Six Ways To Green Your Christmas
Editors Note: This post is part of our Advent-ure Calendar, a series of Christmas inspired adventure posts and awesome giveaways we've created to Christmify Adventure this year! Our competition to win 8 amazing prizes will end 31st December, so sign up here to win before it's too late!
The festive season is easily the time of the year for over indulgence; extra calories, over spending and a few too many parties make for the typical December for most. But here at Lilly Wild, we don't like to follow the crowds, so we have asked writer, environmentalist and self-confessed nature geek, Rina Quinlan to develop a list of six ways for us to help minimise Santa’s heavy footprints on our beautiful planet!
1. The Gift Of Giving
it isn’t called Black Friday for nothing, from November onwards the build up to Christmas intensifies and it is a time for stores to pull out all the punches, with a multitude of offers and lots of shininess to lure us into purchase. And sadly, most of these items do not end up as much cherished presents for friends or family, but rather as one time only decorations or novelty items that end up straight in the bin.
So do not fall temptation to the ‘tat’ as many of our grandmothers would say. Avoid single use plastic, throwaway decorations and extra wrapping. Do you really get that much enjoyment out of cheap Christmas crackers? Just how much easier did using paper plates or a plastic table cloth make the day?
Good quality wrapping can often be reused or, better still, use your recipient’s favourite magazine or newspaper instead. Hand and/or homemade decorations can last a lifetime and even be handed down through generations that tell stories to future loved ones.
Speak with friends and family before the big day to explain how you would like to cut down on waste this Christmas and chances are you will find that they are just as happy as you are to do so.
2. Greening Your Gifts
For inspiration for homemade decorations, crafts and last minute gifts for loved ones, you might find yourself reaching for google, but how about setting up Ecosia as your preferred search engine and help them plant trees for each time you search?
Alternatively, sites such as Give as you Live donate money to your favourite charity every time you shop. Seeking out goods closer to home is always a preferred way to be environmentally friendly and as one of our 9 Adventurous Women Who've Inspired Us In 2016 Belinda Kirk has set the bar high doing this by asking all her friends on facebook to showcase their produce on her post so she can buy gifts that help boost their small local businesses as well.
3. Learn Something New In 2017
It is no secret to those that know me that I am huge learning geek, I love signing up to different learning experiences, and I just have to book on something new regularly to challenge myself!
Tease out of friends and family what they would most like to learn and book them an introductory course for the new year as a surprise gift on Christmas day. Even better if you can join them on the adventure!
Be it a new language, sport or hobby there is nothing better than learning something new together and spending quality time in the process. Experiences over buying things is scientifically proven to make you happier.
In addition, learning is a gift that does not necessarily need any money. My mum and I have just committed to a cooking/baking night every two weeks in 2017 to challenge us into making new dishes and even some old from my nan’s recipe books. How about thinking of skills that would benefit your time outside time, such as learning bird song, wildflower identification or improving your navigation skills.
4. Discover Nature
Whilst we are on the subject the most environmentally friendly and rewarding thing you can do this Christmas is get outside and enjoy nature at its finest.
Whatever the weather, our resident birds and Christmas favourites such as the Robin are often singing loudly throughout the winter, the sunsets and sunrises are spectacular and many of our most renown Christmas songs and traditions involve embracing our beautiful flora such as holly, mistletoe, ivy and yew.
The dark nights give rise to a sky full of stars in the winter months and right now the Geminids meteor is due to peak tonight over the 13/14 December, hampered only slightly by a bright full moon reflecting our closest star, the sun’s light on to our planet. So for a lightshow to rival any town Christmas lights head to somewhere with dark skies for an night under the stars and marvel at just how small we are in the universe.
5. Don't Buy, Repair Your Gear!
If you are camping outdoors this winter, the best thing you can do is splurge on repairing gear to get you through the cold spell.
I have the warmest sleeping bag that I have owned for a few years now, but it finally gave out last summer after I spent three months wild camping around the UK. Rather than repair I went for the easy option to buy new and have not been able to sleep as cosy since, so I have just taken it in to replace the zip at a cost of £30 in my local dry cleaners.
Not all gear can be repaired, but do not give up on equipment that has plenty of life left when it simply has a little fault. I recently discovered I Fix It which is an amazing site full of repair guides and hints and tips on how to repair a mind-boggling list of items, including outdoor gear.
One of Lilly Wild’s favourite brands, Patagonia, even offers repair workshops for free at some of their stores or you might even have a relative that is a dab hand at fixing items. Even better if your family keeps asking you what you would like for Christmas, it’s a perfect excuse to cheekily drop off any items for repair to them and it will feel like a new gift when it arrives back mended under the tree!
6. Get The Local On Christmas
Finally, one of the biggest ways we over consume at Christmas is in our diets and the long-awaited seasonal dinner. Vegan, vegetarian, meat eater, whatever your label (or not) is, the key at Christmas is quite simply, think local throughout the festivities.
If you are eating meat, buy local premium quality meat and eat less of it, look out for deals at your local farmers’ markets. Even alcohol can be sourced locally in the UK with English sparkling wine winning many an award in recent years. Obviously reducing packaging and buying whole ingredients to cook from scratch goes a long way, but the key is to also make it realistic for you to do so within your time and budget so you can keep to it. A huge difference can be made if everyone did just a little, for instance cutting ingredients like palm oil out of their diets and not drinking from plastic bottles or coffee cups, no matter how festive the design is on the packaging!
So get outside, learn, embrace adventure, repair, buy local and reduce waste this Christmas but most of all enjoy it and over indulge in all the good things outdoors!
This post is part of our Advent-ure Calendar, a series of Christmas inspired adventure posts and awesome giveaways we've created to Christmify Adventure this year! Our competition to win 8 amazing prizes will end 31st December, so sign up here to win before it's too late!
About Rina Quinlan
Rina is an aspiring writer, explorer, runner, conservationist, bookworm and wilderness enthusiast.
Follow Rina's journey on Instagram!