Zero waste Christmas tips

Our second guest blog, written by Clare Jack, who also contributes to the newsletter and has been known to do a bit of crate varnishing, has kindly written all about how to reduce our waste at Christmas and we are super excited to learn from her.

So let's read on to learn about Clare's top tips!

I love Christmas.  The festivities, the excitement, Christmas songs on the radio from November, people being cheery for no other reason, I love it all.  However, we all know that Christmas can be a particularly frivolous time of year.

I’ll admit, I’ve succumbed in the past to ridiculous Christmas pressures: buying a gift for almost everyone I’ve ever known; deliberately buying small, cheap items which I know won’t last as stocking fillers; and obviously, buying far too much for the kids...

We all want to have fun, but I’m planning to make a few changes this year to reign in the excess, and enjoy all that is best about Christmas – spending time with family and friends.

So if you fancy joining me, I’ve listed a few tips and suggestions below to help you on your way to a less wasteful Christmas.

1. Enact a Secret Santa with a group of family or friends you usually buy for.  This way you will only buy a single present, spend less money overall, and the present you do buy can be of greater quality (as you can spend proportionately more money on the single item).

2. For present ideas, consider vouchers for an activity, buying second hand, buying from local markets or fairs to reduce packaging waste and maybe some zero waste essentials to start others on their own journey.  The Eco Larder is launching a first edition gift voucher; why not treat your loved ones to the gift of zero waste living?

3. Instead of the usual wrapping paper, try to re-use existing paper or packaging wherever you can.  A few people recycle the paper from their ‘Who Gives a Crap’ toilet paper! If you are crafty, you could make fabric drawstring bags to re-use each year (these are also available on Etsy if you are not so crafty ☺).  Whatever you decide, make sure to avoid foil or glitter wrapping paper as it cannot be recycled.  

4. Need a new outfit for the party season?  Why not try eBay? You could get a new, or nearly new, outfit for a fraction of the price and support the second-hand market while you are at it!  You could sell it once you’re done if you wish. While you are at it, why not declutter your wardrobe and make a few extra quid ahead of Christmas?    

5. There are several options for an advent calendar where you can re-fill the calendar each year with your own items.  I have a fabric one with pockets. The problem is finding items that are zero-waste and small enough to fill it. I think little notes with cute suggestions to ‘sing a Christmas carol’, ‘decorate the Christmas tree’ or ‘lay out the plate for Santa’ etc are lovely.  You could also get a little nativity scene to construct each day and reuse each year. This year, however, my mum dug out an enormous amount of my old books from the attic so my kids will be getting a daily book advent calendar (with reusable fabric wrapping obviously ☺).

6. For years I’ve been cutting up old Christmas cards to make new gift tags.  We have so many now that I’m not sure we will ever use them all! This year I’m planning to let my daughter pick out some nice ones to give to her friends at nursery instead of Christmas cards.  If you plan to send proper Christmas cards, The Eco Larder are going to be hosting some free Christmas card and cracker making workshops, perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit! They will also have some plastic-free cards on sale if you are short of time or creative energy ☺.

7. When it comes to food preparation, bear in mind that the more people you are catering for, the less food you will need per person.  Apparently, this is a common catering tip as the more people there are, the less they will eat (they are busy chatting and eating more slowly).  It might be a good idea to run down your freezer before the big day so you can make full use of all the leftovers. However, do check out what might be happening in your local area, particularly for the elderly.  Sometimes Christmas meals are held in local community halls and I’m sure they would love donations of any extra food on the day.

8. Finally, tell your friends and family what you are planning.  You might encourage them to make their own efforts. Even if they don’t agree with what you are doing, hopefully, they will respect your choice and choose gifts accordingly.

I hope there are at least a couple of suggestions above that will be useful for you.  I for one am excited to get started! And of course, I’ll be seeking out some lovely little zero waste stocking fillers for my kids at the Eco Larder (bamboo toothbrushes here I come)!


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