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Wednesday 18 December 2019

Helpful Tips : How to Have a Low-Waste Holiday !

"The festive season can generate spectacular amounts of waste, more so than any other time of year, with plastic packaging, boxes, wrapping, sticky tape, bottles and food waste piling up throughout the entire period. Being a busy time of year, we can find ourselves rushing around to meet multiple deadlines, attend events, shop for gifts and also catch a moment to enjoy ourselves. It is no wonder that we feel like we have to go bananas in shopping malls and overstock on absolutely every item possibly required before stores briefly close.

We hold out hope that the festive season doesn’t have to follow this seemingly inevitable tradition of stress and wastefulness, and so have put together a few tips on how to reduce waste to zero while keeping your cool these holidays.

Preparing For Christmas 
Much waste during the festive season can be avoided with some preparation and communication. Coordinating with friends and family can mean you work out exactly how you want your holiday events to be planned, whether or not you’d like to exchange standard gifts, what kind of food everyone can eat and who can bring what. It also means the load can be shared so the pressure of forgetting something can be mitigated and you’ll be less likely to overstock yourself.

There are many ways to avoid getting people presents they won't enjoy or use. Maybe some family members mean it when they say they really don’t want anything this year? Discussing whether you’ll exchange gifts and what kind of gifts you’d like to give is a fantastic way to eliminate unnecessary spending, stress, wrapping paper, sticky tape and ribbon.

On top of making a pact with your loved ones surrounding gift buying, you could consider waste-reducing alternatives including:
Homemade gifts - cooked treats including slices, cookies and jams are always well received. You could even prepare some thoughtful, personally-blended essential oil sets, potted plants from cuttings or seeds, or if you’re extra crafty, knit, sew or build something special for your loved ones.
Buy pre-loved - pre-loved clothes and homewares can make fantastic gifts and the thrift store shopping experience is far less anxiety inducing than navigating packed out malls.
Gift experiences - buying a gift experience provides intangible and memorable moments for friends and family. Passes to museums, galleries or the theatre encourage people to get out and absorb the culture in their community. Yoga, dance, cooking or music classes can also be wonderful for the body and mind. There are endless options when it comes to gifting experiences, and they can be the most meaningful of gifts.

Creatively avoiding wastefulness with gift wrapping can be fun! Use the old wrapping paper you’ve bundled up in a cupboard somewhere with string to negate the need for sticky tape, repurpose newspaper or beautiful magazines, use vintage scarves, fabric off-cuts with ribbon, or try jars and bottles. We usually have so many materials lying around the house, ready to be reincarnated, that can add a touch of personality and charm to any gift - it would be a shame not to use them.

Making your home feel festive with decorations is one way we get into the feel and excitement of the season. Luckily, decorating and creating a holiday atmosphere doesn’t have to be wasteful.

Some great alternative decorating tips include:
Use homemade baubles - less likely to break down like plastic baubles, home-made decorations created from wood, pinecones or fabric are charming and long lasting.
Burn long lasting toxin-free candles - cinnamon and ginger scented candles not only emit a festive aroma but provide warm twinkly atmosphere that could even replace Christmas lights.
Orange with cloves – insert whole cloves into the skin of a whole orange to cover, with 1 cm gaps, for a fantastic smelling, bright decoration.
Create fabric bunting of silk and miscellaneous fabrics to replace tinsel and hang around the home.
Use solar Christmas lights - if you love the Christmas-light-adorned home during the festive season, opt for lights that can be charged with solar panels which are both environmentally conscious and cost effective.
Rent or grow a potted Christmas tree - rather than using a plastic tree or cutting down a real tree just for the holiday season, you can keep your own real tree in a pot in the home and replant in your yard after Christmas. Alternatively, there are also some fantastic companies like Living Christmas Tree who will rent out potted trees in various sizes and replant or return them to a nursery after Christmas to save real trees being thrown out with the rubbish/trash.

Catering and Cooking
The festive season is all about home cooked spreads of delicious dishes but haven’t we all experienced the weeks of leftovers, some of which must sadly be thrown out?

