How to have a sustainable Christmas? Lullaloop's guide is below.
I certainly won't be perfect this Christmas in terms of sustainability but these are the steps I will follow, as best as I can, to try and make a positive change.
1. Eat with the seasons during your festive meals
Choosing seasonal food for your Christmas sides, and organic, if you can afford it, as well as local meat from the local butcher (or local supermarket) means using fewer pesticides and also less travel for the food, as well as supporting our local farmers.
By eating seasonal, locally produced food, you can reduce your carbon emissions by almost a tonne a year - equivalent to a return flight from London to Boston (Do Nation)
Here is a quick reminder of seasonal veg for this winter:
Some of my favourite recipes using these vegetables are:
As an added bonus try to balance meat consumption with veg, I think meat will always be part of our Christmas Day meal but we also make a nut roast (for the climate veggies) so we eat less meat, with nut roast on the side (which I like just as much)!
2. Limit your waste with food
Food waste is a big problem and it is even more pertinent at Christmas. Around the world, households discard 74kg of food a person, according to data from the UN, and food waste and loss causes about 10% of the emissions driving the climate emergency.
If you aren't already composting, now is the time to start! Put it on the Christmas list and add it to the garden, not only will you be amazed at how it reduces waste, it makes the best compost for the garden!
Recipes for leftovers are also a great way of reducing food waste. Below are my two favourites for leftover turkey and vegetables for Boxing Day.
Bubble and Squeak - a recipe here but put in any veggies you have leftover!
Share any leftovers on Olio, an app that pairs you with neighbours who might need them – and supplies recipes to make the best use of leftovers.
Give any leftover food to Food Banks.
3. Recyclable and Biodegradable Wrapping Paper.
On average, Brits use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. In fact, Defra estimates that enough wrapping paper is used each year to gift wrap the island of Guernsey.
Lots of wrapping paper has plastic in it (especially if it has glitter on etc) which can not be recycled. Make sure your wrapping paper is at least recyclable, and try and say goodbye to those plastic ribbons and bows. Also do remember your tape isn't recyclable so either buy some recyclable tape or remove the tape before popping your wrapping paper in the recycling.
Another great way to save is using last year's Christmas cards (or this year's) as Christmas tags! Get those scissors out...
Alternatively, you can use brown paper and twine with a few twigs of some plants you can forage, which look beautiful and can be composted.
Some sustainable wrapping papers and tapes I love, sustainable and compostable:
4. Gifts, quality over quantity. Second Hand, if you can.
Quality, local and sustainably made, if you can afford it.
Lists are actually a great way at being sustainable, getting lists from people means that there is less likely to be wasted with unwanted presents.
Second-hand presents, kids' toys and often clothes are cheaper and more sustainable second-hand and often are great quality. As we know, kids grow out of their clothes and toys quickly and probably won't even notice if something is lightly worn.
Quality, over quantity. I remember as a child fighting with my brothers over who has the most presents, it's really hard not to get sucked into it and give your children and the people you love, as much as you can afford. Try to stick to quality, not quantity, with gifts that will last or can be passed on.
Re-gifting!! A bit of a taboo but I have started doing it with friends' children and my Godchildren. I go through the toys we aren't using and re-gift them. Speak to your friends and see if there is anything you have that they might like for a stocking!
5. Eco-friendly crackers
Most cannot be recycled and the plastic toys normally end up in the bin. Keep an eye out for recyclable and plastic-free crackers, you can also find reusable crackers.
6. Don't buy a new Christmas Day outfit
Britons are poised to spend £2.4bn on new outfits for the Christmas party season this year – yet many items may be worn fewer than three times – a survey shows (Guardian).
With Christmas outfits barely worn, it is much more affrodable, and sustainable, to shop second-hand, swap or even rent outfits rather than buying brand new.
Orrrr, dig deep in that closest. I am sure you have something, that you could re-ware, make a different outfit, which is just as good!
If we all wore a pre-loved outfit on Christmas Day this year instead of buying a new one, the CO2 emissions saved would be equivalent to taking 56 million cars off the road for a day!
Have a lovely Christmas. I know, especially as parents, we have a million things to do in the lead-up to Christmas and worrying about being sustainable can add to the stress. Do what you can and be kind to yourself.