Christmas is the time of contemplation, peace, and being together. However, it happens all too often that the preparations for Christmas turn out more stressful than planned. When we try to find ‘the perfect Christmas gift’ or try to organize a wonderful Christmas for the family, we often forget to take a step back, take time for ourselves, or think about sustainability. To help you, we have put together some tips on how you can make this year’s Christmas calmer, more sustainable, and more ecological.
The Christmas tree is the highlight of Christmas and the focus of the celebrations. Sparkling lights, shimmering balls and cute figures make it a real eye-catcher in the living room. Many families choose to buy and decorate real Christmas trees. However, it’s worth remembering that the popular Nordmann fir tree is imported from the Caucasus region and many of the small trees that we buy in stores grow in monocultures and have been treated with insect repellents. All of these arguments speak against the conventional version and for a sustainable Christmas tree from an ecological point of view.
If you don’t want to do without a Christmas tree, we have a few tips that you can follow to find a sustainable Christmas tree:
Rely on regional tree species such as pine or spruce to help reduce carbon footprint.
Buy your sustainable Christmas tree from a regional supplier. Ideally, the tree should have been grown in a mixed culture.
Some suppliers and Christmas tree markets offer certified organic Christmas trees in their selection.
These come from organic cultivation.
You can also rent a Christmas tree where you receive a small tree in the pot, which will be replanted and used again. Enquire about this at your local forestry, tree nursery or plant nursery.
Bear in mind that...
Sustainability also plays a major role in Christmas tree decorations. It’s best to do without plastic decorations and use classic decorations such as straw stars, dried orange slices, apples and nuts.
When it comes to Christmas decorations, feel free to be as creative as you like while allowing yourself to be mindful of sustainability. Sustainable Christmas decorations made of natural materials are the best choice because they help protect the environment, give a cosy feeling to your home, and look chic. Pine cones, fir branches, nuts, apples and oranges are synonymous with Christmas. They are perfect for DIY sustainable Christmas decorations, and you can reuse them every year.
Festive lighting is a core part of the Christmas season for many people. You can act ecologically and use LEDs instead. These use up to 90% less electricity than traditional light bulbs. Also, you could reduce the amount of glowing Christmas decorations. Just bring out the highlights occasionally. This will also save you money in the long-term.
Don’t forget the natural candle lighting this Christmas. Just be aware that many candles are made with petroleum or palm oil, which is a burden on our environment. To be more environmentally conscious use candles only sparingly or reuse candle scraps to pour new candles. Also, beeswax candles from regional beekeepers are a great and a sustainable alternative.
Try adding timers to all of your decorations that require electricity so that the decoration only lights up when it is actually seen.
Whether you are preparing Christmas dinner, strolling through the Christmas market, or getting last-minute gifts – if you pay attention to a few extra things, you will act environmentally conscious and reduce your ecological footprint:
Check if there are any organic or vegan Christmas markets near you.
Markets offering regional products are also more sustainable.
You can find sustainable Christmas decorations and unique gifts at flea markets or in second-hand shops. You can bring old objects to life again. You can also use
Upcycling instructions to transform old clothes into modern and chic Christmas decorations.
If you go to the supermarket during the Christmas holidays, you should plan carefully beforehand and check your supplies. Always write yourself a shopping list.
It is best to try to buy loose products and use reusable packaging rather than prepacked items. This way you can largely avoid garbage.
It’s even more sustainable if you buy your products at the local market.
They usually sell mostly regional products.
Everyone looks forward to the delicious Christmas meal. In many families, roasted meat or fish dishes are lovingly prepared and enthusiastically eaten. You can follow these tips to be even more mindful of the environment while enjoying Christmas dinner:
When it comes to chocolate, look out for quality labels such as “organic” and “fair trade”.
If you want to be especially conscientious, look for meat that has the “organic” label. Even more ideal would be to buy meat from regional sources.
When it comes to fish, you should only use products with environmental seals such as “MSC” or “ASC”.
Buying regional and seasonal fruits and vegetables is much more sustainable. Red cabbage and Brussels sprouts, for example, can be harvested locally in winter.
You can look out for the “organic” label on spices that you may need for baking cookies and other things.
If you want to try something new and be particularly sustainable, you can try a vegetarian or even vegan Christmas dinner this year.
Try to avoid pre-made products. Home-cooked food tastes great and is kinder to the environment. You can also make some absolute Christmas classics like mulled wine yourself with a few of your favourite
Use many of these tips not only at Christmas time, but with every purchase. In this way, you actively contribute to environmental protection.
The hunt for the perfect Christmas gift can be nerve-wracking. We often worry about what we could give and aren’t satisfied with just one gift. We want to make sure that there are as many presents as possible under the Christmas tree and by doing this, we focus on quantity rather than quality. Christmas doesn’t always have to be about the amount of the presents. We are often happy to receive small, thoughtful gifts and gifts that come from the heart.
Children love it when they can open the first little door in the Advent calendar on December 1st. Again, it’s not that difficult to find an environmentally conscious alternative. For example, you can easily make an Advent calendar yourself from small jute bags and reuse it year after year. Fill the doors with treats and things that are useful or your child will really enjoy. You child will have the perfect start to each day!
Sustainable Christmas gifts tend to be long-lasting and can therefore be enjoyed for a long time. Also, quality, sustainable products should have little or no negative impact on people or nature. It is worthwhile thinking of ideas of gifts that will be well-loved and enjoyed. Many families only exchange little Secret Santa gifts at Christmas – or several family members will club together for a larger gift. These ideas make it easier to keep track of the gift planning and even leave you some time to relax in the lead up to Christmas.
Here are some more tips and ideas for sustainable Christmas gifts:
Ask for a wish list to avoid unwanted gifts.
Think about giving a homemade gift: delicious cookies, a homemade jam or sustainable homemade Christmas decorations.
Perhaps the most valuable gift is the gift of time spent together. For example, vouchers for a day for two or tickets for a concert.
You can make precious and unforgettable memories together.
Another idea is to donate to a non-profit organization on behalf of the recipient. This could be an animal sponsorship in the nearby zoo or a donation to a charitable organization that is particularly dear to the recipient. This type of gift has a real positive impact and feel-good factor.
Did you know that..
At Christmas there are often mountains of paper waste. The majority of this is wrapping paper. In our article “Creative gift wrapping” you will find paper-saving and ecological ways of wrapping gifts attractively.
Create space for yourself so that you can slow down and relax over the Christmas holidays. Our tips for a sustainable Christmas season can help you reduce the stress of Christmas through targeted planning. Take an afternoon or evening here and there for yourself and do something you enjoy. That could be a few cosy hours with a good book or a day out with the family. It is important that you listen to yourself even during the stressful Christmas season and take well-deserved breaks.
To be able to really enjoy some quiet time, it is helpful if you divide up the tasks (such as decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents or preparing dinner) and make a plan in advance. This allows you to work through everything in an organised manner and know that you have planned breaks to look forward to.
Try to be mindful at Christmas and enjoy the festivity with all your senses. Have conversations with your family and enjoy the small gifts that you exchange. If something goes wrong, don’t be upset, it is important that everyone feels comfortable and appreciates their time together.
Acting environmentally consciously is not as difficult as you might think. If you pay attention to a few things in everyday life and choose regional and/or organic products when shopping, you will make a major step towards more sustainable living. Once you get through the Christmas season sustainably and mindfully, your journey does not have to end there. You can use many of these tips all year round and actively protect our environment.