The season is most certainly upon us; yes folks Christmas is just around the corner. No matter if you find that a terrifying prospect, one that sends you scampering for presents and cajoling the family into a Fordian approach to writing and posting Christmas cards, or if you can sit back and (somewhat smugly) relax - one thing is certain. Christmas can be wasteful.
In fact it can be incredibly wasteful. In part one of this two-part blog post, we looked at how:
You can reduce waste associated with wrapping paper
(Did you know, each Christmas we throw away enough to cover Guernsey?).
How you can have a conversation with your loved ones about giving gifts
Suggestions as to how you can create some truly unique handmade gifts
Why, if you’re not making it yourself, you could buy eco-friendly, reusable and practical presents
(Shameless plug there!)
In this blog we will look at Christmas cards, what’s to be done and how not to cause offence, decorations, and how you can still make your house feel Christmassy without killing the planet, and just what is to be done about Christmas trees.
Christmas cards, I think that there is something wonderful in receiving and sending Christmas cards. Lining them up on your mantelpiece, or hanging them on a line of string from the ceiling and thinking of those you love doing the same - yep, truly captures the spirit of the season.
But, it can’t be ignored that 900 million Christmas cards are sold each year.
900 million is a truly mind boggling number. Even more mind boggling is that 1.5 billion cards are thrown away each Christmas.
Now, some might say that cards come from sustainably farmed trees, and that cards that are 100% recycled or have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on them are the best way forward.
Even if the trees are sustainable, 200,000 are felled each year just for making Christmas cards.
These options are certainly better, but are they really the best.
If you feel that you simply must send cards, then be sure to either make them yourself out of whatever you have lying around the house or to buy those that are 100% recycled/FSC certified.
However, if you are open to the idea of not sending cards (and searching around for addresses for weeks before hand) then there are other options.
The e-greetings card industry is massive and companies like Moon Pig https://www.moonpig.com/uk/ are virtually household names.
If you’re of the opinion that these e-cards lack something of the personal touch, then why not try are carefully worded Facebook message or email?
You could outline your personal reasons for not sending a card, being sure not to make it sound judgmental! Include a photo, some news whatever - just share the love and make it eco-friendly.
As for those friends who are not big fans of social media? Well there are always those recycled/homemade cards.
As a Christmas gift to you - check out these 23 ideas for homemade Christmas cards from Buzzfeed.
Decorations are an odd one to cover.On one hand, it can be a perfectly simple part of Christmas to do in an eco-friendly manner; simply go to the attic, stumble around a bit, find that box of decorations your Gran gave you decades back and sprinkle liberally around the house (while seriously questioning that generation’s taste).
Now this could be where caring about the planet crosses over into being perceived as sucking the fun out of things - but gosh darn it, it is important.
Besides, where is the fun in logging and then throwing away six million (yep six million) trees each Christmas - creating an additional 9,000 tonnes of waste.
Now, there are no easy answers to the most environmentally friendly type of tree to buy (as for synthetic/plastic artificial - forget it).
Friends Of The Earth have some great tips, and recommend that you make sure your tree is UK grown and buy from a retailer registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (if you want your tree to be organic as well check to see that it has been approved by the Soil Association).
Of course, these are still not ideal options. For a truly, long lasting tree that adds an element of style, why not try your hand at building a representation of one out of driftwood, pallets or any other materials you have to hand.