writer: Laura Sulankivi
Picture: Ona Rihu
5 TIPS FOR MORE SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY AND STRESSLESS CHRISTMAS
The lights are twinkling all around and we keep our fingers crossed wishing for the snow making its white magic on time. I’m adding cinnamon basically to every food I’m eating in these days. It’s almost here again. The most wonderful time of the year. Christmas.
On the other side, it’s also known as the most consumeristic, unsustainable and wasteful time of the year. Personally, I used to love Christmas. I think back to the Christmas time in my childhood and feel warm and a bit giddy and sentimental too remembering my favorite ornament which I used to hang on our cozy spruce in the living room. I still do love the idea of being with family, having holidays and eating a lot of good food, but all the hustle and the dark side of the celebration causes me stress sometimes. And I have a suspicion that I’m not alone with this.
What could we do to make Christmas more sustainable, conscious, and enjoyable and minimize the environmental effects from the such a short period of time? Nobody is perfect, so don't stress too much. It's all about good intentions and being aware of how our acts and consuming are affecting our Mother Earth. These are my 5 tips for your Holiday season!
When we start to think about Christmas, it usually means that we start to think about the gifts. We start to ask our friends or family members what they would want for Christmas. They’ll say nothing. We’ll buy something anyways. Why do we give stuff just to give? In my opinion, the presents side of things should take over the place and just causes too much stress for most of the people. I mean, what we really want and need these days, is just some time together. Instead of buying stuff, you can always give non-material gifts. You can give experiences like festival or movie tickets. You can host a dinner for everyone, you can go for a trip. It can be just anything you like to do together.
In case you still want to give something, there is always a better way to do that! Organizing a Secret Santa is budget friendly and reduces the consumption since every person is buying only one present.
Another idea is to give something home-made, something made with love. This is something I personally like to do. Make your own peanut butter, or fill a recycled glass jar with home-made crunchy granola made from organic, fair-trade ingredients, and you. just. can’t. go. wrong.
Christmas is also a great place for spreading a certain message, as you may have known from our previous article presenting our wish list of conscious gift ideas. Give someone your favorite ethical makeup, vegan chocolate or piece of sustainable clothing. At the same time, you are not only putting your own money for something you believe in but also introducing new products to your friends and family. Who knows, and maybe next time in the store they’ll remember that brand or product.
Every year tons of wrapping paper is going to the trash after opening the Christmas presents, which is equivalent to cutting down tens of thousands of trees only for that one specific day. This time, look out for recycled wrapping paper or go through all the old magazines or newspapers to find colorful pages. Free your imagination for more personal looking gifts!
3.BURN PLANT-BASED WAX CANDLES.
The traditional, cheapest candles made from paraffin are not the best choice your own health or for the environment. Candles made from natural plant-based wax again, are more eco-friendly because they are smoke-free and biodegradable, made from renewable natural resource and a definitely better choice for especially people having issues such sensitivities, allergies or asthma.
Here is the link to our earlier article offering better alternatives, if you haven’t read it yet.
4.CHOOSE PLANT-BASED AND CREATE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS.
Hopefully, you have found your way into a plant-based diet already, but if not, there is a lot of yummy vegan alternatives and possibilities to cook a greener Christmas dinner! You can also always give up the traditions that don't feel homely and create your owns. Fill the table with your favorite foods, whatever you like, christmassy or not. Because at the end of the day, Christmas time is for enjoying, and it really doesn’t matter what the people next door are having on their plates.
5.REDUCE FOOD WASTE.
I feel it a bit challenging sometimes to suddenly cook a dinner for an entire family when usually it's just two of us around the table. Go through your recipes and make some calculations and plan the dinner table together before, and share the responsibilities to make it more enjoyable and relaxed for all. This is a simple way to shop smarter, keep the amounts realistic, and reduce food waste and save money of course!