The season of caring and giving has just started but sadly over the last decades it has turned into a season of consumption, stress and false values. Often unknowingly or unwanted Christmas stands for buying items we only use for a short amount of time only to throw it away right after the season has ended. Therefore, we felt the urge of writing down some valuable tips to turn the season back to its original purpose! Make sure to not just care for your family but for the planet too during the most wonderful time of the year.
Written by Anskar & Lea
This blog article includes links towards other websites which may be seen as advertisement!
1. Buy local – buy green (literally)
While in former times Christmas trees were most often a byproduct of the forestry they are nowadays planted in large monocultures (either in your native country or somewhere in Scandinavia). These unvaried landscapes are not just bad for biodiversity but they also need a lot of chemicals and pesticides. Often the trees are already chopped down around October and are stored in huge cooling houses. The transportation routes extend over miles and miles even when an inland-tree is chosen. This all releases greenhouse gases and is overall harmful for our environment. And to go through all this just to stand in the corner for some weeks and to get thrown away right after doesn’t sound so (ever)green anymore, right?
Instead of choosing a Christmas tree grown in a monoculture, you could simply ask your local hunter/forester if there are any alternatives around. Often you can find certified local seller in your area! An even better option are organisations like Greentree who replant their sold Christmas trees after the season has ended.
Of course choosing not to have a Christmas tree at all (or an artificial one that you can reuse) is a green(er) option too!
2. Do you still use wrapping paper?
Wrapping paper with its various patterns is another byproduct of Christmas which often disappears into the trash after the feast is over. But there are tons of alternatives fulfilling the same function. Nowadays you will always find recycled wrapping paper in the store of your choice. But we always use newspaper as it is an already used product which will wander into the bin anyways. And it has the same effect: the presentee still has the excitement of unwrapping a lovely gift!
There are no limits to your creativity when it comes to wrapping your Christmas presents. You can use anything that can be reused or recycled in a certain way or you can wrap the actual present into another present (like a recipe book into a chef’s apron or some sweets into a beanie).
3. Nature provides
Christmas is the season of decoration. In front of the house, on the Christmas tree, around the table. Literally everywhere in and around the house you will find opportunities to decorate according to the season, and yet most of it consists of plastic or other non-ecofriendly materials. The best alternative is given by nature itself! Just grab your kids, partner or friends and go on a little winter walk through the closest forest and you will find all sorts of decorating materials such as twigs, pine cones and chestnuts.
Best is if you use the materials that are already on the ground instead of pulling them off the trees itself!
For paper stars which can be attached to the Christmas tree and other decoration you can use newspaper as well, perfect opportunity for a tinker hour with the kids!
4. Don’t stress yourself!
Christmas should be the season of joy, calmness, caring and family. It should not be the season of running through the shopping mile and buy the craziest, most original or expensive presents. Christmas is what you make it! Just don’t make it a season of stress and overconsumption.
Take a step back, relax and be creative. Give your presents a meaning.
When I was younger, I always crafted something for my family, this hasn’t really changed nowadays only that today we create calendars with our photos for our families. This is something useful they actually need and it has a personal value.
Also, it is totally okay to buy used instead of brand-new products. Too often people tend to think that a used product has less value or that the opposite will think that they are miserly. But some objects (books are a good example) are really fine to buy from someone who has already used them.
I hope these tips will help you to fully enjoy the winter season with whomever you chose to spend it! Make the best out of it, relax and enjoy the season with your beloved ones. Happy holidays and merry Christmas!