I love Christmas - Its such a wonderful time, filled with joy, gifts, yummy food and family togetherness. Unfortunately, the one thing that I can't ignore about this holiday is that it is also filled with unnecessary excess and waste.
The good news is that there are simple, easy things we can all do to create a more environmentally friendly (aka "green") Christmas.
Here are a few tips on how to have a green Christmas this year:
Christmas cards: Ridiculous amounts of Christmas cards are sent out every single year and a large portion of them will be thrown away after the holidays (its a fact). To help cut down on card waste, rather send e-mail cards or text messages. If you must or really want to send out some cards, make sure you send recycled cards, especially recycled cards from charities.
Wrapping paper: This year, rather make the wrapping of the gift part of the gift - use a pretty scarf, a table cloth, a nice beach towel or a reusable shopping bag as your wrapping. If you do want to wrap something in paper, use recycled wrapping paper and use ribbon (or string) rather than sticky tape.
Gifts: Often the best eco friendly Christmas gifts come from creative ideas, rather than things. Here are a few gift ideas:
* Buy gifts that can be used long-term.
* Try choose a gift that is made from natural, organic or recycled materials.
* Rather give an experience as a gift - like a annual pass to the aquarium, some yoga lessons or a concert ticket.
* Give a living gift - like an indoor plant or herb and vegetable seeds to help someone start a food garden.
* Get crafty - If you can, why not make your own gifts.
* Make a donation - you can make a donation to a friend's favourite cause or you can adopt a penguin in their name (click HERE for more details)
Candles: Over the festive season, people love to use candles. When buying candles rather choose soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based candles.They are eco-friendly, biodegradable, are usually smoke-free and are widely available (note: Wellness Warehouse stocks a great range of eco-friendly candles).
The tree: This year why not opt for a live, potted tree or plant. After Christmas it can be re-planted outside or kept inside to decorate your home.
Lights: Make sure you get energy saving light bulbs for your house and try out solar powered lights for outdoor areas. Also, remember to turn lights off whenever you can.
Food: Make an effort to buy local and organically grown food. Avoid buying food that is overly packaged. Try minimize your food waste by not buying excessive amounts (your waistline will thank you later)