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How to have a less impactful Christmas

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Author: Louise Williams, Posted: Monday, 25th November 2019, 09:00

Christmas is a time for celebrating and joy, but it can also be a time when our usual planet-friendly tendencies go out of the window in the name of tradition. Here are some tips for you to limit your impact on the planet this festive season.

Have a pre-Christmas clear out

Not only will this leave you space for all the new things coming in (parents particularly will know what I mean!), but your unwanted items might make the perfect Christmas gift for someone else. Also, charity shops are often overwhelmed after Christmas and temporarily stop taking donations, so items can end up going to landfill to create space.

Forgo the printed wrapping paper

When I was a child my lovely Mum wrapped everything in brown paper and then decorated it with stamps or sprigs of holly she’d painted gold. At the time I was horrified and longed for the patterned shiny paper I saw in the shops, but now I absolutely get it. You can’t recycle most wrapping papers and actually, her patterned brown paper looks so effective. Just don’t tell her I said that after all my years of moaning!

Make your own crackers

This is another activity we used to do when I was young that I didn’t understand! We used to make our own decorated crackers filled with chocolates or little treats (not plastic) and make the bang noises ourselves.

For the hats, we would have a competition after presents were opened to make them from the discarded wrapping, with a prize for the most creative. We’d wear them for lunch, always a source of great hilarity when someone (usually my Dad!) made a great big bonnet that dangled in his food!

Use those trimmings

Start a compost bin if you don’t already have one and put all the Christmas veg peelings in to create fertiliser for your plants.

Source your meat

As a vegetarian, I am passionate about my husband and children choosing good meat (as they aren’t looking likely to join me anytime soon!) and ensuring that they have less, but better quality from animals that have at least had a good life.

Buy experiences instead of ‘things’

Sometimes I feel suffocated by the amount of ‘stuff’ we have accumulated. Instead of buying yet more things that my children don’t need, we try and get a few nice but useful items to open – luckily, Santa always brings socks! Then we get something that will give us year round use, like a farm park ticket or just some family time with a weekend away somewhere.

Use public transport

We all know parking is a nightmare in towns at Christmas so it’s actually less stressful to ditch the car and, if possible, use public transport to do your Christmas shopping.

Thank you for reading my column this year. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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