The festive season is fast approaching and whilst it can definitely be a magical time, there are many reasons why you might want to make it a little more low-key. Let’s face it, 2018 has been the year of wake up calls, especially when it comes to sustainability issues. We all know we need to be making more of an effort to preserve our planet so why not stick two fingers up to mass consumerism and aim to have a happier, more minimal and sustainable Christmas?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to get all Scrooge McDuck on you, I love Christmas and all that it involves but there are a few super easy changes that we can make so that it doesn’t cost us, or the planet, quite so much.
A real tree.
Whilst I’m a big lover of faux plants, nothing beats a real tree (IMO) and if you buy it locally from a Christmas tree farm, you’re not only supporting a local business but you’re also helping to offset carbon emissions whilst they’re growing throughout the year. If you wanted to take it a step further you could buy a live tree and keep it in a pot, once Christmas is over you can replant it in the garden or keep it in the pot and use it for years to come. This isn’t really an option for us as we can’t seem to keep plants alive for very long… You might remember THIS POST from a few months back? Yeah, all but two of them are long gone.
Top Tree Tip – A Norway spruce or Nordmann Fir will likely shed the least.
Focus less on presents and more on presence.
Picture the scene… It’s Christmas eve and rather than being in the pub with friends or cosied up at home with mince pies and Christmas films, you’re in Central London at 5pm. Panic rising as you battle the crowds and trudge through your Christmas pressie list, grabbing whatever you can get your hands on. Now, I know there will be some super organised people reading this who have already ticked present buying off the list but I also know that a large portion of us, aren’t quite so organised and it can end up being a downright stressful time.
Instead, you could organise a secret Santa with your nearest and dearest! (If you want to really ramp up the creativity, set a spending limit which makes things so much harder.) You’ll each have just one present to buy which means you’ll be able to A) put more thought into that one present and B) You’ll be finished shopping with plenty of time to spend the run-up to Christmas dong exactly what you want to do.
Instead of mentally punching slow walkers in the back of the head as you traipse miserably round Oxford St.
No? Just me? (Fa la la la la laaaa… la la la laaaa…)
You could also challenge yourself to make a few gifts this year, or support some local small businesses…
Present wrapping is one of the biggest sources of waste over the Christmas period. So, if you’re a ‘more is more’ kind of person when it comes to presents (hey, no judgements here!) then why not switch to more sustainable wrapping options? Brown paper works a treat and looks way more stylish, too! Avoid sellotape and instead, use string or ribbon to hold it all together. Then, get creative with what’s laying around and dress up your presents with cinnamon sticks, foliage, pine cones… You get the idea.
Avoid anything shiny or covered in glitter as there’s less chance of it being recycled.
Learn the magic of the word no.
Christmas is full of events and parties and work do’s and yearly catch ups… so on and so forth. If you absolutely thrive in these scenarios and you’ve been looking forward to them all year long then you go for your life and have a glass of something bubbly for me, please!
But, and it’s a big but, if you’re secretly dreading most of the engagements in your diary, stressing about how you’ll afford them and wondering if you should just max out the credit card so that you can show your old schoolmates just how ‘well’ you’re doing…
Just say no.
Trust me, you will feel much better for it. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially not if it comes at the cost of your mental health.
So, you do YOU this Christmas.
Spend your time and resources intentionally and in a way that makes you the happiest and you’ll start the new year feeling full up to the brim with energy and good vibes.
(Not knackered and resentful because you have the mother of all hangovers and have to live on baked beans and potatoes for the next two months just to pay for it all.)
Give a little.
Or a lot, whatever you can, really.
I saw something on Instagram the other day, where every day in December (up till the 24th) you add an item to a pile ready to donate to a local food bank or shelter. I absolutely love this idea and will be copying Jo Fairly and adding two things per day for 12 days so that the items will definitely be able to be used over Christmas.
I know this goes without saying but if you have nothing, Christmas can feel pretty miserable so a care package of food items and small gifts can really make all the difference. The rollout of the woefully ineffective Universal credit has screwed so many people who desperately needed the support so there isn’t a shortage of people needing a helping hand this year.
Head HERE to find details on your local food bank.
I’d love to hear about them, if so…
I’ve turned off the comments on here because of a crazy amount of spam (wahhh) so I’d love to carry on the conversation over on Instagram. Share your sustainable Christmas tips or slow magic moments with the hashtag #LessHustleMoreMagic