the impact you have on the environment this Christmas, so we’ve pulled together some tips and tricks to get you started.
There are so many eco-friendly options when it comes to gift giving.
Buy anexperience: Give the gift of fun and fantastic memories! Ideas include theatre/concert tickets, spa vouchers, a term of classes, cinema pass or an annual pass (See the Mumbler blog HERE).
Give a gift voucher for your time: How about a voucher for babysitting? Or to do one basket of ironing! (Yes please, if any of my family are reading!!!)
Gift something reusable: A coffee cup, drinks bottle or bag that can be used time-and-time again! Or, an eco-friendly products they may not have tried yet, such as a shampoo bar or beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm.
Buy second hand. It’s so easy to buy second hand these days, Facebook Market Place is full of toys and kids’ clothes. There’s also Gumtree and eBay, and don’t forget you can buy and sell child-related products every weekend on the Calderdale Mumbler chat group. There are so many fantastic charity shops in Calderdale too, including Little Stars in Elland, which raises money for Overgate Hospice. There is also a nearly new children’s shop at The Piece Hall: Shop 4 Little Horrors.
Make something! Examples include fudge, a cake or some cookies, grow a plant and decorate the pot, or have a go at making a bath bomb or body scrub – there are lots of DIY recipes online!
If you do have to buy something, buy local where possible. You can often pick up beautiful, handmade local gifts at a Christmas Fair.
Wrapping paper with foil, glitter or glue can’t be recycled, meaning tons of it ends up in landfill.
What about using brown paper this year instead? It’s cheaper, easily available and can be recycled. It looks beautiful tied up with string and a quick Google shows lots of creative ways to make the package look beautiful, such as using ink stamps and paint (which won’t affect the recycling process) or a spring of holly!
To tell if the wrapping paper can be recycled, scrunch it up. If it scrunches, you’re good to go – just put it in the green sack for paper and thin card, but remove sticky tape first.
An astronomical amount of Christmas cards are thrown away each year.
Some people choose to donate the money they would have spend on cards to a charity instead, and spread the Christmas cheer that way. Or you could send an e-card, with lots of free options online.
If you do want to send a few cards, try finding ones made from recycled materials that can also be recycled again.
After Christmas, they can be recycled by putting them in your green bag for the kerbside collection, or taken to Calderdale’s Recycling Banks or Household Waste Recycling Centres (not cards with foil, glitter or glue).
In Calderdale, Christmas crackers (and jokes) can be recycled, although anything with glitter, foil and ribbon should be put in the general waste.
You could try making your own with kraft paper. Search online for tutorials and fill with reusable toys or sweets/chocolates.
Material or wooden advent calendars can be used year after year, a definite money-saver in the long run, and reducing plastic too.
Ideas for a daily treat:
Handmade goodies, such as gingerbread or fudge
Jokes written on slips of paper
Art supplies such as crayons, erasers or stickers
Acts of kindness
Chocolate, but ideally buy a box of chocolates rather than individual ones wrapped in plastic
What about a reverse advent calendar? This involves putting something each day into a box e.g. food items with a long shelf life or toiletries. These can then be donated to a local charity /food bank/ person in need at Christmas time.
A lot of Christmas decorations are made from plastic – tinsel and glitter for example.
Fairy lights can be recycled in Calderdale, just put smaller lights in your recycling box and larger ones in the electrical waste skip at a Household Waste Recycling Centre.
More eco-friendly options include:
– Recycled paper chain decorations – hang them where you would have hung the tinsel and have great fun making them with the kids! – Recycled paper decorations – snowflakes are the obvious choice but with some simple folding techniques you can make beautiful creations to decorate the tree. – Edible treats – how about making gingerbread decorations? Decorations you can eat, what’s not to love?!!! – Salt dough – try your hand at some salt dough decorations, easy recipes and tips can be found online. We made some cinnamon ones once with glue and apple sauce. Seven years on and they still smell delicious! – Make or buy a natural Christmas wreath. holly and pine cones create a lovely Christmas feel.
– Thread popcorn onto coloured string or twine – Tie cinnamon sticks with twine, or make orange pomanders for a gorgeously festive scent
If you want a plastic tree but don’t have one already, try buy one second hand.
If you have your eye on a real tree this year, consider if your tree been grown sustainably. After use, ensure your tree is recycled, so they go on to be used as mulch or recycled as compost. In Calderdale, you can put your real Christmas tree in green waste skips in any of the Household Waste Recycling Centres.
In January, you can also take real Christmas trees to Ogden Water. The trees make a natural barrier around the water, just make a donation to Friends of Ogden Water.
Food Glorious Food
The food we eat has a massive environmental impact.
You could make a difference by replacing some meat with vegetarian/vegan goodies this Christmas. There’s a great choice out there and you may discover some new family favourites in the process.
Try to reduce food wastage by finding recipes to help use up any leftovers e.g. turkey curry (we love Jamie Oliver’s turkey chowder) or sandwiches the next day.
Food often comes in single use packaging, but market stalls rarely use it on their fruit and vegetables. Some supermarkets let you take your own containers to the fish/meat/deli counters and there are shops where you refill your own containers, buying just the amount you need and avoiding the plastic.
Key points for an Eco-friendly Christmas:
🌍 Reduce waste – less to landfill. 🌍 Recycle 🌍 Less plastic – avoid single use plastic wherever possible 🌍 Reusable is the future!
🎄 This list is far from exhaustive but it’s a few ideas to get you started on the road to more Eco-friendly living this Christmas time.