10 tips to care for the planet this festive season

Posted on 22 December 2021

With the festive season excitement brewing, everyone is getting into the holiday spirit. Children are prepping their Christmas lists for Santa and parents are digging up their favourite festive food recipes, creating an avalanche of Christmas activities.

It is also important to remember our duty to care for the environment during the festive season. To help you practice more sustainable habits this Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of ten easy tips and tricks!

Picture: Getaway Gallery

1. Pick a sustainable Christmas tree

While there is often debates surrounding the reusable tree versus an actual tree, a real tree tends to be regarded as the more sustainable option. When purchasing a Christmas tree, make sure that the tree is locally sourced and responsibly harvested by certified companies. Ensure that you do your homework on how to care for your tree in terms of soil, location and preservation. When the festive season comes to an end, dispose of your tree properly by donating it to a registered facility. This will ensure that your tree will be manufactured into something new and useful.

READ: How to have a more sustainable Christmas tree this year

2. Be selective with your Christmas decor

While it is tempting to purchase the shiniest and cheapest Christmas decorations in stores, try and steer clear of plastic decorations. Instead purchase decorations made from recycled wood, fabric and glass. These types of materials are better for the environment, easily disposable and have a longer usage period. Look for timeless designs and colour schemes so that you will be able to reuse and repurpose your decorations each Christmas.

3. Try DIY gifts and decorations

Christmas is all about celebrating with loved ones and showing your appreciation through sentimental gift-giving. Instead of breaking the bank on lavish gifts why not try to add a personal touch to your gifts? Another fun DIY project could be designing and assembling your own decorations for your Christmas tree and other areas of your home. It will also provide families and friends with an opportunity to spend some quality time together during the holidays.

4. Go thrifting

Thrift shopping has begun to emerge as a popular method of shopping. It can also be a great option when browsing for Christmas gifts for your loved ones because it focuses on reusing and repurposing. Go on a thrifting adventure by rummaging through collections of vintage clothing, timeless trinkets and hidden gems from the past.

5. Wrap responsibly

Everyone loves ripping through crinkled wrapping paper on a Christmas morning to uncover a mysterious concealed present. There is a way to preserve this glorious feeling while minimising waste and practising sustainability. Try purchasing eco-friendly wrapping paper and avoid paper with foil and/or glitter because these types of paper are difficult to recycle. One can also try reusing old wrapping paper, reusing gift bags, or using gift boxes to present your gifts. Another sustainable alternative is using fabric, straw baskets, wooden crates and other reusable materials.

6. Consider less meat

While gifts are often the highlight of Christmas day for some, many will argue that it is the Christmas feast that they look forward to most of all. To minimise your impact on the environment, try reducing your meat and animal product consumption. This Christmas, try a no-meat feast by assembling your favourite plant-based dishes like tasty salads, fresh-baked breads, pasta dishes or meat alternatives like lentil and chickpea burgers.

7. Venture into nature

There’s no better way to develop and encourage a love for the environment than spending time in it. This December, try and explore the outdoors with your loved ones. Try taking a Christmas morning hike, enjoying your Christmas dinner as an outdoor picnic, or visit the beach to end the day with a breathtaking sunset. Having Christmas in summer means there is no shortage of outdoor adventures to make this Christmas special and sentimental.

8. Avoid disposable cutlery and crockery

Hosting a Christmas dinner party can be overwhelming and eventful, leading to the binge purchase of paper plates and polystyrene cups. While disposable cutlery and crockery may seem like the more convenient option, they are extremely harmful to the environment if they can’t be recycled. If you are facing a shortage of supplies, borrow some or ask guests to bring along some extra plates to minimise your waste.

9. Dress to impress

While everyone wants to look their best in their Christmas outfit, many clothing manufacturers do not produce their products using environmentally friendly materials. Try purchasing your Christmas outfit from local outlets and a brand that uses sustainable materials to make its products. This will have you looking fashionable while doing your part to protect the environment.

10. Reduce, reuse, and recycle

The key principles to actively protect the environment are to reduce, reuse and recycle. Firstly, reduce the amount of waste you accumulate during the holidays by making smarter decisions and encouraging those around you to follow suit. Secondly, reuse and repurpose as much as you can in terms of gift packages and decorations. Lastly, recycle all your leftovers from the holiday season to ensure that materials are properly disposed of, or donate food and decorations to someone who needs it.

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