Get ready for a conscious Christmas
Are you ready to tackle the last instalment of 2021? I have high hopes for this Christmas as last year's edition was fifty shades of tame - spent glued to the sofa with Covid - so we’re determined to make the most of it this year. But with all the excitement also comes the overwhelm and the over consumption, plastic tat and unwanted presents. With a little planning we can party with less and be kinder to the planet. Whatever you do remember good is better than perfect, if everyone changes one habit it can make a massive difference!
PLANNING IS KEY
The ideas below don’t necessarily cost a lot but they do require a bit of prep, gathering of materials or going through second hand shops with a fine tooth comb. Drafting a list across all categories needed for your Christmas celebrations eg: decorations, food, gifts, outfit, will avoid over-spending and the last-minute wobbles of ‘I don’t know what to buy so let’s get a useless gadget'. We’ve all been there as 62% of Brits still leave their shopping until the week before Christmas which makes for questionable purchase decisions.
Get asking what people REALLY want! Kids won’t mind starting their Christmas list early. Grown-ups (including you!) should also work on their wish list. I used to think surprises were a must for Christmas and birthdays, that it was a bit forward / borderline rude to spell out what you really wanted. But now I’m being more pragmatic and specific – because if I ask for something I’ve been lusting over for a while I know it will bring joy and be money well-spent!
A tight gift shopping list will help reduce the £700 million worth of unwanted presents distributed each year. Also take time to look at what you can re-use from last year (decorations, cards) to minimise superfluous purchases.
MEMORIES OVER MATERIAL
Now more than ever time spent together will be cherished and we’ll want it to be as special as possible. I will try to keep material gifts to a minimum to focus on making memories. Exciting experience gifts are predicted to be high on the shopping list as people just want to get out and do things – weekends away, unique meal experiences, pampering and indulgence – all the things we missed during lockdown times. I will also look at online courses - what’s best than the gift of knowledge to expand your mind or learn a new skill!
UNEARTH SECOND HAND TREASURES
Now you have your list and a bit of time until the big day, it’s time to get searching. Second hand is great for special occasion items as most haven’t been used much if at all, so you can unearth gifts in perfect condition. Take baubles and garlands – some households go for a different look every year, personally I’m looking forward to foraging in charity shops to compose a new set after about 15 years of using the same gear! For Christmas crockery you can indulge in a few festive-themed serving plates for less, whilst making up the back story behind each piece.
Toys are also worth researching. So much plastic and money going down the drain at the end of each year, why not look for preloved baby paraphernalia, festive kids clothes or toys that have barely been used - toddlers won’t care if they're in their original packaging or not.
REUSE & MAKE
Making a gift for loved ones gives a warm and fuzzy feeling, it also gets us into the party spirit as everyone in the family can take part! Who doesn’t love a homemade gift with a personal message. Sweet treats are an obvious choice, I also love making bath bombs with the kids, or homemade cards and beauty products.
This year the trendiest Christmas decorations will be in rustic, earthy style so why not having a crack at it yourself? Think about how to use wood, pinecones and dried fruit. I have a thing for dried oranges and clementines, the smell is 100% Christmas and they make for such pretty garlands! Foliage and berries will make fab colourful decorations.
It’s time to ditch traditional wrapping paper for good - Greenpeace found that 1kg of wrapping paper is responsible for more that 3kg of CO2 emissions during production. Also the vast majority of festive paper can’t be recycled, as a lot contains plastic with glitter or laminate finishes. The easiest way to check if your paper is recyclable is to scrunch the paper in your hand: if it remains scrunched it's recyclable, if it springs back it's likely it's covered in a plastic film that can't be recycled.
What are the alternatives to wrapping paper? I love gift bags because they can be endlessly re-used if looked after well enough! Brown paper is having a moment surfing the rustic trend and can be easily pimped up with foliage, stamps, ribbons. There are also recycled wrapping paper alternatives from companies like Paperchase. Finally this year I will be getting into furoshiki, the Japonese art of wrapping in fabric – so you can use beautiful fabric from old clothes, or a scarf so the wrapping becomes a gift in itself!
SHOP SMALL AND SUSTAINABLE
Amazon receives 47 orders per second on their busiest day in the run up to Christmas. Needless to say they won't suffer too much if you take your custom elsewhere. Give small businesses a boost to keep the variety of the offering going - and allow small business owners to do the little celebratory dance! Shop at your local gift stores to keep your high street alive and kicking. Finally, look out for slow fashion brands with solid sustainable creds - the good news are these are on the rise whilst nearly half of fast fashion retailers report a decline in sales - conscious consumption is in motion.
CHRISTMAS SEQUINS FOR LESS
Glitter and sequins at the ready for the end of the year parties! There might be a dress hidden in your closet that's dying for a new outing - this will definitely be the most sustainable outfit choice! If you fancy some novelty, you can still spend mindfully and consider preloved - check out our pristine selection of party wear at Clementine Loves , go explore other preloved or fashion rental sites to give a dress a new lease of life – tis’ really the season to shop more consciously!