Top tips for sustainability this Christmas

Top tips for sustainability this Christmas

a crocheted snowflake hanging on a christmas tree with other paper and wooden baubles

Could hand-crafted gifts help you to cut costs this Christmas?

With the festive season upon us, there often comes with it a tendency to over-indulge in those things that shimmer and sparkle.

Consumerism has become synonymous with the holidays, as we fixate on finding the perfect gift or stressing about what we’ll wear to the staff party.

But in the midst of a cost of living and climate crisis, we could all stand to do a little more to cut down on our spending and wastage this Christmas.

The average person in the UK will spend £602 on Christmas presents this year, christmas-shopping-statistics#:~:text=Brits%20are%20expected%20to%20spend%20an%20average%20of,from%20an%20average%20spend%20of%20%C2%A3429%20in%202022.” data-ylk=”slk:according to recent Finder research.;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link rapid-noclick-resp”>according to recent Finder research.

This is an increase of 40% from a planned spend of £429 per person in 2022.

So despite the frosty financial climate, it seems that Brits are still planning to splurge on this year’s celebrations.

But what if instead of buying into the glitz and glamour on the shelves, we gifted our loved ones personalised, handmade presents to last a lifetime.

Santa’s Workshop

Avid crafter Marta Pulencika crocheted most of her gifts this year, from scrunchies and cardigans to dog jumpers, as well as DIY decorations for her home.

“I prefer to make gifts for my loved ones because it feels much more special and thoughtful than buying one from the high street,” she said.

a crocheted snowflake garland on a wooden table alongside fairy lights

Ms Pulencika adopted a snowflake theme for her home décor this Christmas

“It shows that I have spent time on creating something that is one of a kind, rather than grabbing the first thing available to me,” she continued.

“Christmas can also be a very wasteful time of the year. Giving them something they will truly appreciate can cut down on the waste created,” she added.

“Being creative is just another way I can express my love and appreciation to the people in my life. Be creative, get inspired and who knows, you might find something that you’re really good at,” Ms Pulencika added.

Sprucing Up

In the spirit of being green, why not rent your festive fir and watch it grow taller each year?

Around 8.5 million Christmas trees are cut down and used in the UK each year, with very few environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of them.

Christmas trees at a Christmas tree farm

After last Christmas, Bristol Waste collected 187 tonnes of used trees from across the city

Tom Vear from Rental Christmas Trees offers around 500- 600 trees still alive in their pots, for people to rent and then return after the holidays.

“We re-rent about 80% of trees to the same customers each year,” he said.

“We store and nurture your tree all year until you are ready to house it again,” Mr Vear added.

His top tips for sustainable tree decorating include glass baubles, handmade decorations and LED lights, which use 80% less energy.

Thriftmas Season

According to Oxfam, it’s estimated that 7.8 million Brits will buy clothes this Christmas that won’t see the light of the new year, and 61% of people won’t re-wear something they wore last Christmas.

Sophie Saint, also known as ‘Saint Thrifty’ on social media, is an advocate for sustainable style and second hand fashion.

Sophie Saint sitting at a table and laughing

Sophie Saint said a “host of treasures” can be found by shopping second hand

“Fast-fashion advertising forever has the underlying message that you need something new and that you should ‘treat yourself’, so they prey on this, especially over Christmas,” Ms Saint said.

“The volume of Christmas jumpers and sequined party dresses I find in charity shops post-Christmas shows how fleeting these purchases last in one’s wardrobe, and how many would end up in landfills,” she continued.

“I like to show how second-hand is not second best – it’s a brilliant way to sustainably purchase clothing and gifts. There’s so much amazing stuff out there!”

Watching your waste

Overbuying and overcooking is so common during the festive season that it has almost become a tradition.

It is estimated that UK households create 30% more rubbish than usual at this time of year.

Hannah Deas, from Bristol Waste Company, says: “During the festive period, our recycling trucks will collect lots of extra waste from residents including food waste, plastic packaging, all that extra cardboard from online orders, and used Christmas trees.”

Mince pies

Over the festive season, the UK throws away the equivalent of 74 million mince pies in food waste

“Choosing more sustainable options doesn’t only save you money, reduce carbon emissions and minimise plastic pollution, but they can make unique, thoughtful gifts and prevent overflowing bins after Christmas,” she added.

“It means that you can still have a traditional Christmas with gifts and decorations, but without the hefty environmental price tag,” Ms Deas continued.

The company’s top tips for avoiding wastage this year are opting to wrap with recyclable brown paper, giving pre-loved gifts, freezing leftovers, and sticking to a shopping list.

Bored of your board games?

Research by Mattel revealed that board games are a Christmas family tradition for 57% of households, with an average of four games being played over the festive season.

But the likelihood is that some have tested your patience for the last time and are now collecting dust.

Lorna Richardson runs the café at Sparks Bristol where this Christmas they’re hosting a board game swap.

“We wanted to have a place where people who may not have a lot were able to get something to give out as a present, or maybe just wanted a new game to play with family,” Ms Richardson said.

“I think it’s great to share something you don’t use yourself anymore rather than it go to waste,” she continued.

“We’re trying to create Christmas with a difference, less consumption and more reuse and recycling,” she added.

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