Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas.......

At weekend I went into Manchester for my monthly creative group meet up, and also to do a bit of Christmas   shopping. I don't go into town that often really, only usually once a month or so, and I was pretty shocked at how busy it was, how many shops were in full on Christmas mode (6 weeks before the day!!) and more importantly, the shocking amount of people that were completely laden with piles of plastic shopping bags. This got me thinking to what a wasteful time of year Christmas is, and so I thought I'd do a post on how we can all be a little bit greener at this time of year. I'm by no means an eco-warrior, but I do care about the environment and try and re-cycle and reuse everything I can where possible. If I at least inspire one person to change a habit, then I'll be happy!
 1. Wrapping! - Most people just look at the print, and what's on offer without even considering the environmental impact of their paper. The majority of papers are just that - paper, which is completely fine and 100% recyclable. However, for those who prefer a more 'luxury' package - you may usually get something like this:
Foil or plastic shiny wrapping. You can't recycle this, and it will just go into landfill - which if you think about how many people dump this stuff each Christmas, is pretty bad. You can still get lovely (and recycleable) paper wrapping, so if you want to be be green, avoid the foil!
If you get a present wrapped in this....peel off the tape, and reuse!
Along the same lines as the foil-y wrap are the plastic bows. Ugh! Yes, your pressies look pretty, but what happens to them after the gifts are ripped open? In the bin.....x 100's of 1000s the world over. Your presents will still look lovely and be appreciated just as much without bows and ribbons on! If you really feel you have to use bows, then try and get paper ones, use paper ribbon, or use textile ribbon for crafty friends who you know will re-use it for something else!
Greeting cards - If you are being super green, some people don't send them at all. Fair enough, but I like to give cards. I always make sure they are charity ones, and preferably recycled as well. Make sure you recycle envelopes when you receive them, your paper goes into the recycling bag on Christmas day, and your cards as well at the end of the season! 

2. Shopping for Gifts - The fun part! Or not, in some cases. When shopping for presents, really think about what the person you are buying for would actually like, need and use. Not what YOU like, what THEY like. Also think quality, not quantity. I personally would much rather have one thoughtful gift that I will use and love, than a sack full of 'novelty' (read: Landfill) gifts. If you are doing a Secret Santa at work, good (and well received) presents for people who you don't know so well are always things like 1/2 bottles of spirits or a bottle of wine for drinkers, small boxes of luxury chocolates, such as from Hotel Chocolat, a quality notebook (such as Moleskine) or cashmere socks (which you can pick up inexpensively from places like TK Maxx). All of these things can be picked up for around £5-£10 and will be more gratefully received than a huge box of 24 different scented bath salts from the local bargain shop.
For like minded green friends and family, why not consider doing a 'Charity Shop Challenge'. My sister and I did this last year, and it went so well that my other sister is joining in this year! So, the rules are that you have a budget - for us its £10 per person, and that all gifts must be from a charity shop. This is good in two ways as you get some nice things, which is recycling in itself, but your money is also going to a good cause too.If you have a few pounds left over - many charity shops now do lovely fairtrade teas, chocolates and spice grinders, which will finish off your charity gift bundle off nicely -  win all round.

Don't forget to take your re-usable shopping bag with you every time you go out, too. I have about 4 of these nylon shoppers, that I keep in various handbags. It means that when I'm out shopping - I don't need a plastic bag from the shop. There were people last weekend with piles of plastic shopping bags - like 8 in each hand. Most looked like they only had one small thing in each. Most of those people probably throw the bags in the bin when they get home. Start refusing plastic bags, and using your own and be instantly greener!

3. Re-gifting! The dreaded taboo! I personally don't think there is anything wrong with it if done in a positive way. Passing on the dreaded lavender bath salts from Aunt Frieda to your best mate is not cool. Passing them onto your friend's gran, who may actually love them is!
Does anyone actually use bath salts????
 If you get presents that you don't like or want, why not pass them on to someone who WILL like them, donate them as a raffle prize to help raise funds for your local school or club, or donate them to your local charity shop. Just because you don't like it, someone else most likely will.
So there we go! My tips for a greener festive season :)

18 comments:

  1. This is a great read and thanks for sharing. I think the charity shop challenge is a fab idea. I've been recycling gift bows, ribbons etc for years too. For that special someone in your life why waste money buying a personalised card year in, year out!? I keep mine and just put it out again the following year, hahaha! Happy Days!

