When it comes to Christmas, everyone has their own traditions. You might unwrap your presents after lunch or you might open them before 7.30am, you might send recycled Christmas cards or you might send e-Christmas greetings, you might buy low energy or LED lights for your Christmas tree (something this family in America should have done) or you might decorate yours with old, painted light bulbs and homemade chocolate Rudolfs. My dad’s friend and his brother send each other the same two Christmas cards back and forth each year with the wrong name scribbled out and the right name written over it.
Whatever you normally do, it’s easy to make small changes – which usually turns out to be enhancements, employing clever tricks and saavy thinking to master the art form of using everything up and wasting nothing.
Recycled and upcycled gifts are getting better and cooler with each year that passes. Homemade presents are perfect for those with a small purse this Christmas. But if you’re not arty and craft-y and can’t think of anyone who wants an egg box covered in dried pasta then the web is crammed with sites great, green gadgets, fantastic, environmentally-friendly fashion and cool, carbon neutral Christmas presents such as Ethical Community, Nigel’s Eco-store and Upxchange, to name a few.
Green Thing has rescued and united Britain’s lost gloves into perfect pairs for only £5 and Saved your unloved t-shirts from being forgotten about under the bed into a green fashion statement for £20.
Do you go for a real tree or a fake tree? How about a cardboard tree? How about any one of these 5 amazingly green trees? With some simple recycling and paper folding skills you can make some beautiful decorations. CD’s, sweet wrappers, homemade sweets and chocolate treats and Christmas cards from previous Christmas’s all make fantastic tree decorations.
Ah, now for the wrapping paper. Depending on your level of excitement you either carefully unwrap your presents and reuse the paper for next year (My Gran’s Tip: iron the paper to look just like new) or if you’re just too eager to see what’s inside and you rip it open. Small shreds of paper are perfect for composting and recycling (and bigger bits can be saved for next year’s smaller presents, ironed of course). You might even have wrapped your presents the Japanese way using Furoshiki (wrapping with cloth that gets reused every year).
Your compost bin is likely to get a lot of usage on Christmas day with all the vegetable peelings from Christmas dinner. Not to mention the paper hats, napkins and crackers (including cracker joke but not plastic keyring of Santa). If you’re unsure of what can be composted then take a peak at Recycle Now for handy hints.
Christmas dinner is the biggest waste provider of Christmas. Controlling portion sizes can be tricky enough normally but when it comes to cooking the biggest dinner of the year for all the family, it can be pretty difficult. Luckily the clever people at Love Food Hate Waste have come up with a handy Christmas portion calculator. Simply select the food you want and how many you are cooking for and hey presto, the portion sizes pop up on screen. But let’s presume that as well as having leftovers for the obliquity turkey (or Tofurkey) sandwiches on Boxing Day, you end up with more uneaten food than you had hoped. The Love Food Hate Waste folks have more helpful suggestions – leftover food recipes. And if that wasn’t making your life easy enough, you can pick what foods you have leftover and it will produce a recipe to suit your personal food needs!
So this year, have a very, merry, all-consuming Christmas!