We are all in this together, but if a few of us start to make wiser eco choices, it will start the ripple effect and others will catch on. In fact it makes for a more meaningful Christmas. It is a fantastic time to show our children how we care for each other and the planet.
'Use it up. Wear it Out. Make it do. Or do without'. American Office of War, 1944
We know we cannot afford to have the excessive Christmases that we've been used to in the past. We would do well to acknowledge that everything that we grow, that is alive in some way, comes with a higher environmental price that we might have realised.
Here are our Wild Ivy Top Tips for having an eco friendly Christmas in 2021.
Pre Christmas - Clean Up
Before the holidays, go through your home and start to declutter.
Go through your things and make room for the new things that will be entering your home (this is also a great time to evaluate if you need anything at all).
This is an excellent opportunity to donate your gently used items, especially around this time of year, when a lot of families are in need.
Get in touch with your council and ask for a clearer way to recycle, cards, trees, paper, food. Be pro active.
Do a family secret Santa and choose one big present to give. Be specific to your family about what you really want for Christmas.
Don’t be afraid to regift, up-cycle, buy something second-hand. Raid the charity shops.
Consider gifts that will promote sustainable living or getting in the great outdoors such as A Wild Ivy Gift Card for instance!
Buy ‘green’ gifts that are third-party certified which is the best way to determine if a product is environmentally friendly. Look out for established, respected logos, such as:
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Palm Oil Free
If you are crafty.. Make it Yourself
It's fun, more affordable, a mindful way to give which holds a lot more meaning. Get some friends over for a 'making' session or come along to one of our Wishing Tree 5th Decermber Wild Ivy Retreats. We making eco decorations for you to take home.
You could sew some reusable produce bags.
Knit some kitchen cloths
Make some homemade body butter and lotions.
Christmas biscuits, biscotti, fudge, bliss balls.
Jams, chutney's and sauces.
Kombucha starters, keffir grains (see Wild Ivy for more info)
Mulled wine, punch, lemon, lime bitters.
Get rid of the wrap
Simply do not buy wrapping paper. Eco wrapping is much funkier in 2021. Try these ideas;
Use old newspaper or brown eco-friendly paper. Wrapped with twine and decorated with nature.
Use last year’s Christmas cards as tags.
Opt for fabric wrapping it's a great way to live a little greener and reduce waste this festive season. Use old material, sourced at charity shops, sarongs, tea towels.
Keep the ribbon material and recycle. Save everything!
Buy plantable Christmas cards or send e-cards
A zero waste alternative is plantable Christmas cards. When the biodegradable paper is planted in a pot of soil, the wild seeds will bloom and grow and eventually the paper will decompose.
Recycle your cards, or better still send an e-card. Such as our original designed Wild Ivy Christmas card, designed by Rosie.
Plant a tree instead of cutting one down.
The average Christmas tree is cut down after 7-10 years of growth! But the average lifespan of a tree is 400 years. If we let one year’s worth of Christmas tree grow, rather than cut them own, they could absorb over 880,000,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, throughout their lives.
Skip the tree.. draw a picture of a Christmas Tree on a chalk board, or large piece of paper and sponsor or plant a tree. Come to our Wild Ivy Wishing Tree event on 5th December and we will plant a tree for you with The Woodland Trust. Your £5 donation will cover nurturing, planting and protecting trees in damaged ecosystems.
Renting a Christmas tree locally is one of the kindest things you can do for the planet, as each tree gets replanted at the end of the festive season. Take it home for Christmas, decorate it as usual and enjoy it in your home. Once January comes around, you can drop it back off where it will be replanted for next year. you would prefer to buy one, choose one with an FSC Certification to confirm that it has been sourced sustainably.
After Christmas, why not place some of the pine needles into a small cloth bag to make your room smell as fresh as can be?
Decorate a plant or foraged piece of branch, hang with bits and bobs. Cover with lights and hang with hand made nature decorations.
Buy a Christmas tree with a root. Plant in the garden and decorate one for the animals.. see our Wishing Tree retreat.
Have yourself a veggie little Christmas
Veggie Christmasses is on the up. It’s certainly a terrifying time of year for many farm animals. The meat and dairy industry is responsible for more emissions than all the world's planes, trains, cars and boats put together.
Try to make sure any meat or dairy products you have don’t come from intensive farms.
Go for a festive spread with mainly plant based ingredients. Reduce the amount of meat you eat.
When it comes to the vegetables, look out for products that have been GROWN nearby so you can cut down on transport. Ideally from farmers markets.
Cut food waste
When you're food shopping, try and choose things that are light on packaging, or buy loose items, whole lettuces, not bagged salad.
And if you end up over-catering, don't just bin what's left. Transforming leftovers can be a great way to create new meals, save money and cut waste.
Use the freezer, or why not donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen.
Compost any other waste.
Re-wear your Christmas jumper
Environmental charity Hubbub warns against buying new Christmas jumpers after finding that up to 95% of them are made using plastic. The most common plastic fibre used is acrylic, which was found in three quarters of the jumpers tested (research was conducted into 108 jumpers from 11 different high street and online retailers this year).
'We'd urge people to swap, buy second-hand or re-wear, and remember a jumper is for life, not just for Christmas,' says Sarah Divall, Project Co-ordinator, Hubbub.
Reuse yesterday's decorations
We don't need a new look every year. Put up last years decorations.
Choose nature.. and get crafty with foliage, ivy, holly, branches ordaining your house.
Avoid anything with glitter or tinsel which is not biodegradable.
New Years resolutions
Instead of imposing the impossible promises. Why not make a pledge for the environment?
Forage for your food. Join one of our foraging days at Wild Ivy Retreats and learn how to take time out and feed yourself for free from the hedgerows and fields.
Swap to a plastic free household.
Garden sustainably and apply a no dig policy. Let your garden go wild!
Reduce travel. Cycle and walk more.
Try eating meat or fish just once a week.
Go easy on yourself. We are all feeling fragile and overwhelmed by recent events... let go of living up to everyone else's expectations. Say no to more things... do what makes you feel good. See people who lift you up and don't beat yourself up if something isn't low waste. The point is that if we all just tried to do the little things we are able to do, it can add up to make a huge difference.
"I think sometimes we need to take a step back and just remember we have no greater right to be here than any other animal''.