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  2. Great ideas! About 15 years ago my mom made fabric gift bags. She tried to sell them at craft fairs and they fell sadly flat. Its too bad that I don't have the talent to jump on that bandwagon!

    http://kathrynscuriouslife.blogspot.com/

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  3. Great post! I'm with you, in fact the sight on festive tat piled up is starting to make me feel a bit queasy. I haven't sent Christmas cards for years, I like to 'wrap' gifts in a re-usable box or a cloth bag, I make lots of presents and the ones I do buy are special gifts...nice notebooks, jewellery etc..often made by fellow crafty bloggers. I'll be over to yours with my list very soon!xxx

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  4. I actually do use bath salts! They went out of fashion but let's face it they are similar to the stuff in bath bombs, cheaper, less bulky etc'.

    I always just re-use all my Xmas stuff and recycle the rest.

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  5. I too love to send Christmas cards, I cut the pictures from the ones I receive and either make them into gift tags or pass them on to my Mum who makes collages from them which become placemats for the Age Concern christmas lunch. She also gets any unwanted gifts for raffle prizes ;-)

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  6. Good tips Clare! :) I love sending cards too, but unfortunately people don't send cards that often anymore :(

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  7. Great tips! I don't have many presents to buy which I'm grateful for i think a lot of money is wasted at this time of year and I hate wasting money now.

    I do like to send cards and although I agree with you on the charity to a degree I also like to support small businesses who at the moment are really struggling.

    I would use bath salts but sadly I only have a shower :o(

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  8. Great post! I love wrapping gifts (I normally spend about 8 hours just wrapping every year!) but now I wrap all my gifts in colourful magazine pages and use real ribbon (which I afterwards gather up and reuse). My gifts look even prettier and I can choose wrapping to match the personality of the recipient :)

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  9. Another tip I have been thinking about is instead of giving "stuff" (i.e. cheaply made imported junk), give gift certificates to salons, restaurants or other services (like a house-cleaner once a month) that put money in the pockets of hard working people in your neighborhood! Plus, there is nothing to dust or re-gift! :)

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  10. Great post! I love charity shopping!

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  11. What great info.I normally save my wrapping paper and re wrap things in it if it hasn't been wripped and crinkled to death.and I always re use bows and if they lose their sticky I just get glue or tape and wing it.Newspaper also works well as wrapping paper.I used to use comic sections from the newspaper for nieces and nephews gifts.Not only are they fun and colorful for the kids.They can read the comics.Oooh bath salts.I would love them if I got them.I love bath salts.Thans for the green tips.I learned some new things.xx

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  12. Good tips! I think my mom has been re-using the majority of her Christmas bows since I was in high school, no joking! We wrap gifts in the basement, we open them upstairs, and the bows make their way back down to the basement every year. ;)

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  13. Thanks for your lovely comment on my body image post.. You giving me the chance to model for you also gave me a confidence boost :)

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  14. My in-laws and I wrap gifts in holiday themed/printed gift bags that get re-used year after year. I also re-use tissue paper (if it's in decent condition). I make my own cards and make gifts like hair flowers, necklaces, resin pendants, and paintings. I once got bath salts that I ended up throwing out after finding the container tucked away in my bathroom cabinet. I should have donated it like you suggested! Great ideas in this post for sure!

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  15. love the post dear!!
    xx

    www.aroundlucia.com
    www.aroundlucia.com
    www.aroundlucia.com

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  16. It's weird isn't it, that so few hairdressers can actually manage to cut a Bettie fringe?

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  17. Great tips! We always recycle our bags,bows and most wrapping paper.I also enjoy bath salts.

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