Going green at Christmas doesn’t mean you have to be like the Grinch. Not at all, in fact, by making a few eco-friendly tweaks to your festive celebrations you’ll not only have twice the fun, you’ll enjoy more money in your pocket too.
So, to get you dreaming of a green Christmas and to help you save money and waste, I’m going to spell out how this Christmas doesn’t have to the cost earth this year.
C – Clothes – recycle for charity or for fun
Did you know that over 80,000 tonnes of clothes will be thrown away this Christmas as many of us get a new wardrobe for 2016? One simple way to divert these clothes from landfill is to donate them to your local charity shop, or if you fancy a post Christmas get together, why not combine recycling your clothes with a bit of a party by hosting your own swishing event.
Swishing, swapping clothes with friends or acquaintances, is a great way to clear out your old wardrobe safe in the knowledge that your preloved clothes will be treasured again whilst getting something ‘new’ for yourself into the bargain.
To find out more, head over to www.swishing.com
H – Homemade crackers
We all love pulling a cracker at the Christmas(!), but instead of buying expensive crackers filled with gifts that nobody really wants, why not have a go at making your own.
Using a simple template, you can easily create your own unique crackers and fill them with gifts your guests will really love.
To make them even more eco-friendly, why not use recycled paper or felt. Felt crackers are a great alternative as they can be used year on year.
To find out how to make your own crackers, check out this step-by-step tutorial from minieco.
R – Recycle used wrapping paper
Can you believe an estimated 82 sq km of wrapping paper will end up in the UK’s bins this Christmas?!
To do your bit to end this pointless waste, why not ditch the cheap wrap and opt for reusable wrappers, like these from ecoChici instead.
100% ethically made, these funky cloths stylishly wrap your Christmas gifts and can be used year after year. With ecoChici’s Heirloom wrap, which is designed so messages can be written on, it becomes a ‘living’ record and memory of all the gifts passed from friends and family throughout the years, making gift-giving even more special.
I – Inviting friends and family over for Christmas
One way to keep the costs and waste down this Christmas is to share the fare. Eating with friends and family is such a simple and fun way to spread the cost and preparation of Christmas dinner or a New Year’s party. A great idea to add a little competition to the proceedings, why not host a ‘Come Dine With Me’ style party and suggest that your guests bring along their favourite dish of homemade food. It’ll help you keep control of your grocery bill, plus everyone will get to show off and enjoy sampling each other’s cooking.
S – Sell it on
It nearly always happens at Christmas, someone who you don’t see that often gives you a well-intentioned present that you’ve either already got or you just don’t really like.
But don’t worry, rather than stashing it away where it will never see the light of day again, why not sell it onto someone who does really want it. Using online auction sites or recycling sites you can sell everything from clothes, electronics, DVDS and even hair straighteners. Plus with some companies, you don’t even have to pay for post and packaging costs. In doing so, the present will be enjoyed by someone who wants it, it’ll not end up in landfill, plus you’ve got a little money in your pocket which you can buy something else to replace it.
T -Turning down the thermostat
Nobody wants to be likened to Scrooge, especially at Christmas, but with even more energy price hikes being announced, keeping control over your energy use is as important as ever.
So this Christmas, with all that Christmas cooking or if you’re having company over, you should be able to get away with lowering your thermostat a little, whilst still remaining comfortable. With heat from the kitchen and all of that body warmth, turning your thermostat down by just one degree will easily be compensated by the extra warmth, plus you’ll save around £35 on your fuel bill.
Oh and of course turning the thermostat down is a good excuse to snuggle up in your onesie or wear your Christmas jumper!
M – Menu plan
Applicable all year round but especially at Christmas, the simplest way to keep your grocery bills down and avoid unnecessary waste is to only buy and prepare the food you need.
As tempting as it always is, rather than rushing out to buy Christmas goodies by the trolley-load, instead plan exactly who will be eating with you and find out in advance what suits your guests tastes, that way you won’t waste money and time cooking food that may end up in the bin.
Also, be careful not to over-estimate how much food you’ll need ‘just in case’, keep in mind this is just one meal – you aren’t feeding people who haven’t eaten for months.
If you do have leftovers, check out Lovefoodhatewaste they’ve got plenty of delicious leftover recipes, including a selection of recipes taking you from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve. Don’t forget to label though, my very own Count On It labels will ensure you’ll remember exactly how long ago you first opened or stored your leftovers.
Remember, by only buying what food you need at Christmas, you’ll save money, avoid food waste AND you won’t put any extra weight on either.
A – Always homemade, always unique
To show someone you really care, why not give them a homemade or handmade present this Christmas. From homemade body scrubs, handmade jewellery and handknitted scarves there are so many gifts that can be made quite simply, don’t cost the earth and look a million dollars.
One to get you started is a homemade body scrub. This is the recipe I use to make my own Brown Sugar Scrub, it’s super easy to make, smells divine and when presented in a cute glass jar, looks worthy of a hefty price tag.
How to make brown sugar scrub
1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of runny honey
Mix together well
Scoop into a clean, dry glass jar
Seal, decorate and then gift!
S – Save your Christmas cards
According to Recycle Now approximately 1 billion Christmas cards – that’s 17 for every man, woman and child in the country will end up in landfill this year!
That’s truly staggering!
So, to make sure you do your bit and save your Christmas card well wishes from rotting in landfill, recycle them.
Many schools across the country offer recycling schemes, as do high-street retailers and supermarkets, so be sure to keep your eye out for their collection bins when you’re out shopping. If you want to recycle them a little closer to home, you can always recycle old cards at your local recycling centre.
If the cards are too pretty to recycle why not reuse them for next year? Either cut them up into the old favourite gift tags or for something a little more creative, why not transform them into Christmas tree baubles, like these from Allaboutyou.com.