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I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

'Tis the season for sustainability and here at Little Orangutan we believe that Father Christmas should be the only one leaving large footprints this festive season so read on for tips on ways to reduce your Christmas carbon footprint!

girl holding a christmas present wrapped in a fabric scarf

Did you know that the average person spends £600 on presents (roughly 50% are unwanted), We spend about £220 more on food in December. Our energy bills increase due to heating and Christmas decorations and we typically travel 50 miles extra by car. Oh and we also send about 20 cards by post. [Source: “How Bad are Bananas?”, Mike Berners-Lee]

So as the festive season approaches, it's time to deck the halls with sustainable choice. It’s an ideal opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment whilst also saving money, not only that but there are so many different ways you can be more sustainable at this time of year on a varying scale that your loved traditions can still exist!

In this quick guide, we'll explore practical ways to make more sustainable choices in three key areas: Food, Travel, and Gift-giving.

Sustainable Christmas Feasts (Food):

Transform your Christmas dinner into a sustainable feast:

  • Locally Sourced Ingredients: Opt for locally sourced, seasonal foods to support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.

  • No Red Meat Christmas: Cut out red meat this Christmas to reduce your footprint. You don’t have to go fully veggie or vegan. Just cutting out red meat can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, you can still enjoy your beloved turkey dinner.

  • Pause and reduce before hitting the tills: When you head out and brave your Christmas food shop, just before you head to the tills to pay, take out 10 items from your trolley. Chances are you have more than enough and you’ll be helping remove the 30% of food waste we create during this period.

  • Mindful Meal Planning: Plan your festive menu carefully to minimise food waste. Consider leftovers for creative post-Christmas meals.

Greener Journeys (Travel):

Travel sustainably to spend the holidays with loved ones:

  • Carpooling or Public Transport: If possible, choose carpooling or public transport for your Christmas travels to reduce individual carbon emissions.

  • Virtual Celebrations: Consider virtual gatherings to cut down on travel altogether, fostering connections without the need for physical journeys.

Thoughtful Gifts (Gift-giving/Presents):

Make a list and check it twice for eco-friendly presents:

  • Experiences over Things: Consider gifting experiences or subscriptions instead of physical items. This reduces material consumption and provides lasting memories.

  • Don’t buy anything!: Ok this one may be quite a significant change, but rather than buy anything, why not do a present swap with friends and family, we all know the expression “one man’s rubbish, is another man’s treasure” - so why not swap around unwanted items this year so they can end up with someone that will truly treasure them.

  • Second-hand doesn’t always mean bad quality: Hit the charity shops, Vinted and eBay this festive period and chose to create a circular economy by shopping second hand for your gifts, you can make it a fun challenge by hitting the charity shops, or if you know specific gifts people want, look for them second hand on Vinted and eBay or even Facebook Marketplace. Often second-hand is as good as new!

  • Shop local sustainable businesses: Support your local climate champions by shopping at small businesses dedicated to protecting the planet

  • Upcycled or Handmade Gifts: Get creative and crafty! Upcycled or handmade gifts add a personal touch while minimising the environmental impact.

This Christmas, let sustainability be the star on top of your festive tree. By making mindful choices in food, travel, and presents, you can enjoy a festive season that's not only full of cheer but also light on the planet. Embrace the joy of giving without compromising the health of our beautiful earth.


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