To reduce waste and get the most out of the festive meals:
Coordinate with family and friends to bring a plate and balance the spread with the right amount of sweet, savoury, salads, breads and proteins to avoid too much or too little of anything.
Encourage your friends and family to bring reusable containers for leftovers to avoid using plastic wrap and to make sure you aren’t left with more than you can eat.
Try to get a good idea of exactly who will be attending your festive functions to cater enough for different dietary requirements.

The best thing about a waste-free holiday and festive season is the creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into it, making for an enjoyable, calming and memorable time with the people you love the most."

The above from an article by Laurentine ten Bosch here

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Tom said... seems that we go out of our way to make things too complex, particularly at Christmas.

dellgirl said...

You have really created an interesting and informative post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It is so helpful because you explained it so well. Thank you for sharing such an informative post. This is good to know.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, dear friend!

Jeanie said...

this is a terrific post, Jan, with lots of really excellent and very do-able tips. Thanks for this.

Rain said...

Great post! And so important to remember to lower the waste. When you mentioned reusing wrapping paper, for some reason it got me thinking about a show I watched called Extreme Cheapskates. One of the men on that show was so cheap that he would find gifts for his wife at the local dump then he'd wrap those gifts in garbage bags lol...yes, that lowers the waste, but

Elephant's Child said...

Great tips. thank you.

Christine said...

Great tips, thank you.

peppylady (Dora) said...

Me I stay with in budget, never forget those who our less fortune, and resue where you can.

Linda said...

These are good ideas. We mostly wrap in gift bags and use them over and over.

Lady Fi said...

Good tips! I've been wrapping up presents in old newspapers since I was a teenager!

Jo said...

Some very good tips.

Valerie-Jael said...

Thanks for the good advice! Valerie

Margaret D said...

There can be so much waste at Christmas time in all ways..
Merry Christmas to you both..

My name is Erika. said...

Fascinating post. It is true with all the packaging and other "things" that the holiday can just be a huge creation of waste. Hope your holiday is wonderful and not full of waste. Hugs-Eriika

CJ Kennedy said...

Great ideas.

Lady Caer Morganna said...

I feel the same way, lots of waste at Christmas time - great tips!!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Most of my non artistic friends are sick of me giving handmade gifts. For some of these friends, I donate in their name, like one cat lover friend gets a year of membership to give the gift of animal rescue in their name. Another friend gets a gift of donations to the Wounded Warrior Project. And one gets six months of fresh fruit sent their way. That same friend donates a tree in my name every year. For my foodie friend Sally, I asked her to give me a list of three things she would love to have, but wouldn't buy herself. Then I pick one and get it for her. Saves me having to make gifts and saves the idea that they won't like the gift. No wrapping, either.

I read an interesting statistic recently. 82% of all U.S. households buy artificial trees. My next door neighbor buys live trees and plants them after Christmas. Great post, Jan.

Divers and Sundry said...

These are great ideas. Thanks!

sage said...

Good ideas! May you have a blessed Christmas and a incredible New Year.

Mary Kirkland said...

Great tips. Very informative.

Laura. M said...

Os deseo una Feliz Navidad 🎄🕯🕊 Que pasés Todos unos buenos días.
Un abrazo.

Angie said...

Jan - effective ideas. Everyone can find something here - if we all do one thing, it will make a difference! I remember when I was a child, my Mom encouraged us not to rip the paper so that it could be re-used the following year (and maybe the year after that)!

happyone said...

Lots of good advice.
We're not exchanging gifts this year but I do a lot of baking for people.

Lee said...

I'm flying way low below the radar throughout the Festive Season. My two furry mates and I will be taking things very easy...very quietly. :)

betty-NZ said...

These are some fabulous ideas!

My Corner of the World

baili said...

these are wonderful tips for making less mess on festival :)

Lisabella Russo said...

These are wonderful and creative ideas, thank you! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season.

Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent post! Thank you Jan! Big Hugs!