They call it the silly season for a reason – it’s easy to go overboard at Christmas! From plastic baubles and rolls of wrapping paper that end up in the bin, to unwanted gifts and more food than we can eat.
Here are our tips for keeping things simple, and waste-free, at Christmas.
1. ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS TREES
If you’ve already got a synthetic tree, don’t ditch it to switch to something natural – in fact there’s a lot to be said for a tree you can re-use for many, many years, even if it’s plastic.
If you’re starting fresh, try some eco alternatives. You can cut live trees which can go in the green waste after Christmas, or, even better, use potted trees that live for years.
We love repurposing fallen branches from our lovely gum trees. We stick them in a bucket of sand and cover them with lots of hanging decorations.
2. RE-USE YOUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Whatever colour you like your decorations, make sure they’re green!
Again, don’t throw out the old. Family heirlooms used for several generations are the ultimate no-waste. So, too, are kids’ handmade creations that you hang every year, even long after the kids have grown up.
Other green options include cutting pictures from old Christmas cards, using old wrapping paper, or even pages from magazines to make origami shapes.
If you’re buying new, choose natural, sustainable materials – even better if they’re handmade locally.
3. SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
The best way to avoid Christmas gift wastage is to give something that will actually be used. Even if it’s not quite as eco-friendly as you would like, a gift that is loved and well-used for a long time is not wasteful.
Consider giving experiences rather than objects – maybe a hot air balloon ride, an art class or movie tickets – or gifting to a charity.
Or what about a gift of time? Time together, or a time out. Give a friend a vintage tea cup and saucer and some tea so they can take a special moment for themselves to relax.
Sustainably-made, all-natural skincare products such as our Honey Lip Balms make wonderfully useful gifts and are terrific little stocking fillers, and our handmade goat's milk soaps, are always a hit too.
By focusing on gifts that are loved and well-used for an extended period of time, we can reduce unnecessary waste.
Rather than opting for trendy or disposable items that may lose their appeal quickly, consider thoughtful presents that align with the recipient's interests and desires.
4. WASTE-FREE CHRISTMAS WRAPPING
One simple way to avoid waste is save and re-use bags and boxes, or other recycled materials. Then, add some Christmas tags cut out from old cards or paper.
You could also make your “wrapping” part of the gift for the recipient to use, such as produce bags to take shopping, or beeswax wraps that you can even make your own using Christmas material.
5. A GREENER CHRISTMAS TABLE
Ditch plastic plates and paper napkins – mix and match old crockery sets from op shops. Metallic camping plates and mugs are great for an outdoor Christmas. And natural beeswax candles in old jam jars make awesome table decorations day or night.
Fabric napkins can replace those crackers filled with wasteful plastic novelties. Simply roll up a candy cane and a handwritten joke or personal message and tie each end. And if your family just can’t do without those paper crowns, make your own from recycled paper.
Try not to over order! While tables groaning under plates full of food are a Christmas tradition – along with the Boxing Day (and beyond) leftovers – try to order to what you can finish in a few days, or freeze rather than throw it away.
Do you have more ideas? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to know!