Words by Savannah Greyvenstein
Christmas is around the corner, and I could not be more excited! And while, to most, it is the most wonderful time of the year, it’s not the most eco-friendly time of the year. With this in mind, here are a few fun tips on how you can make this Christmas a green one!
Choosing the Right Wrapping Paper
While normal wrapping paper can be cute, its effect on the environment is not so cute. The materials used include glitter, foil and plastic lining, which makes it very difficult for recycling and it normally just ends up in landfills. Brown, recyclable paper is always my go-to, and even though it looks a bit boring, you can add beautiful reusable ribbons to make it look pretty.
Get the kiddies involved! Gather up some plain white paper sheets, and ask them to draw beautiful Christmas pictures – this will make the gift so much more personal and special!
If your gift consists of a scarf or clothing item, wrap the rest of that person’s gift with the material. It looks super cute! Or, you can copy our #bosslady, Lorinda Scott, who likes to use the fabric shopping bags from Woolworths as gift bags. They are really affordable, come in a great range of colours and are reusable!
Decorate Your Tree with Natural Elements
Get rid of those plastic balls and opt for some DIY, natural tree decorations instead, and most of the stuff you need is right in your garden! One idea is to grab some leaves, pull out the paint, and paint tiny Santas on them. This is a unique, creative idea that comes in handy when trying to keep kiddies occupied during school holidays!
You can also gather up some sticks and make a stick Christmas tree. All you need is a few sticks, some ribbon and a glue gun. First, make a triangle, then fill in the gaps with sticks, and end it off with a ribbon at the top for hanging purposes. Or, you can take a walk with the family, gather some pinecones, add some ribbon, and voila – easy as pie! You can even use food: take a few cinnamon sticks, wrap them together with some ribbon and hang them, or thread string through popcorn and add it to your tree. They look beautiful and smell great!
There are so many natural alternatives you can try! Things like fruit, sticks, pinecones, wine corks, toilet rolls and even old reading books can be turned into gorgeous Christmas decorations. Also remember, Pinterest is your friend!
Ditch the Plastic Tree and Get a Real One
What says Christmas more than a Christmas tree in the corner of your lounge, lit up and setting the tone in your home over the festive season? This year, instead of pulling out that old, dusty plastic tree, go out and get yourself a real Christmas tree! Not only does buying a real tree give money back to the local economy, but it also helps to stabilise soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife.
Real cedar Christmas trees are not only good for the environment but they can also help you! Cedarwood helps to deodorise indoor environments, repel insects, prevent the development of mildew, improve cerebral activity, relax the body, enhance concentration, decrease hyperactivity, reduce harmful stress, ease tension, clear the mind, and encourage the onset of quality sleep. The earthy smell of a real cedar Christmas tree in your home this year will make your Christmas a whole lot more special! And, because we are so blessed to have beautiful summer days in January, you can recycle your tree into firewood for a braai with your friends and family, or you can just plant the tree in your garden after the Christmas festivities.
You can get your cedar Christmas tree at The Christmas Tree Farm at 3 Valley Road, Winterskloof, Hilton, or the Rotary Club of Zimbali also sells real Christmas trees in Ballito. Instead of throwing your old plastic one away, maybe consider donating it to a family or children’s home in need of some festive love.
Grow Your Christmas Greeting Cards
Yes, you read correctly. Grow your greetings cards. “Growing Paper” is a proudly South African company that produces 100% handmade, affordable, recycled, plant-able and biodegradable paper products that grow into beautiful living herbs, vegetables or flowers when planted. And best of all, they supply Christmas greeting cards with a variety of designs to choose from which you can buy on their online store! I don’t know about you, but I love this concept!
Make Your Christmas Feast Plant-Based
If you want to go the extra mile, why not try a meat-free Christmas feast? With all of the substitute options we have these days, it makes it super convenient to go meat-free! If that seems a little daunting, try doing meat-free Mondays during the holiday season. Instead of using cow’s milk, try a non-dairy substitute like oat milk. By replacing meat with vegetarian sources of protein (such as nuts, seeds, beans and lentils), we can reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are some plant-based meal and dessert ideas for your Christmas table:
- Cranberry and lentil bake
- Green bean casserole
- Beetroot and red onion tarte tatin
- Roasted cauliflower
- Fry’s golden crumbed schnitzels
- Veggie lasagna
- Mushroom and leek pie
- Soya curry
- Vegan carrot cake
- Zucchini brownies
- Dairy-free cheesecake
Imagine if every single person in the world used one day (such as a meat-free Monday or a veggie Christmas) to try and make a difference, what we could accomplish in the long run. With all the above options and more, why not use this special day to try and make a difference on Christmas this year? It’s the small things that count!