Christmas is nearly upon us and, let’s face it, it’s the least minimal time of year. And more ‘stuff’ unfortunately equals more waste.
The question is, how can we tread lightly this festive season, when the world seems to want us to forget all our cares and indulge to the maximum? The key is to bring intention and consciousness into our holiday just as we would at any other time – it’s possible. And, of course, to not lose sight of what is really important.
Here are our suggestions…
Rethink Your Christmas Tree
Tradition has this interesting way of clouding our better judgement. If something has been done for many, many years over and over by a large group of people, a kind of fog is created around such a practice where we cease to question whether it still makes sense to continue with it. Unfortunately, the Christmas Tree industry produces a lot of waste each year, which is harmful to our precious mother earth. But there are sustainable options!
One of them is to rent or buy a live, potted tree. Those you buy without their roots in fact are wasteful because they cannot be replanted. If you buy a potted one, you can replant it in your garden for the following year. Or why not just use a Rosemary tree? They survive for years and require little care – they are also (obviously) very fragrant and the perfect shape for hanging decorations on. And don’t forget to take excellent care of your tree, it’s a living being that will flourish if you love it like it ought to be.
Refrain from buying a plastic tree. Most fake Christmas trees are made of non-recyclable, non-degradable plastics and even if you reuse it, it will eventually end up in a landfill.
Alternatively, if you feel like getting crafty, there’s a lot of inspiration online on how to create your own unique Christmas tree, using upcycled materials! Here are some cool ideas.
No Waste Gifts for Kids
Children are usually the members of society who attract the most waste during the silly season, because of how much the focus is on showering them with things. Indeed, this time of year can be magical for children, but why is there so much emphasis on the accumulation of stuff to make this day special?
This article from 1millionwomen.com says it best;
“Kids are going to play a huge role in our planet’s ability to cope with climate change in the future. If we can instill in them the importance of a smaller ecological footprint and if we can show them that sustainability is not about self-deprivation or self-sacrifice but of love and sharing and caring and all that is good, then we can create a brighter, more “Planet Strong” society.”
You don’t have to buy them toys. Why not gift them with an experience, like a trip to the aquarium or cinema, or lessons in some craft or instrument? Experiences as gifts are meaningful, because you may also spend some quality time with him or her (a priceless present), and/or they will have gained something of value that will become part of the fabric of who they are.
Make Your Own Presents
Homemade presents are so special because of the thought, love and energy that goes into making them. It’s easy to buy things, but to craft something with your own hands, with special intention and someone meaningful to you in mind is truly priceless. There are endless sources of inspiration on the internet, and it’s all dependent on your own skills and passions as to what you end up making, but no matter what it is, the lucky person on the receiving end will be touched, not to mention that it will bring you joy and fulfilment in the process of creating it. Try to upcycle materials you already have lying around! Or make fun Christmas-themed food, as that will surely never go to waste. And if you do have some left over, there’s no shortage of hungry people out there. Here are 145 ideas, just for a start…
Buy Local & Support Brands with Good Values
Support local businesses, not only to help boost your community’s economy but also to reduce your ecological footprint.
Also, and we feel by now this goes without saying, educate yourself on the ethos behind the brands you support. This includes their stance on waste and how their products are packaged. Why not get a gift that is reusable and made of fabric that can eventually be upcycled, like these original EarthTribe aprons or drawstring backpacks with a funky African flair?
Here are some awesome minimal waste gift sets you can buy, where you can be sure your money is going towards helping empower African communities and that everything is organic, sustainable and fairly traded.Go Back