Christmas is a time of fun and family, but it also generates a lot of waste! As part of their environmental campaign, children at St. Peter’s School have been thinking about how they can have a more eco-friendly Christmas, and we thought it would be good to share some of the ideas here. Thanks to Jemima Moore from the school for putting them together.
Most wrapping paper can’t be recycled. Instead try some of the ideas below, or for more click here.
- Brown paper or even newspaper This could be decorated or left plain and tied with string. Brown paper can be recycled.
- Gift bags which can be reused.
- Fabric wraps which can be reused again. In Japan fabric wrapping is so prevalent that it has become an artform called Furoshiki. Look out for scarves in charity shops. See Wrag a Wrap or Furoshiki Fabric Wrapping for more information.
- Swap Plastic ribbon for string or raffia and plastic bows for pine cones.
- Use old Christmas cards to make tags.
Christmas Cards & Crackers
Most Christmas Cards & Crackers can't be recycled.
Many online shops, such as Etsy, sell reusable Christmas crackers or you could even have a go at making your own. Personalised crackers are lots of fun and you can make them special by adding meaningful messages or funny forfeits. You could even make personalised paper hats!
Look out for Christmas cards without the glitter or shiny card, or make your own. Even better - make them with reused card or paper.
Gift giving has become a large, and sometimes stressful, part of most people’s Christmas. We give stuff as a token of our affections, in the hope of bringing happiness and sometimes just out of duty. Our planet cannot sustain our current Christmas consumerism though, especially when a huge percentage of things we buy just end up in landfill. Research has shown that just 1% of the items we buy remain in use after six months.
Some ideas to help you rethink gift giving...
- Swap Christmas Presents for Christmas Presence. Instead of swapping gifts, agree with your friends and family to spend your time and money on enjoying festive activities together.
- Secret Santa. Decrease spending, stress and waste by having family members draw names and sticking to a ‘one gift’ rule. This allows each person to get one especially thoughtful and unique gift from someone who had the time to dedicate their effort.
- Less is more. We set the expectations of Christmas giving for our children. Instead of quantity, make sure that gifts that are given are cared for and appreciated.
- Give second hand items. You can often give something much better quality for the same money and you get to do some great reusing too.
- Give to good causes instead. There's a guide to some of the different options here.