The festive season is almost upon us. But, Christmas doesn’t have to be all about 10 foot inflatable snowmen and shopping til you drop. A simpler and greener family Christmas may just be what is needed to help everyone relax and enjoy their time together. Here are 10 tips for a greener Christmas:
#1. Make your own decorations
Like the song goes, ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly’. Use Christmas greens, holly, ivy, pine and spruce branches to create an earth friendly festive atmosphere, think wreaths and garlands.
A bowl of dried orange slices, cloves and cinnamon sticks makes a naturally fragrant seasonal display. Collecting the leaves and drying the fruit is half the fun.
#2. Make edible tree decorations
Making edible tree decorations can be a great activity for a wet and windy winter’s afternoon. Think gingerbread men and snowmen and star shaped biscuits, just remember to put a hole in them for the ribbon before baking.
You could also try threading popcorn to make garlands or bunch it together for giant snowball decorations, and you can even paint popcorn with food colouring.
#3. Buy a live Christmas tree
If you are purchasing a tree you can now get live trees in many garden centres, they come in a pot and after Christmas you can plant yours out in your garden.
#4. Reuse and recycle from last Christmas
Don’t forget about the stuff in your attic. Using the artificial tree and decorations stored since last year is much more environmentally friendly than buying new ones.
Last year’s cards can be recycled to make this year’s decorations, cut out the images, thread through ribbon and add what extra sparkly bits you like. Christmas tree lights aren’t very heavy on electricity but do think twice before lighting up the entire house (or street).
#5. Choose gifts with minimal packaging
Try using string instead of tape and pressing and reusing wrapping paper. For an interesting alternative to wrapping paper you could use some nice cloth or brown paper with nice patterns stamped on.
#6. Source fair-trade and ethical presents
If you’d like to source some really special kids’ presents try some of these Irish online retailers who stock fair-trade and ethical toys. There are some nice gifts for kids and adults at the Birdwatch Ireland Shop, and some really great ideas for eco friendly gifts for Dads at the Ecoshop.
#7. Make some homemade gifts
Homemade gifts are not just for those of the crafty persuasion. Sweets are easy to make. Dip cherries, marzipan and dried fruit in chocolate. Present them in a hand decorated box or bag for a really unique gift – great for Grandparents and neighbours.
Here are 10 Cute Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids to Make or if you would prefer foody gifts, here are 10 Easy Homemade Food Gifts for Kids to Make.
#8. Make your own hampers
You could also put together hampers as gifts, just think of a theme or an activity and put a collection of relevant items together.
A winter warmth hamper might include hot water bottle, mug, jar of hot chocolate and some nice biscuits. A teddy bears picnic hamper might include tea set, teddy bear, paper and crayons to make invites.
You get the idea…. Put them in a box covered with old wrapping paper, add a bow and voila!
#9. Give a wild gift
As a gift for the entire family, membership for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park or a gift voucher for local activities could lead to loads of family days out. Or how about a tree? Or an allotment could be an unusual gift that will bring months of family fun and great home grown produce.
#10. Make time for each other
Whatever you decide, have fun and make time for each other. Your kids will have the memories a lot longer than the toys.
We wish you a green and happy Christmas for you and your little elves!
This article was adapted from an original article by Jen Wallace from www.tinygreenpeople.com, the natural and eco parenting website.
Do you have any tips for a greener Christmas? Share them with us in the comments below