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Dreaming of a green Christmas?

(33 Posts)
SuperCaliFragalistic Wed 19-Aug-20 22:50:41

Every year I want to have a more eco-friendly xmas. And every year i give in to a certain amount of disposable plastic tat in the form of stocking fillers, shiny wrapping paper, advent calendars, plastic bottles of smellies and such like.

I've managed a few things over the years including homemade christmas crackers and a book advent calendar. I'm pretty frugal about reusing the same decorations until they fall apart and the kids main presents tend to be decent quality items that get used a lot then passed on (bikes, scooters, tablets). But the guilt around the excess and the environmental impact seeps in.

What are your top tips for an eco-friendly xmas that I can start thinking about now? Or ethical shopping sites for toys, books advent calenders etc? Determined not to overuse Amazon this year given their tax dodging and crap treatment of employees.

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Wed 19-Aug-20 23:49:13

Our advent calendar is a wooden sleigh you put sweets in. You could even get fair trade ones to put in but it’s usually just chocolate eclair sweets for us. Brown paper can be hand printed onto of some companies will do Christmas tree designs etc and it’s recyclable. You can also save and reuse cards in card making, some others will actually take your old cards to use themselves. Christmas decorations, many hanging or garland ones can be made from materials you already own - just depends what you need really.

Themostwonderfultimeoftheyear Thu 20-Aug-20 06:44:58

Sounds as though you are doing pretty well smile my main thing is buying one or two good quality presents for people that I know will definitely be used. DS is prime plastic age but I buy some second hand and I make sure it is all good quality stuff that can be passed on when DS is done with it such as Playmobil, Lego, Imaginext etc.

Finfintytint Thu 20-Aug-20 06:53:55

We’ve had the same (tasteless) decorations for about twenty years. I rarely send cards anymore and the whole family reuses the same gift bags instead of wrapping paper. There are no small children in the family anymore so it’s easy to avoid the plastic.

Ricekrispie22 Thu 20-Aug-20 07:48:29

I buy locally produced meat (through my local butcher) and I buy potatoes, carrots and parsnips loose from a farm shop. No packaging and low food miles.
I’ve recently discovered a few types of local cheese which I’ll try and get too this year.
I do buy Christmas cards, but I definitely won’t be getting any which have glitter on. Ditto for wrapping paper.
I just bought some of this paper tape to replace cellotape. I’m just hoping it sticks!

TellMeDinosaurFacts Thu 20-Aug-20 07:52:00

I'm so glad you started this thread- I feel the same way. I've bought some fabric wrap this year (it's very expensive- I'm sure making your own is easy but sewing machines break when I look at them). I'm also trying to just do a mental check whenever I want to buy something- 'is this tat'?
I'm trying to use Amazon less and independent retailers more too.

Whatthebloodyell Thu 20-Aug-20 07:54:02

I’m just trying to do LESS. And encourage my family to do the same. The grandparents just buy so much stuff, it gets a bit competitive. Maybe now is the time to set limits? I know that I’ll be seen as controlling though!

SuperCaliFragalistic Thu 20-Aug-20 08:48:02

I have family who are super-green and pretty controlling and unpleasant about it. I'm conscious of not going down that route. I think I'm definitely guilty of over buying food though so could easily cut back on that and all the unnecessary packaging around chocs etc. I bought my cracker snaps off amazon last year - going to look around for a more ethical supplier this year.

OP’s posts: |
tentative3 Thu 20-Aug-20 10:54:00

Reuse wrapping paper, if you must buy new definitely look at brown paper. Alternatively consider whether you could use something like a seasalt jute bag as a gift bag (if it will be used by the recipient).

I think the biggest for me, and the hardest struggle with OH's family is not giving in to the tat. I would rather have one decent present than a whole lot of random stuff but getting that mindset into them has been an uphill battle and not wholly successful. OH is more on board.

