Tips for a sustainable Christmas

7 tips for a sustainable Christmas

Ah Christmas! The time of year when we lose our minds over who’s cooking and spend far too much money on things that we will hate come boxing day. Here are some super handy tips to make your christmas nice and sustainable, cheaper and stress free.

Have a reduced meat Christmas

The news that factory farming and the excess consumption of meat is placing a strain on our planet is becoming more commonplace. People are starting to get it. So, where better to put this into place than on Christmas day!

Rather than a roasted ham, roast some beautiful root vegetables like sweet potato, beetroot and parsnip. Or rather than coating a leg of lamb and leaving to cook for two hours, have a roast cauliflower done in less than 45 minutes.

Plus, it means those meat sweats will be less and you won’t feel so bad going for a third helping of Christmas lunch when it’s not only super healthy for you but kinder for the planet.

If you are still having meat, ensure it’s organic and aim to have your other centrepieces as vegetables. There is no need for more than one animal to be killed in the name of your Christmas lunch.

Check out Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Christmas recipes for some ideas.

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Buy local produce

If you’re going big for this Christmas (with food that is) aim to stock up at your local markets in the days before. While Christmas falls on a Friday this year, that’s no excuse to leave your food purchasing ’til the last minute.

If you’re going greener for Christmas this year (see above point), you’re better off stocking up on fresh, local veggies from the market than the sad looking, very few pieces that will be left at the supermarket shelves come Christmas Eve.

Fresh veggie produce will last four or five days if stored properly. Plus, you get to thank your local farmers and wish them a merry christmas. Check out where you your local market is at farmersmarkets.org.au.

Cater for what you need

You’ll notice that food is the biggest theme in keeping your Chrissy nice and sustainable? That’s because we Australians throw out 20% of household food we purchase. Which has extremely harmful effects on the environment. Visit www.foodwise.com.au for more info. 

So, know your numbers! Make sure you’ve sorted who’s coming, any dietary requirements and even spread the load amongst family or friends who are coming so that you’re not stuck with everything if you’re hosting.

We all know that Christmas leftovers are the best type of leftovers but don’t leave it so that you have way too much that you’ll end up throwing.

Also – try not to leave your food outside for too long to spoil. We all know the Aussie summer can be brutal!

Use washable plates and cutlery – not plastic

Yes, festive themed plates are lovely and all but all that green and red on the plastic plates is pretty toxic. It had to be painted on there somehow! You can read more about the reality of Christmas themed decorations and items here

Stick to cutlery and plates and bowls you already own. Who cares if it means the dishwasher fills up and you have to do a few extra loads. It’s better than a whole lot of single-use junk ending up in landfill for the next 500 years. Plus you’ll save a fair chunk of money not purchasing these throwaway items. 

Make Lady Gaga on Christmas afternoon
Make like Lady Gaga on Christmas afternoon

Shop local for gifts

I know that store bought items from larger businesses are a lot easier. And lets be honest, I’ve got younger nieces and nephews and while i’d love it if they were going to be appreciative of a piece of hemp soap and an organic, cruelty free cotton tea towel, sure, I would buy it for them. Reality is it’s not going to happen. And with the new Star Wars film out, who are we to argue with a seven year old that he MUST be a Stormtrooper this Christmas 😉

We have to appease the little ones and that means getting them some ‘stuff’. However, look local first.

In the lead up to Christmas, many local communities hold markets with local sellers. Look for ethically made clothes or toys to gift instead. If you’re looking for generic toys or gifts, the markets will have just what you need without all the plastic crap that you find in the toy store. Wooden toys are often found at these and far more sustainable!

Use the Good On You App

If you find it easier to pass on clothes or gift vouchers as gifts, you’re not alone. But did you know that a lot of the clothes we find in the shops nowadays are made in sweatshops or by child labourers? While many companies have signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Safety to make safer workplaces, you needn’t worry with the new Good On You App. 

It allows you to research a brand before purchasing to know that you can shop with your values.

Check it out at: goodonyou.org.au

Opt for reusable gift wrap and cards

My pet hate is the stuff we accumulate at Christmas all for the sake of about 30 seconds of reading or unwrapping. I’m not against sending Christmas cards (I have a lot of family that live interstate and I like doing that) but try and ensure they’re made from recycled papers or a FSC certified.

When it comes to gift wrap, there are many different ways to wrap without tacky wrap from the store.

I personally use Who Gives A Crap toilet paper wrap. I save them up for a while before hand and then wrap my presents with them. It’s all recycled paper and I don’t feel bad about the kids ripping through it. Have you ever heard people say “oh that wrapping paper is too pretty to be tearing apart?” Guess what, five year olds care not for it.

Wrapping paper made from WGAC Toilet paper wrap.
Wrapping paper made from WGAC Toilet paper wrap.

I also have made my Christmas tags from old envelopes and Good Brew Co Kombucha labels. If you get any junk mail delivered through Christmas catalogues, I’ve cut out any festive themed pictures or text to stick on top of the paper. It adds that a bit of flair and I’m not uncomfortable with it being a cheap and nasty sticker label.

Labels made from old envelopes and junk mail fanfare.
Labels made from old envelopes and junk mail fanfare.

What do you do each year to make have a more sustainable christmas?

Tell me below in the comments!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Melisa says:

    Good post, well written. Thank you. I will be back soon to check out for updates.

    Cheers.

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