Christmas is often flagged up as one of the most 'consuming' events in the calendar; everyone is buying presents, everyone is driving to everybody else to stay over the holiday, and millions of Xmas cards are posted all over the world.
We don't want to sound like Scrooge and go 'Bah Humbug' - but Xmas is a time of excess; and you should consider it your duty to operate your Xmas celebrations in a way that reduces your impact on the environment.
This article looks at various ways in which you can have your Xmas Cake and be eco at the same time..
Eco Christmas Cards and 'ecarding'
We find printed Christmas cards to be a rather outmoded form of communication in these days of instant messaging and email. So for your 'lower tier' friends and associates send them an Email Christmas card instead, i.e an ecard; unless they have actually sent you a real card in the last year of course.
If you must send a real Xmas card, we suggest you do the following:
- Make sure it is printed on recycled paper.
- If you have to send multiple Xmas cards to the same address, put them all in the same envelope. 'Shocking!' we hear you say, but the cards get open all on Xmas day anyways - let the recipients have the additional fun of working out which card is for whom! They are going to read each others cards anyways..
- Buy cards whose profits from go to support an Eco focused charity or scheme.
- If you are a creative type, recycle your old Xmas cards to make new ones. This actually not as hard as it sounds. First you need to create a blank card, basically take a piece of A4 card weight paper, fold in half longways (like a book), that will give you an A5 card. if you cut along the fold and fold again in half long ways, you will end up with two blank A6 cards - which is pretty much the standard size of most cards. Then just cut out the front of the cards you want to recycle and glue on the front to make your 'new' card (remembering the fold is to the left side as you open it, that will indicate which face is to the front).
Of course once you have received a Xmas card, please do make sure you see it gets properly recycled after the big event; either by putting in the recycle bin or keeping it to reuse to make your own cards next year.
Eco Christmas Presents
As a receiver of Christmas Presents, there a few simple things you can request:
- Ask not to receive a present! Very green, but not that much fun.
- Ask for cash instead of a present, and not a voucher, real cash! This then gives you the ability to pick something you want and spend it on something more Eco friendly.
- Ask the present be wrapped in Eco friendly wrapping paper (i.e. recycled), or forgo the wrapping paper all together.
- Ask for the present of them investing in an Eco friendly scheme or charity on your behalf.
- Spread the word! Get a gift book on organic gardening, or home cooking, etc Books are a very powerful way of educating many people over an extended period of time.
Regifting Christmas Presents
Ah the tricky subject of regifting - the ultimate form of recycling...
There are a few simple things you can do which really make regifting good for the environment and good for you too:
- 1. No Perishable goods.
- By next Xmas, anything food related (i.e. baskets, cheese, etc) will be off (unless its a sealed unit, like a Xmas Pud, which could be regifted indefinitely!) or a health hazard - so just use by the Use By Date and don't regift.
- 2. Avoid Out-Moded/Extinct Products.
- Platform shoes have a very limited chance of coming back in fashion.. So stay away of any goods or clothing 'bound' to a particular decade. Also remember technology has moved on since the cassette recorder.. Only exception to this is if you know they are collector of said item.
- 3. Avoid those Dead Giveaways.
- Certain regifts can be a right giveaway. Especially if your name is written on the base, or your initials are on it! Also anything company PR related is considered a bad choice.
- 4. ReWrap with recycled or “green” wrapping paper
- Ideally the gift should be in its original box and unused. If not, then wrap it in fresh 'green' wrapping paper and box, and make it tidy; otherwise it just doesn't work.
- 5. Note who got what and when
- This is critical. You do not want to either give a present back to someone who gave it to you in the first place, nor give them something they already got from you last year! A computer with a simple spreadsheet is ideal for this.