Decorations are a huge part of Christmas. The first string of electric lights were invented by Thomas Edison, the Christmas tree was first introduced to the UK by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, and the snow globe was, allegedly, invented by mistake by a mechanic who was trying to improve the light bulb. Christmas decorations as we know and love them have been around for over a century, and many of us love to keep things traditional during the festive season.
However, in more recent years, a great deal of criticism has fallen on the Christmas period for its lack of sustainability. Sadly, many of our Christmas traditions are significantly damaging to the environment, from our gift wrap, to the Christmas turkey, to glittery and disposable decorations, and even the Christmas tree itself. Most of us aren’t going to want to give up these traditional elements of festive season, but thankfully we don’t have to! Small changes can go a long way in making your Christmas much more sustainable this 2019.
Sustainable DIY Decorations
Each year, hundreds of disposable Christmas decorations are thrown out in the UK. A lot of these aren’t recyclable and end up going on to damage our wildlife and release microplastics into our oceans. Making a few simple swaps when it comes to your Christmas decorations this year can not only help to save the planet, but also your wallet.
Many people love to use their advent calendar to decorate a room and make it look much more festive. However, a lot of waste comes along with the vast majority of these, which are usually comprised of plastic, card and silver foil. However, not to worry! This year you can enjoy the countdown to Christmas with a bingo advent calendar. These are great because there isn’t all the waste of a typical advent calendar, and it’s arguably a lot more fun. The game features downloadable bingo tickets, which contain mini festive challenges such as “go Christmas shopping and moan about how busy all the shops are”, or “Make a festive donation to a charity of your choice.” You tick the challenges off as and when you complete them through the festive season, and the first player to tick them all off wins. This is sure to inject even more excitement into the Christmas countdown, whilst simultaneously benefitting the planet. If this happens to get you hooked on bingo, then keep an eye out for what new bingo sites 2020 have to offer this coming year. Online versions of any game are generally a lot more sustainable but can prove to be just as fun.
Paper chains are always popular at Christmas time, especially if you have kids who love crafting. However, in a lot of crafting packs for paper chains, the links are made from glossy, shiny paper that can’t be recycled. Instead, make your paper chains from scratch, with regular paper that you can add your personal touch to by decorating with colouring pencils or pens. Alternatively, you could use cotton string and dried out orange slices to make a pretty, festive garland, which can either be recycled once the festivities are over or kept for reuse another year.
Popcorn Tree Garland
Another great way to be more sustainable with your Christmas decorations this year is to opt for a popcorn tree garland over tinsel. Many people in the UK rebuy tinsel every year, either because it disintegrates whilst in storage, or because they want different colours on their tree each year. Sadly, tinsel is another festive culprit that is terrible for the environment and releases lots of microplastics. Popcorn garlands, on the other hand, are basically zero waste because you can of course enjoy the popcorn as a yummy treat during the festivities. All you need to make one, is popcorn, a needle and thread and maybe dried cranberries or raisins for that extra special added flare.
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas
Going eco-friendly on your homemade decorations this year is a great step in the right direction, but wrapping our gifts up more sustainably is also important!
Use Pretty Fabric
A great way to be more sustainable with your gift wrap is by opting to use pretty pieces of fabric instead of paper. You can find nice fabric affordably in charity shops, sewing shops and online, and you can reuse your fabric for gift giving year to year.
Use Recyclable Paper
Avoid glossy, shiny paper at all costs! This sort of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, and you are much better off going for brown paper, or anything else that clearly states that it can be recycled.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the decorations and beautifully wrapped gifts, but fortunately you don’t have to compromise these factors in order to be more sustainable and eco-friendlier this Christmas.