Arts & Crafts
Faithful To Nature Season’s Greenings
When it comes to celebrating all that the wonderful festive season has to offer Faithful to Nature prefers to make as little impact as possible.
Here are are six areas where you can make a significant change to the impact your Christmas has on the environment. “These tips, green gift guide, eco considerate decor, wrapping ideas and earth conscious festive fare will make your festive season light and bright without costing the earth in her other four seasons”, says Faithful to Nature founder, Robyn Smith.
Eco Decorating Ideas for Christmas
Decorating your home for the holidays is one thing that makes it really feel like Christmas. Although we don’t have all the snow, eggnog and fireplaces, we do have swimming, cold beers and a braai. However, in this hemisphere of sunshine and fun, there are a few things we can do to minimise the waste that the season of silly can create.
- Use LED or solar lights instead of power-hungry incandescents, and remember to replace burst bulbs, instead of throwing the whole string away.
- The majority of Christmas crackers, especially the little toy inside, end up in landfills. Either forgo the cracker, or opt for DIY ones which you can fill with something edible, or actually useful. Here’s a template online for making your own.
- Use soy, beeswax or vegetable oil candles over paraffin candles, as they are better for the environment (and soy wax can also be used as a moisturiser or massage oil, so it’s a double win).
What’s the greenest Christmas tree?
Balsam firs, a traditional tree used at Christmas, doesn’t grow well here in the warm Southern Hemisphere, so find something that suits your aesthetic, which can either be repotted, planted or composted.
- You can buy a Japanese Cedar (cousin of the American Cedar, also used as a Christmas tree) at nurseries which really looks the part.
- Artificial trees are generally felt to be bad for the environment – they use non-recycled and non-recyclable materials, and tend to be thrown away within a few years, filling landfills for years to come. However, if you already have a fake tree, use it every year for as long as you can, and care for it so you don’t have to throw it out.
- If you’re getting a Christmas tree for the first time, choose a live tree in a pot, and repot each year to accommodate growth, until it is too big, then plant it outside. If you choose a cut tree, make sure it is composted correctly.
Some tips for eco-wrapping ideas
Unwrapping gifts is one of the great joys of the season, but the piles and piles of torn paper afterwards is an eco-nightmare. Follow these tips and tricks to keep your Christmas from becoming wasteful.
- Rather buy reusable flax or fabric bags which can be used again and again, year after year.
- Consider a nice tin, decorative tea towel or scarf that can be part of the gift and used again afterwards.
- Minimise the use of sticky tape, as it can’t be recycled. Fold cleverly, or use ribbon and string to keep parcels wrapped instead.
- Buy gift tags embedded with seed instead of standard ones, or reuse old gift cards and wrapping paper scraps as tags.
Green gifting inspiration
When choosing gifts for your nearest and dearest, you can do better by choosing them gifts that support the environment rather than tearing it down. Buy fewer gifts that are chosen well, over a multitude of cheap items that will end up in the bin.
- Choose gifts that are sustainable or locally made to minimise the carbon footprint and shop online to reduce trips to malls.
- Give plants, herbs, or seeds as they are gifts that keep on giving (along with any care instructions, to make sure they stay alive).
- Minimise spend on battery operated goods – batteries cannot be recycled and end up in landfills most of the time. If things need power, buy rechargeable and solar power sources.
Eco entertaining considerations
Getting together around a picnic blanket, braai or table forms part of most of our celebrations. However, lots of the food we buy at this time of year is imported for traditional reasons, causing huge impact on the environment. We are lucky here in the south, to have loads of seasonal options, so choose those wherever you can. They will be more delicious and much cheaper too.
- When you are making so much food, remember to compost the cut offs.
- Make sure to store your leftovers in reusable containers. Instead of foil or cling wrap, which can’t be recycled, use Spaza covers for covering large platters or carafe tops. They are ideal and reusable.
- Defrost and clean out your freezer in the weeks leading up to Christmas – it will work more efficiently, and you’ll have more space for storing those leftovers.
- Use proper crockery, cutlery and glassware wherever possible, and if you must use disposable, or compostable cutlery and bowls.
- When it comes to napkins, even if you take manufacture and washing into consideration, cloth napkins (especially linen napkins) are better for the environment than paper napkins.
Here are more tips on how to have the greenest Christmas yet.
Browse the Faithful to Nature Christmas Gift Shop to find ideal gifts in categories like the Green Thumb, Eco Warrior, Yogi, Entertainer, Conscious Kids, Mindful Man, Enlightened Lady and more and also have a look at all their eco wrapping options.