Wow…I just walked into the shops this weekend to find myself faced with shelves and shelves of Christmas goodies, baubles, tinsel, lights and the list goes on and on! It’s October with 8 weeks to go until Christmas and the retailers are all over the Christmas mayhem – let me reword that…the retailers are creating the Christmas mayhem! Most of these goodies are of course “made in India” or “made in China”. And although I do not have a problem with imported goods, I do have a problem with creating plastic junk that ends up in boxes in my house or in the dump.
I always try and look at the bright side of things, so I have decided that seeing that I do have 2 months to prepare for 1 day, I should not give into those last minute emergency gift buying sprees and start to think like the eco conscious girl that I am! #comestheresearch
Did you know?
1) Last year, 75% of people received a gift that they didn’t want.
2) 13.7% of people will throw away these unwanted presents
3) Gumtree estimated that 14.3 million unwanted gifts were given last year!
4) Aussies produce 40 million tons of waste every year and the festive season produces much of this!
Let’s get sustainable:
If you intend to buy a material object, think twice. Sometimes the stuff we like may not be wanted by someone else. This is well worth a watch and a laugh: “A house is just a place where we keep our stuff while we go out and buy more stuff: George Carlin”
Choose experiences over stuff or something to look forward to after the one single day
A voucher for a restaurant or even better, a cooking class?
A voucher for a gardening class.
A Digital Magazine or even a magazine subscription.
A voucher for a gym/dance/yoga/Crossfit/surfing class…the options here are endless.
A spa treatment.
Home-baked goodies – it’s not often that we actually take the time to bake something for a friend. Attach the recipe card. Certainly inspiring to get the person receiving the gift to make the same recipe again and remember your gift over the other stuff they were given.
Support the locals – go to a market and buy something handmade
Or get some vegetables and fruit delivered to their door the week after Christmas.
Nothing better than a gift that grows – so how about a tree, a fruit tree, herb pot or even a sprouter.
And last but not least inspire your family and friends to do the same.
Need more help choosing a gift?
Christmas is about giving and remembering why we give – let’s not let Christmas become about materialism and the turkey on the table.
If you are truly wanting a sustainable Christmas, then you would need to look at the foods you are consuming. Food choices have the biggest impact on the environment.
Steps to eat more sustainable this festive season:
- Consider what you are eating at your Christmas Dinner. Turkeys are one of the worst treated animals in factory farms so please think compassionately when you choose. There are plenty meat free options to choose from, many of which I will share on my blog.
- Eat less meat and more veg. A plant based diet is not only better for the environment but it is also better for your health. Try and at least commit to eating a flexitarian diet (consciously cutting out meat a few days a week)
- Eat less fish. 13 of the 17 major fishing zones are completely depleted of fish stocks and can no longer be fished. Fisheries are resorting to catching fish down the food chain – a sure sign that the ocean is in trouble. There is no such thing anymore as sustainable fish. 180 000 birds die each year using current commercial fishing methods, and for every 1kg of targeted fish caught, 9kg is considered by-catch and thrown back into the ocean, mostly dead. Bottom dwellers such as prawns are caught using drag nets which destroy anything in their path, including corals and other sea creatures. Sea horses are almost extinct because of our desire to eat prawns!
- Lastly, Christmas is a time to experiment with different and interesting foods. Shop the supermarket with new eyes and keep a look out for the brands that are truly ethical, sustainable and possibly family owned. Support these brands over the larger corporates. And of course, read the packaging and do your own research.
(couldn’t resist this pic…)
Let Christmas not be the time to let ourselves go. This is the best time to get outside, get some fresh air and our hearts pumping. In our time starved society, we rarely have the opportunity.
Tips to stay well:
- Start something new: see http://www.seed-blog.com/start-something-new/
- Restrict the amount of alcohol you consume. We all know too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. It just isn’t worth the hangover the next day, the night time sugar cravings, the lack of energy and the additional calories which you will be faced with having to deal with in January.
- Although festive season is a time where people tend to overeat, try and stick to some kind of ritual. I usually drink loads of water, eat really healthy meals when I am alone or at home giving me some scope to enjoy the dinners with friends or a treat or 2 when the time arises.
And last but not least, do something or give something to someone in need.
Adopt a grandparent who may not have family to share Christmas with, give to someone in need, or assist a community group with an initiative that they already have. By making someone else feel good, you too will feel good.
Here’s to a more sustainable, healthy and compassionate Christmas!