Enjoy the festive season while honouring your low-waste commitment.
This time of the year is filled with family, friends, food and good times. It is easy to get wrapped up in the cheer of it all and forget about your commitments to live a low-waste lifestyle. Here are a few tips to support the environment while still having a magical holiday.
Low Waste Gift Giving
- Gift consumables and experiences. These give a whole lot of joy and very little environmental impact. It’s a special feeling to give your freshly baked bread, a jar of home-made sauerkraut, or a plate of biscuits. Surprise someone with a voucher for a massage, gardening workshop or a special show.
- Giving home-made gifts. Wherever your skill lies, use it to create your own gifts. Baked goods, art, photography, essential oils, body care products or woodwork. Call upon your creativity and to upcycle and create a one-of-a-kind gift.
- Living Gifts. Perennials (such as Agapanthus, Dahlias or herbs) are always a good choice as your gift will return year after year. A blossoming Christmas Lily is something to look forward to each year and a fruit tree becomes a yearly harvest.
- Sustainable swaps. Gift an easy to swap, zero waste option to replace everyday items, such as beeswax wraps, mesh produce bags, stainless steel water bottle or a reusable coffee mug. Simple swaps are a supportive way to introduce new ideas to friends and family who may not be as aware.
Low Waste Gift Wrapping
- Wrapping paper alternatives. Great creative and wrap your gift in a scarf, tea towel or piece of fabric. Gift a locally made ceramic plate filled with homemade fruit mince pies or biscuits. Fill a glass jar with homemade hot chocolate mix. If you do use wrapping paper, choose non-glossy paper that is recyclable.
- Reuse reuse reuse. Put your gift in a reusable container such as a decorative tin, gift bag or cute box. Save ribbons and used wrapping paper for next year, just trim off the sticky tape. Involve your kids and have them decorate a reusable brown paper bag.
- Be Prepared. In the excitement of gift-giving, we might forget about recycling or saving materials. Be prepared with 2 bags: one to store reusable bags, boxes, ribbons and bows, and the other to collect paper that is recyclable.
Low Waste Menu and Celebrations
- Make it yourself. Foods made from scratch don’t come in plastic. Whether it’s food for a gift or your menu, make it yourself and skip the packaging. Be kind to yourself, and realistic with how much you can prepare. Making one thing is better than making nothing at all.
- Reusable containers. If your Christmas menu is extensive, be prepared to store it properly and feast all week long. Avoid plastic wrap by using your own containers. Most food keeps better and lasts longer in sealed containers. Ask family members to bring a container for left overs – no one will complain about taking a little something away with them!
- Love your leftovers. Have a plan so that nothing goes to waste. Making bone broth, ham salad or frittata is a great way to use up Christmas leftovers. Freeze anything you won’t be able to eat right away.
- Green Decorations. Make your own festive decorations with seasonal flowers, bay tree branches or pinecones. Make your own ornaments. Make a driftwood or pallet tree. If this is one step too far for you, look at resale shops for second hand decorations. And be sure to store them away for next year.
- Many hands make light work. Avoid disposable plates, cups and cutlery as they generate unnecessary waste. Get the crew to help with washing up.
Now is a great time to start new family traditions that support a low waste lifestyle. If you’re stuck on what gifts to give this year, check out this great read on homemade gift giving.