Celebrating Christmas the Eco Way
20-Dec-2012 Contributed by: *Guest Contributor Jade Nisrine
By Jade Bouzoubaa
When a friend of mine knocked at my door to bring me this strange herb pot with Father Christmas lying in it, I rapidly got the idea of writing an article about how to celebrate Christmas in reducing its impact on the environment.
Christmas is fast approaching and consumers are storming to department stores to find all sorts of items: clothing, perfume, chocolates, cuddly toys, furniture, appliances, etc. In brief, the list is long, and let us not forget the decorations (more and more extravagant) which plunge us into the magic of the last month of the year.
Unfortunately, all these traditions have an impact on the environment, an impact that is not insignificant. This is why I would like to suggest you some tips to help celebrating a beautiful Christmas while reducing the impact on the environment.
First of all, it is essential to know as soon as you buy a future gift, it is not only the article itself that you’re buying, but also all its packaging and decorative paper. Once the item is selected and packed, you have to be able to carry it taking most of the time a bag which is made of ... plastic!
That's why my advice would be to choose the least packed products when you have the opportunity: especially the over-packaged ones (ex: plastic cover + elastic + manilla paper + cardbox + plastic, ...).
Then it would be a smart move to bring with you a basket or a bag made of fabric (or any other natural material) before leaving home to go shopping. And then in terms of wrapping paper, nothing more satisfying than preparing presents at home (at least the easiest to do), you do not lose more time queuing in shops, you can use recycled / recyclable (even some fabrics), and feel the joy and excitement thinking about the one who will receive it.
A second important tip is the inside and outside decorations. This may not be your case, but one of many people in the world: decorate their house until it no longer looks like a house, but rather like a gingerbread ! I’ve personally always been amazed to watch an over-decorated house, decorated with great taste, but if everyone starts to do the same in the neighborhood and even to organize a best decorated house competition ... the electricity bill consequently becomes extreamly high, and the global consumption as well, resulting once again to amounts of garbage and hazardous waste (batteries, light bulbs, plastic, ...) to the environment.
Let us try rather to amaze ourselves with simple decorations and / or in small quantities (ex: two small illuminated bushes next to the door, a beautiful wreath hanging on the door, a nice christmas sock in front of the fireplace, a little crib, a natural Christmas fir (they do not participate to deforestation but to a perpetual plantation dedicated to Christmas), don’t change christmas balls every year and put too many electric lights above but rather garlands, put on the table some pretty candles (not scented) which will give a charming subdued light, some figures here and there and that will be good enough. Swich perhaps the lights off before you go to bed. Keep it simple, it is what is most stylish and best for nature.
It is true that some people choose the easiest way buying disposable tablecloths, tumblers, plates and plastic flatware: they do not have dishes to do, they sort out nothing and put everything in large plastic bags which will go straight away to the trash can. Of course, it is not the clearest solution. Better to lose 10 minutes between each dish for washing in order not to find a messy kitchen the next day. Another good tip would be to use a tablecloth made with fabric, it’s reusable and much prettier. For lunch, choose healthy foods, not pre-cooked and over-packaged.
To conclude, it is not useless to make us attentive to materials used in the manufacturing of presents. Indeed, first risks are aimed to babies and children who receive plastic presents, dangerous material for the health, which is often touched, inhaled, put in their mouth, etc. Do prefer noble materials like wood. Moreover, the less children play complicated games, very noisy, overly bright colors, artificial touch, the more they’ll become calm and imaginative. Concerning food, cosmetics, clothing etc. choose noble materials too, stemming from fair trade and / or organic. Finally, for household appliances, choose those that are in the "green category" due to their low energetic consumption (and are often noiseless).
To finish with, we can also work for humanitarian aids and help first those who are needy, before thinking about yourself, it will give us good conscience to finish the year with a flourish.
- Avoid plastic (packaging, toys, preparing the table)
- Noble and recyclable
- Pack presents by yourself
- Decorate simply and limit the use of high-consumption bulbs
- Turn off the lights before going to sleep
- Energy-saved household electrical appliances
- Eat healthy
- Reduce waste
- Think about the usefulness of the presents you want to buy for someone
- Make a charitable donation and/or purchase items whose sum will be partly donated to humanitarian/ecological projects, or for the protection of species or reforestation.
Merry Christmas Everybody !
My name is Jade, I’m originally from France, 20 years old, studying Physiotherapy and I’m also doing some modeling.