Don’t panic – but just if all the glittering garlands aren’t enough to have you a little shaken, the festive season is in full swing. The essence of the festive season transcends religion and cultural traditions, as the unifying and identifying heart of the season that everyone can agree on feeling is a celebration of life and the gathering of loved ones. Without being a downer, we can all admit to sometimes feeling a little less than cheery when you find yourself engulfed in the excess and social pressures of the season.
Getting back to basics with your festivities this year could just help you to enjoy a truly meaningful experience for with the whole family – and im sure you could do without the mad last minute dash (or 10) to find that elusive key ingredient in grandmas christmas cake. Here are a few ideas to get you on the road to a greener festive celebration.
Less is more, more or less
When it comes to planning your festivities and aptly decorating your home into a whimsical wonderland, it need not be a costly or wasteful exercise. If you are buying decorations, invest in durable and versatile pieces that will last for generations, instead of broken and in landfills after a few uses.
Crafting your own decorations is a fun and fruitful endeavour that is fulfilling too, if you are a creative type. It’s always great to rope the kids in on holiday crafts and they will feel a great sense of pride having their creations on display.Even last weeks newspaper can look festive with a dash of glitter – as a cautionary note, kids with glitter will no doubt leave whichever room they are in incredibly festive too.
Gift from the heart
Giving a gift that is truly meaningful need not be daunting, but can be simplified by focusing on giving those close to you things that will truly reflect your feelings for them and add value to their lives.This is the perfect time to use your buying power and spend on ethical and local businesses, or give the gift of giving by supporting a cause you all care about.You just know that Aunt will love the artisan beaded flowers you discovered on the side of the road, while stuck in traffic, trying to find another supermarket that still stocked the elusive cake ingredient.
Reflecting the meaningfulness of a relationship through your choice of gift can be brave and exciting – open your mind to more sustainable ideas like a special day out, tickets to an event or a fun class that the receiver would probably not treat themselves to, but would love to do. There is also nothing quite like a handmade, personalised gift that has been made with love.
Often an excuse for overindulgence, the festive season and the eating habits that come with it are traditionally excessive, and in turn wasteful. The rise in meat consumption alone (and the water waste that comes with it) is enough to make the eco-conscious human wary of following in line with the customs. Luckily it is fairly easy these days to eat and be merry while still being ethical and sustainable.
There is no need for a major overhaul of your traditions though – something as simple as sourcing your meat from an ethical supplier or switching up recipes to be more plant based. You can also try buying in bulk to cut on packaging waste, and get crafty with your dishes to make the most of left-overs – or spread that festive spirit even further by sharing your abundance with those less fortunate.
While most of us would initially assume that wrapping your precious parcels in paper must be environmentally responsible, the sad news is that the glossy, inked pages are far from eco-friendly and are not as recyclable as we would like to think (much like the take away coffee cup conundrum).
Choose honestly recyclable, reusable wrapping alternatives to lessen your impact on the environment and some stress of the season. There are so many more options than store bought rolls – why not upcycle some old fabric pieces or invest in some festive fabric and wrap your gifts in the cloth, along with a lovely ribbon or rope? Fabric bags, metal tins and wooden or cardboard boxes are also wonderful re-usable wrapping ideas.
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