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10 tips to make your Christmas more sustainable this year.

10 tips to make your Christmas more sustainable this year.

It's the little changes that will make the biggest difference.

A recent stat that I came across was that Australians receive 20 million unwanted gifts at Christmas every year. It's a stat that we most definitely should not be proud of given most of that will end up in landfill.

Over indulging in food, decorating and present giving is such a trap during this festive period so I thought I'd share my 10 top tips on how to make your Christmas more sustainable. I've purposely included tips that don't take a lot of time as I'm sure you are as time poor as me.

1. Give an experience instead of a thing to your nearest and dearest.

Many years ago, my siblings and I decided to start giving our parents vouchers for them to do something. From memory it was the Christmas after we decided to give them a saucepan designed just for pasta, which may have been used once or twice ever. Ever since they've enjoyed concerts, cooking classes, wine tastings, fine dining meals and overnight stays. Things that they will remember much more than a pasta cooker!

2. Organise a sustainable Kris Kringle for your office or extended family.

A $2 shop is not the only place where a few coins go a long way. And they should not be the destination for your next office Kris Kringle - why not instead suggest to everyone that all presents come from the op shop. You'd be surprised by the quality of stuff you can get.

3. Use solar lights instead of plug in lights

This is a no brainer considering solar lights seem to be in abundance at Bunnings these days. We've had our solar lights for years and they just keep going and going.

4. Use plastic free sticky tape

This is another no brainer considering that paper tape is so common these days. When we first made our shipping completely plastic free, we spent ages trying to source a supplier that didn't cost the earth. Nowadays you can get it at any good office supplies shop.

5. Use the ethical search engine Ecosia to research ethical gifts.

We first learnt about Ecosia when we started getting sales through it. It's run by some amazing souls who divert 80% of its advertising revenue to reforestation projects in Brazil and Indonesia. How awesome is that!

6. Buy sustainable Christmas crackers

I have so many fond memories of gathering with the extended family for Christmas lunch as a child. The Christmas pudding and Christmas crackers were obligatory. What I don't like thinking about is that plastic trinket that I played with for maybe a few minutes is still in landfill somewhere out there. Thankfully there's some great sustainable Christmas crackers on the market - or you could always make them yourself.

7. Organise a buffet set-up for lunch rather than piling everything on people's plate.

When I was researching this blog, I came across this idea and thought it was such a smart tip. Only the person eating knows how hungry they are going to be. By getting them to serve themself, they more than likely will only serve what they will eat so anything left at the end can be used as left overs.

8. Do not buy cling wrap!

Cling wrap is the most useless and wasteful food storage solution on the planet. A good old container is a far superior option. And if you really need to use some sort of food covering, then there are so many sustainable options out there these days like beeswax wraps.

9. Try and do most of your food shopping at the market

I know not all of us have access to markets but if you do, take the opportunity to shop there. You may not get the reward points but what you will get is the freshest produce, which means you'll end up buying a lot less processed food that goes in a lot less plastic packaging (come prepared with your reusable bags). This then means your left overs will be able to be composted. And if you don't have access to a compost, check out sharewaste.com where you can literally find someone else's compost bin to donate to!

10. Give to charity or buy from brands who give back.

The best presents for me are the cards that tell me that that person has donated to a charity rather than give me a thing. There are so many NGOs and wonderful charities that are doing it tough right now at a time when their support is so very much needed in the community. During these tough economic times, we may not be able to give as much as we'd like so why not divert that money that you've budgeted for a present to a charity. You will make a lot of people happy!

Soapy hugs.

Emma xx