How to have a more planet-friendly Christmas

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Is it me or does Christmas seem to have come around extra fast this year? Well folks, just because it is Christmas and every marketing campaign in history out there tells us we must buy stuff during Christmas to have a great time, don’t mean it’s true. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that might help you to loosen the purse strings.

  1. Buy second-hand decorations. The charity and thrift shops are usually FULL of them at this time of the year. We went down a couple of days ago and bought all our decorations for around 6 euros. You might even bag yourself a second-hand tree you lucky rascal.
  2. Which brings me to my next point, think about the Christmas tree. According to this Carbon Trust report , considering the transportation, biodegradability and process it is conclusively “better” to get a real tree as opposed to a plastic one, unless you know you will use the plastic one for at least 12 years. Check with your local waste services but some trees do get collected, shredded and turned into fertiliser or in the area of Amsterdam I live, they apparently get turned into Christmas tree bonfires.
  3. Re-usable wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is usually plastic coated so not recyclable. We all see the bin bag from ONE family Christmas, imagine that multiplied over each country. Terrifying. I have started using scraps of fabric I find in the textile bin at work, and hope that people will reuse them (yes I am also that person who checks with the gift receiver if they will indeed find a use for the scrap of fabric and takes it back for reuse if not). Other options can be old newspaper with string, or brown paper.
  4.  Borrow your Christmas party dress. Every year, I used to buy something new for the annual Christmas party. It usually featured a lot of glitter and didn’t really work at other times of the year. Very wasteful indeed people. If you have nothing to wear, ask your friends first, chances are they probably have something and then scour your local secondhand shop. If all else fails I really recommend renting one.
  5. Christmas presents, get stuff people actually need or want. We all know it’s coming yet we all find ourselves panic-buying in the shops with hundreds of other people doing the same thing. The panic-bought present clutter our houses for a few months and end up in the charity shop. Think about what people really need, is there an experience you can get instead of a material item? Can you get children’s toys secondhand? Can you buy a bit less stuff?
  6. Have a veggie Christmas. I know it’s almost blasphemy for some people, but the Linda McCartney roast joints are pretty good, and let’s be honest we’re here for the trimmings!

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