We love Christmas – the time spent with family, friends and our cherished loved ones, the (usually) gorgeous weather for our summer celebrations here in Australia and bringing joy to those we love by giving a gift that shows we have put a lot of thought and care into what they would like.
But then comes Boxing Day, and some of the post-Christmas guilt slowly starts to creep in. You know, the bloated belly, twinging headache, leftover filled fridge, and where-can-I-even-fit these-toys kind of over-consumption guilt that we can’t seem to avoid, no matter how we try.
But not this year! Because with a little forward planning, and our 5 tips for a more sustainable Christmas, you will wake up Boxing Day satisfied after an Eco-Friendly Christmas, that still had just as much joy, good food, laughs and gifts, without all the extra ‘stuff’.
Eco-Christmas tip 1: Scrap the Wrap
Perhaps the easiest sustainable swap for Christmas (and any gift giving for that matter) is to forget the wrapping paper, swapping for the Furoshiki technique to wrap your gifts. Instead of the single use, barely noticed paper, you can use interesting fabrics of any kind, perhaps some you find at the seconds shop, or themed pieces you’ve chosen specifically for Christmas. Not only is it just as beautiful, but it is also a reusable option, meaning you save money while also saving the environment from unnecessary landfill!
Tip 2: Have less waste this Christmas with pooled catering.
Traditional Christmas hosts, hear us out here. We know you love the back breaking work of planning, shopping, playing Tetris with all the ingredients in the fridge, prepping, cooking and serving up a Christmas spread that will be talked about for the ages….but when you’re throwing out mountains of leftovers days later, do you still think it was really worth it?
This Christmas, why don’t you share the load, by asking guests to bring along a bowl – perhaps a salad, a potato bake if you like a hot lunch, or the pudding, and make it clear that it should only be enough to cater for the number of guests you are expecting. Then, at the end of the meal, divvy up whatever is left over between everyone, and send it home in the bowls they came with. Your friends and family are sorted for an easy Boxing Day Cricket lunch, and you’re saved from eating Christmas leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner, before eventually throwing what’s left out (read: wasting money).
BONUS SUSTAINABILITY POINTS: Encourage your guests to make meals from locally grown, in season produce wherever possible. Supporting your local growers also helps in reducing the impact made by transporting food, and supports your local community.
Sustainable Christmas tip #3: A few versatile pieces = a bunch of different Christmas outfits.
We love to dress up for a special occasion – and Christmas is one of the most special of all – but all of those Christmas events at work, the kids’ school, with friends, in the community and with our family, can quickly add up to a lot of different outfits. But - you don’t need to buy into fast fashion pieces for every event (and the Earth will love you if you don’t). Instead, choose to invest in versatile pieces that can create a number of different outfits to suit any casual or formal get together. Our Natali The Label bamboo clothing range has been designed so it can be worn to any and every occasion, mixing and matching pieces to suit the event so you don’t feel like you’re outfit repeating (not that there is anything wrong with that!). Not only is it super soft, draping perfectly for a feminine silhouette, but it’s so comfy, you won’t be desperate to undo a top button after Christmas lunch!
This Christmas, go the eco-friendly option and invest in staple pieces that can pair with your wardrobe, make you feel fabulous, and that you can trust to last. Consider giving your family and friends the same luxury next Christmas (or special event) by gifting them their own chic and comfortable bamboo clothing, or a voucher to pick their own favourites .
Eco-friendly Christmas tip #4: Sustainable gift giving
Hands up if you have to practice your ‘oh thanks, this is great!’ face and voice before Christmas Day, because you know Cousin Glenda (twice removed) is probably going to gift you yet another pungent hand cream and bath bombs…..when you don’t even have a bathtub.
So many gifts are returned or thrown away because there’s no room in the house for them, people don’t like them, or they don’t need them, and let’s be honest, buying gifts for everyone can get very expensive. In fact, in 2018, an estimated $400million was spent on 10 million unwanted gifts, that were likely discarded or ended up in landfill. If that’s you, it’s time to introduce Kris Kringle into your family Christmas. Everyone coming to Christmas day celebrations only buys ONE gift, either for a specific person who’s name they have pulled from a hat, or to go into a pool of gifts for a hilarious pass the parcel style game after Christmas lunch. Because how many hand creams/toy tractors/cheese platters/embroidered handkerchiefs does one family really need?
BONUS TIP: Why not give your loved one an eco-conscious gift this year? We love reusable bowl covers – which can also come in handy Christmas day – and are usually available at your local craft markets where you can support a small local business with your purchase. Other ideas include plants, especially those of the edible kind, skin or body products that are refillable, recyclable, or include earth loving ingredients, or even an experience to be shared with you – as the gift of your time and presence is sometimes the greatest present of all in this busy world.
Tip 5: Decorate with beauty, and sustainability.
We’ve been sold a story that in order for our Christmas to be worthy of an Instagram tile, it has to be shimmering with subtle glitter, sequins and fairy lights, that the centrepiece of the Christmas table needs to be up with the new style yearly, and that the Christmas tree decorations must follow the latest colour trends. But you know we have never been one to blindly follow trends, instead we love to forge our own style path here at Natali The Label and Christmas décor is no exception.
This year, instead of giving into the revolving display of Christmas decorations, why not make your own – like this dried orange slice garland that can decorate your tree or walls and smells beautiful. Take a family walk around the neighbourhood to collect fallen branches, swapping flowers with neighbours to adorn your shelves and tables, or search the local op shop for beautiful linen napkins, napkin holders, or decorative pieces that could be given new life with a coat of paint, or a reimagined use.
Add to the joy AND sustainability this Christmas.
Christmas is a cherished time of year full of wonder and wonderful people. We hope that this year, you can use these helpful tips to make it your most eco-friendly Christmas yet, reducing your environment impact but still adding to the absolute joy of the season. Together, we can all work on creating new Christmas traditions that are good for the environment, and still just as magical for our families.