To get the sense of indulgence and luxury go for things like local independent butcher meat, small company chocolates, toiletries in glass bottles or paper wrapped soap etc. For me it is perfectly possible to have decadence without waste and that's how we've tried to go in recent years. I appreciate with kids it's not always easy but to be honest you sound pretty well there with the second hand/good quality toys etc.

tentative3 Thu 20-Aug-20 10:56:04

Oh tea towels can work well for wrapping too

tentative3 Thu 20-Aug-20 11:00:30

I'm spamming now but if you would buy hot chocolate may I recommend pendragon drinks. The dark spice hot chocolate is lovely and it's a small company.

Experience gifts and consumables are good options for adults or older kids, often tick ethical boxes too.

unexpectedthird Thu 20-Aug-20 11:10:34

We have only bought all paper Christmas crackers for the past few years. If I can't find any we make our own.
I was also really mindful about what I bought as stocking fillers and tried to buy non plastic items as far as possible. I also tried to make the items less disposable and tat like in general.

We stopped buying advent calendars last year too and I made a joint family one instead. I used paper bags and Christmas cards and each day contained a Christmassy task for us to do. I was a bit nervous about it because I didn't know whether the kids would actually enjoy it but they loved it. They have already started wondering what this year's will be like.

We don't change decorations annually anyway, I always buy one or two items every year to add to the collection. I've always viewed it as a work in progress and we've slowly grown our Christmas stuff.

We did well with food waste last year so will keep that up. No one felt short changed but over the whole festive period there was a lot less food and we actually enjoyed the treats more because of it.

It's hard though because I don't want to be all holier than thou and only buying practical and dull things. I love Christmas and the sparkle and food and excitement but I also hate the waste and indulgence that can go along with it.

This year we will make all our own wrapping paper from brown paper, the baby will most likely have second hand toys from Santa. The big ones may too depending on what they ask for. We'll also meal plan and try to make sure we're not wasting food.

UtterlyUnimaginativeUsername Thu 20-Aug-20 11:22:06

We bought a set of fabric santa sacks a few years ago for my family's gifts, and now we all just pass them around every year. Everyone's delighted with the ease of it all, never mind the greenness.

I'm going to make an effort this year to support small local businesses where possible. I think I'll get the kids vouchers for the indie bookshop in town, so they can go in and make their own choices. They'd enjoy that.

KingOfDogShite Thu 20-Aug-20 11:25:38

We got some Advent bunting from Lidl a few years ago and just put sweets in it now. 4 sweets in each pocket.

tentative3 Thu 20-Aug-20 12:10:06

I meant to clarify that I use old/vintage (usually unused) tea towels from charity shops, you can get beautifully kitsch ones

Cherryrainbow Thu 20-Aug-20 12:54:31

I was looking to get brown wrapping paper this year to try and help keep down waste. I'm confused about the brown paper that has patterns printed on, is it still recyclable? X

loutypips Thu 20-Aug-20 12:55:41

I've been trying to find something to replace wrapping paper. Might try fabric this year if I can find some!

FinallyHere Thu 20-Aug-20 13:12:28

Fabric for wrapping presents is brilliant.

eBay is a great source.

We use a combination of gauzy fabric, plain white tissue paper and gift bags. The gift bags tend to come back 'home' alternate years.

Generally, we reduce excess by thinking g in terms of getting together with family and friends, rather than presents.

Who knows what this year will look like.

TheWoollybacksWife Thu 20-Aug-20 13:17:59

I can't speak for all areas but our local authority with recycle wrapping paper if it passes the scrunch test. I've got some white paper with printed holly leaves and berries - I bought 8 rolls when it was reduced a couple of years ago. I'm going to mix that with a big roll of red kraft paper I bought last week.

I made a fabric advent calendar over 10 years ago and that gets filled with chocolate coins every year.

I made my own wreath at a course last year and after Christmas I stripped it carefully and have kept the wire ring and ribbon decoration. There are a few places locally that I can visit to forage for greenery and my local garden centre will sell me some moss.

We don't do crackers any more - the bang frightened DS when he was little so we stopped 12 years ago. Our decorations are donkeys years old. I only send a few cards but no glitter on the ones I do buy.

My DC are past the plastic stage generally so can't comment on that. I have set myself the challenge of making at least one present for each of my DC. I'm knitting socks for my DDs and making some sort of crochet item for DS.

Norugratsatall Thu 20-Aug-20 13:43:43

Things I did last year.....

