After another very tough year, most of us are looking forward to some festive fun! Christmas 2020 was a difficult time for most of us. Stricter lockdown restrictions meant we couldn’t spend time with our loved ones and even getting to the shops was difficult.
The temptation is to make up for it this year by going all out on food, presents and celebrations with friends! At Giant Peach, we’re looking forward to the festivities. But we also want to be mindful about how we celebrate and consider the impact that we could have on the environment.
So, here are our top tips for having a mindful, sustainable and merry Christmas.
1. Support ethical businesses
Christmas is the busiest time of year for retail businesses, and while the big players might have tempting deals and super quick shipping, it is a wonderful time to support ethical businesses.
Everything we consume has a carbon footprint, so it’s worth buying local if you can. Not only is it better for the planet but it supports your local economy too. And by shopping with smaller, independent businesses you often end up with something beautiful and unique, along with the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a small business.
There are lots of ways to shop from independent businesses online, with website platforms like Etsy, Folksy, eBay and Trouva.
2. Go for experiences over things
As we become more aware of the impact of consumerism on the climate crisis, Christmas gifting can feel excessive. One way to treat our loved one’s while being more mindful about accumulating unnecessary goods is to buy gift experiences instead of ‘things’ that they might not need.
A trip to the Theatre (pandemic regulations allowing), a voucher for a guided hike in a beautiful mountain range or even a National Trust membership are some examples of experiences that will create wonderful memories.
3. Get creative with your wrapping
As more and more people are becoming aware of the amount of rubbish they’re sending to landfills, the trend for eco-packaging is growing. In the UK, 277,000 miles of wrapping paper will go to waste over the holiday season! Paper with glitter, metallic details of heavy ink unfortunately can’t be recycled.
A more environmentally conscious way of wrapping presents is to use brown craft paper as your base, then get creative by adding colourful string, ribbons and winter foliage.
For a truly instagrammable gift, check out Pinterest for inspiration! Sprigs of eucalyptus or pine not only look festive but smell amazing too. Or you could use dried oranges that have been baked with cinnamon or cloves. The smell of Christmas!
Another eco solution is to wrap your gifts in a beautiful fabric. The great thing about this is that the fabric can be used year after year, making it one of the most sustainable options.
And instead of paper or cardboard gift bags, you could try using a beautiful fabric drawstring bag like this version made by an independent crafter.
4. Donate to charity
Charities always need support, and after almost two years of repeated lockdowns, they need it more than ever.
One way to give something back this year is to donate a small amount of money to charity instead of sending Christmas cards. Not only make sure that organisations get some extra cash, but it’s also better for the environment.
Some charities also sell their own Christmas gifts, as a way of making it easier for people to support them. For example, you could buy a school bag for a child in a developing country for just £12 through Save the Children. There’s a comprehensive list with lots of different charities options here.
You can always donate your time to a local charity too, or donate to your local Food Bank.
5. Whatever you do, don’t panic buy!
Issues caused by the pandemic, Brexit and even the Suez Canal disaster are having a knock-on effect to supply chains all over the UK.
It’s likely that supermarket shelves won’t be restocked as quickly as normal – but they have assured the public that the goods are there!
And when it comes to buying presents, try to shop when you’re in a relaxed mindset and be aware of the marketing ploys designed to make you want to overspend. Deals like 3 for 2 can be useful, but only if you really need those items!
6. Be mindful, grateful and merry
Finally, take some time to enjoy some moments of quiet amongst the madness. Christmas can be a stressful time for many people, especially if they have to work over the festive season.
Rather than get carried away trying to make everything feel perfect, try to relax and enjoy the simple things! Wrapping up warm and going for a walk on a crisp day or enjoying a hot chocolate on the sofa while watching your favourite movie can be some of the best things about Christmas.
Whatever way you celebrate the festive season, we hope you have a great one!