Let's wish ourselves a "green" Christmas!
How to turn the most important holiday of the year into an occasion of eco-sustainability.
It will undoubtedly be a different Christmas this year. We will be forced to change our family traditions and rituals to which we have been bound by since we were children. The world pandemic will force us to do so. And the only way not to get discouraged is to try to imagine how this change imposed by Covid can give us an opportunity for improvement.
Christmas is a wonderful, unique, magical time for many of us. For others it is now just a consumer’s rite, a time of excess, appearances, and hypocrisies. The truth, as often happens, perhaps lies in the middle. The magic is there, it is undeniable, so is waste and its environmental impact.
The environmental impact of Christmas
Let's take a look at some numbers: between 24th and 26th December each of us produces 650 kg of CO2, 6% of what we produce throughout the year. The weight of 4 of Santa's reindeer. And the situation worsens from year to year because Christmas, as conveyed by the consumer model, is also invading areas that did not traditionally celebrate it and that are not even Christian. Can you imagine the amount of gifts, decorations, parcels and packages if Santa Claus is also receiving letters from all over China?
Food consumption increases by 80% during the holiday season, compared to the rest of the year. And we throw thousands of tons of food in the rubbish because we always cook more than we need. And then we move around much more than usual to visit friends and relatives, between parties and dinners. More kg of CO2 produced.
And then there is plastic. A lot, really a lot of it is used to pack and package gifts for those we love. And, to make matters worse, even unwanted ones create pollution! It is estimated that around four billion dollars are spent each year on unwanted gifts, in the UK alone, equivalent to almost five million tonnes of CO2. Along with those that will have broken, around 40% of toys given at Christmas will be thrown away by March.
A sustainable Christmas is possible
So let's think of some small tricks to make this Christmas, our first Christmas, ecological, sustainable, full of love, also towards our Planet and its resources.
What kind of parties would they be without tables set? But what makes the difference is the amount of food or the people we share it with? Here are some suggestions for a less environmentally indigestible banquet:
- Plan your shopping well, avoiding waste, preferring zero km, local producers and food with a low environmental impact (and if tofu seems too much, try to reduce the animal-based dishes on your Christmas menu, it will gain the Earth and also your health).
- Don't throw it away: the leftovers are delicious the next day, and the day after that!
If you, like us, are crazy about lights and decorations of all kinds. If you're already pawing at the tree in October and you're normally only ready to get rid of it in March, we know that it will be hard to limit your Christmas spirit. But we will still try to give you some ideas:
- Get involved in DIY and creative recycling: great satisfaction and little waste!
- Use ecological materials: yes to wood, pine cones, fabric and no to plastic.
- Use low consumption lights and keep them on as little as possible, and patience if your house will not be visible from space this year!
- Don't change the decorations every year.
Starting from the assumption that Christmas is a festivity in the name of sharing that you can (really, you can!) celebrate even without exchanging gifts, everyone likes to receive the classic little package under the tree. But it is also possible to do so with an eye to the environment. Some ideas:
- Let's remember that thought counts more than quantity. It's trivial but true.
- Let's choose sustainable, eco-friendly, possibly plastic free gifts, perhaps from small, environmentally conscious realities.
- We also give away events, time to spend together, experiences, not just material objects.
- We wrap with recycled, recyclable, sustainable materials (fabric, paper,...).
- We reuse the cards from the year before.
- If we receive gifts that we will not use or that we do not like, let's give them to those who need them most, let's not simply throw them in the trash.
This way our Christmas can be up to 60% more ecological. And according to a lot of research, reducing our environmental impact makes us happier! So Christmas and sustainability seem to be a perfect match!