No crackers, homemade table decorations instead made from paper which ill reuse this year
Brown paper for wrapping gifts, adorned with colourful ribbons and bows all of which I'll reuse this year (incl the brown paper which I saved)
Less gifts overall, our children are adults so no plastic tat is easy to avoid
Real tree, cut up and put on compost heap
No Xmas cards, donated to charity instead

This year we'll be doing the same with the added extra of a meat free Xmas dinner since my Dad (who was the only carnivore left in the family!) passed away in January.

Locally source as much food and drink as possible.

Norugratsatall Thu 20-Aug-20 13:45:59

Oh and I made homemade tree decs by painting pine cones (several huge pine trees in our close vicinity so always plenty of pine cones) in gorgeous metallic colours. Thy looked fab on the tree, always nicer I feel to have decs made of natural materials.

latticechaos Thu 20-Aug-20 13:50:00

We had a major Christmas overhaul about ten years ago, mostly due to finances, has made Christmas so much nicer.

We have a full on Christmas with a lot of recycling, handmade and reusing. Lots of things mentioned above like reusable advent calendar and homemade crackers. We make a lot of presents. The kids and of course other children get bought presents. But we don't buy any tat at all. Plus no tree.

Am sure it doesn't look very homes and gardens but it is fun. We start preparing in September and youngest child has already started planning. I feel excited now smile

Namechangeforthis88 Thu 20-Aug-20 14:05:43

Some stocking fillers sourced from charity shops, so second lego bits and go-go monsters for DS, Oxfam do nice chocolates and hamper-y things. I also do a trolley-dash on the One World Shop for stocking fillers. They're on-line as well. There's a lot fair-trade treats involved in our stockings. I look out for stuff at markets in the run up, so small, independent producers.

My Dad and I are content to exchange ethical vouchers for the most part. I've given him lendwithcare vouchers for ethical investment. You get your investment back and you can keep lending it to different people all over the world so it is a gift that keeps on giving, and you get to choose who you invest with. I've been lending the same £50 for years.

We've managed to cut back some of the exchanges, DB, DBIL etc we just buy for kids. Try to buy books for kids but if it comes down to it we at least try to get something that will actually be used. Boards games are smiled upon here, usually they're mostly made of cardboard, and they do actually get used.

Wrapping-wise I got some paper from Oxfam last year that was recycled and recyclable. Brown but with a design, several people admired it. I also found some plastic free tape so you can lob the whole lot in the recycling no faff. The plastic free tape is brown and paper-y but with a little ingenuity I wrapped without it showing.

Many of our decorations date back to our student days, making them a good 20 years old. I get one or two individual decs a year, often wooden ones from the Christmas market. That way DS can let rip on the tree and it still looks tasteful. The tree itself was half price from Poundstretchers about 15 years ago and still going strong. I read that you have to use a fake tree about 10 times for it to be more eco than a real one, so we're at least breaking even. Probably fair to say I was less eco-aware when we got it.

Themostwonderfultimeoftheyear Thu 20-Aug-20 15:22:40

My Amnesty shop arrived today with DS' fairtrade choclate coins and a gift for GMIL and a bargain tea light holder for me which will look amazing in our bedroom smile

girlywhirly Fri 21-Aug-20 16:01:25

Our artificial tree was 16 years old when it was getting tatty, and also was too wide for the room, when it went to the recycling centre we were told to place it in the metals container as they can strip all the plastic bits off and recycle the metal. Our tree was around 70% metal, so not bad. We got a new slim tree that we fully expect will last even longer, it’s evident that good quality trees are worth it.

I like to shop locally for meat, fruit and veg, the greengrocers brown paper bags get shredded for our garden compost bin. I meal plan so that we don’t waste anything. I do love the Divine chocolate coins from the Oxfam shop, and they do 70% cocoa dark choc ones which I can eat (low sugar diet) I may revive the fabric advent calendar!

I used to buy cracker kits so that the card shells could be recycled, and the ribbons tying the ends reused. It’s getting a bit difficult now to find small enough things to put in them so I may have to stop, I could just do a table present each instead. We reuse gift bags until they get too tatty, and I’ve got lots of ribbons for tying gifts.

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