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Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

By Amy Durrant
  • Creation Care |
  • 260 People are praying for this

    Here at Interserve we are passionate about caring for the incredible world that God has given us. How can we make eco-friendly and sustainable choices over the Christmas season?

    Below are a number of ideas to help you ‘go green’ this Christmas. But a word of warning – don’t try them all at once! Admittedly some ideas may cost a little more, but other ideas cost little or nothing, and may even save you time and money. Maybe you could pick one or two to try out this year, and if it goes well then build on these for next year. We’d love to hear how you get on..

    1. Food

    Could you reduce the meat on your menu this Christmas? You can compare the carbon footprint of various meat, fish and vegetable choices here.

    Talk to those you are celebrating with – would they consider some alternative recipes to reduce the carbon footprint of your meals? Check out vegetarian recipe ideas at www.vegsociety.org or for vegan recipes try Jamie Oliver Vegan Christmas recipes. If a turkey or other meat is the centrepiece of your Christmas meal, try to source free-range or organic, and buy from a local farmer or independent butcher if possible.

    “A high-meat diet causes environmental problems, be it overgrazing of land, pollution, or the intensive use of water or fossil fuels.”
    arocha.org.uk

    Fruit and Vegetables Home grown vegetables are the ultimate way to reduce your carbon footprint, but sadly not a possibility for many of us.. Source locally-grown vegetables if available, try a home delivered organic box, or visit oddbox.co.uk for fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Don’t forget to compost fruit and veg peelings at home or via your local green waste collection scheme. 

    Support farmers’ livelihoods by choosing fairtrade or locally produced chocolates or wine, whether treating yourself or as a gift for someone else.

    Lots of leftovers? Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for some great ways to stop leftovers going to waste, or consider the River Cottage ‘Love your Leftovers’ Recipe Book as a great gift idea to request for yourself or give to friends or family and help fight food waste all year round!

    If you end the Christmas season with unwanted food items or gifts, you can also pass on what you no longer need to people who live nearby for free by using the Olio app. If there is an active Olio community near you, this can also be a great way to pick up food items for free that would otherwise go to waste.

    2. Christmas Trees 

    Real or fake? During the typical 10 year lifespan of a real pine or fir tree, it provides a habitat for wildlife, absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere – a service that cannot be provided by artificial trees! The Carbon Trust state that a real Christmas tree has a significantly lower carbon footprint than an artificial tree. Buy a tree that is FSC certified or locally produced if you can, since many trees are grown in monoculture farms with high chemical input. Find out more via British Christmas Tree Growers Association (bctga.co.uk) 

    Even better, renting a Christmas tree is an increasingly popular and sustainable choice – find out more here: countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/interiors/a29695669/rent-christmas-tree-cotswold-fir

    3. Christmas Decorations

    There are loads of ways you can reduce waste and promote beautiful eco-friendly decorations around your home or office. Here are a few ideas:

    • Invest in a reusable or refillable advent calendar – or buy or make one as a gift that will last for years to come!
    • Make or buy wreaths or decorations from natural materials instead of plastic. Enjoy a winter walk and see if you can find fallen pine cones, holly, ivy or rose hips for natural decorations. Try searching pinterest if you’re in need of some inspiration!
    • Switch to LED Christmas lights, and/or put your Christmas lights on a timer to save electricity.
    • Try buying beeswax or soy based candles rather than oil based ones.
    • Make your own eco-friendly crackers – this could be a lovely activity to do with adults or children in the days leading up to Christmas! Or buy re-useable or ‘green’ crackers via notonthehighstreet.com
    • If you can’t do without baubles and tinsel, visit your local charity shop for great Christmas bargains while also keeping used items out of landfill and supporting a great cause.

     “If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas.”
    veganfoodandliving.com

    4. Cards and Wrapping Paper

    Buy Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved cards and wrapping paper, then re-use and recycle what you can afterwards. The FSC label ensures that it has been produced sustainably and ethically. Avoid foil based cards and paper that cannot be recycled (check the labels before you buy).

    We are delighted to partner with Just Cards Direct, an award-winning Christian card company offering cards printed in the UK on sustainably sourced FSC paper, and sustainably sourced gifts that fairly support craft makers in South Africa and Rwanda, and partner with a number of Christian charities. If you buy Christmas cards or gifts from Just Cards Direct, we can receive 10% of the order value at no additional cost to yourself. Just shop on their website and then scroll down to select ‘Interserve’ charity donation on the checkout page: visit justcardsdirect.com/about-us

    Alternatively, go zero-waste by sending free e-cards and avoid the cost of stamps as well!

    5. Gifts 

    Stuck for gift ideas?  Rather than buying something that may end up unwanted and unused, why not give the gift of your time instead? Make a voucher to offer to cook a meal or host afternoon tea, take someone out for a drink or coffee shop treat, or offer an afternoon or evening’s babysitting. Homemade gifts are always appreciated if you have the time.

    Consider giving a donation to charity or a ‘Gift for Life’ available from many charities this Christmas time. 

    Reusable cups, straws, drinking bottles and fabric tote bags make great stocking fillers!

    For more gift ideas: Plastic-Free Christmas Gift Ideas (countryliving.com) or www.Woodlandtrust.org.uk 

    6. Christmas Clothing

    Looking for a new outfit for the Christmas season? Buy second hand clothing where possible, stopping these items going to waste and saving the water, chemicals and resources that are needed to make new item of clothing. Try looking in charity or vintage shops for unique pre-loved clothing, or shop online at sites like ebay and vinted for some great bargains and even plenty of ‘second hand’ items that have never been worn..

    If buying new, buy clothing made from organic cotton, linen, hemp or bamboo or other sustainably produced fabrics. For more information: 30 Sustainable Fabrics For The Most Eco Friendly Fashion (sustainablejungle.com) 

    If you’re looking for a Christmas jumper or pyjamas, consider a seasonal design that you could happily wear all winter instead of just for a few days. Charity shops can be great options for picking up Christmas jumper bargains for adults and children, but these can sell out early in December – don’t leave it til the last minute or you may be disappointed!

    7. Travel 

    Walking and cycling are both carbon neutral and also great for your health and wellbeing – is there any way you can include a walk or bike ride as part of your Christmas travel plans?

    Sadly this isn’t always practical when visiting friends and family during the winter season! If you can travel by public transport then do so – if not, consider off-setting the carbon from your car journey via Climate Stewards: www.climatestewards.org 

    Photo by Genessa Panainte on Unsplash

    Which of these ideas will you try out this Christmas? We’d love to hear from you…

    This post was originally published by Interserve as ‘Tips for an Eco-Friendly Christmas’ in 2021, and has been updated and refreshed for 2023.

    Thank you for commiting to praying

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