It’s that time of the year again. Christmas and the summer holidays bring the opportunity to celebrate with our family and friends, sharing gifts, a celebratory drink a delicious meal and of course, love.
With the increase of holiday events, not to mention the gifts that come with, the result come boxing and new years day is a different kind of hangover, more waste. Reports suggest waste increases by half around the Silly Season. With gift wrapping and packaging, additional food and beverage waste and emissions from the increase in deliveries and travel, our carbon footprint is bigger than ever at this time of year.
This had us thinking more deeply into the meaning of the festive season and what we can do to make steps towards a more conscious celebration of life, love and the close of the year that has been.
It all started with gifting. We looked at what was on offer for a low waste, more conscious gift options as well as the events surrounding, to support you in your plans for this year’s celebrations. Looking to avoid the bulging post Christmas bin this year, or even the run to the waste disposal centre by giving consciously, means walking right past the gifts with oodles of plastic and polystyrene packaging, to make a step in the right direction for reducing your carbon footprint.
Gift an Experience
In lieu of the socks, undies or tacky mugs, you might like to opt for a gift of an experience such as a gift voucher for a restaurant, fun park, massage, movies, concert, creative class or day spa experience. Experiences not only offer minimal waste, but also offer a wonderful solution for the person that ‘has everything’.
Think Practical + Eco Friendly
Gifts of every day use, such as body + hair care products (hello Paudha Healing), or even delicious teas, chocolates and other delicious, organic foods are high on the practical for daily consumption list.
When buying, check to see that the packaging is eco friendly. Look for recyclable glass jars, reusable and biodegradable cotton bags and companies that use compostable bags and pellets for shipping in lieu of plastic wrap, plastic boxes or even bleached + cello coated boxes, bubble wrap or cellophane.
Giving back – a gift that keeps giving
For those who seek to live a minimalist lifestyle, a gift to charity might just be the ticket to warming your loved one’s heart. Think about what their interests are, be it planting more trees, animal welfare groups or giving to a charity that supports those who are less fortunate. Here at Paudha, we are particularly interested in supporting the work of Halfcut Alliance who work together with the Rainforest Trust in protecting the most threatened tropical forests and saving endangered species.
Supporting small + local goes a lot further than you think
When shopping for your Christmas feast or gifts this year, try to support local and small businesses as much as possible. Buying locally means less transport than online gifting and in turn, less carbon emissions and less packaging. The money you spend locally supports the owners of the businesses and their families themselves. Not only this, supporting local works to further support your local economy, especially within small towns with the owners of the businesses supporting other locally owned businesses, such as chemists, coffee stores and restaurants, the fruit market, tradies and more … meaning you will be making your very own contribution toward providing employment in your local area.
Wrapping with Care
Putting some thought into the wrapping of your gifts goes a long way in supporting the environment. Foil wraps are a huge no, no, as is cello and even sticky tape. Using unbleached paper bags that you and your children have decorated go a long way in giving thoughtfully to loved ones, as well as the earth. Perhaps you’d like to tie some dried eucalyptus or foraged flowers using natural twine for a little extra eco decoration and don’t forget to choose tags that are made from unbleached recycled papers.
Christmas Trees with Care
Natural tree’s not only smell good, but they offer a beautiful natural alternative to the old plastic tree which tires over years eventually becoming landfill. Living in the Blue Mountains, we have been quite the fans of the foraged gum branch, or supporting the local firies who sell foraged pines, that formerly lived their lives as weeds littering the side of the country roads.
For those living in the cities, a pot plant or carefully placed collection of pot plants, styled in the triangular shape of a traditional tree offers a beautiful and unique idea, living to tell the story for years to come, as they become permanent fixtures throughout your home during the other seasons. Or you might like to fill a huge vase with foraged foliages decorated with your collection of ornaments to be disposed of in the green waste post season.
Bring a plate, literally!
If you are entertaining a large group and don’t have enough plates or cutlery, you can work to avoid the build up of single use plastics by asking guests to bring their own plate, knife and fork … and even glass. Reminding them that its your way to consciously reduce single use plastics, will pass on all the good feels to your loved ones in supporting a more conscious choice. If you feel comfortable to, you can even request that your guests to ‘spray their own’ with the garden hose, keeping the washing up at bay.
That collection of glass jars can replace glassware, complete with a paper straw, they are a cute and sustainable alternative to plastic cups. You can even write guests names on them to avoid getting the drinks mixed up.
Remember that demonstration is better than dictation. If everyone is making a step to supporting the environment, whilst educating and showing our young ones how, we can all seek to make a bigger and better change for our children’s and their children’s future.