Christmas is now around the corner, and sustainable initiatives can be easily shelved for the next year. Throughout Cheltenham, we have been spotting recyclable wrapping paper and food packages, which are great ways to get started! However, there are so many other ways to extend eco-thinking, we thought to give a few inspirations:
Create your own Christmas Tree!
Last year, I saw a friend of mine posting on social media a tree made of tree branches she had picked up on a walk. She then used longer ones at the bottom, reducing their sizes as she reached the top, placing her decorations all around it. This year, another friend decided to, instead of a tree, buy a rosemary bush and decorate it with baubles and lights, knowing as well that the bush would be kept to season up potatoes and other meals throughout the year!
Between ourselves, candles have a whole personality of choices. Smell is something that speaks a lot in our minds, be that to remind us of a grandma’s homemade biscuits, a perfume someone dear used to wear or a season of celebration! Either way, they are something that grows on us and are a great simple present that can easily be reused as a storage glass or recycled! On an additional note, candles can add that dear feeling of cosiness and romance – so, why not carefully light some candles and save some energy this Christmas?
Those who hate wrapping paper are probably ahead of the curve in this one! Gift bags are great recyclable items, if kept preserved. Why not have a corner full of those, both bought by you or given as part of a present, to give to someone else? Creative-minded individuals may also be tempted to buy some craft ribbons, stickers and colour pens to personalise what could be a generic bag or piece of fabric, which could in itself become quite present-worthy!
Gift someone an experience
Do you know someone who dreams to learn how to prepare sushi? Or someone who never hiked in the Cotswolds? Someone who loves fine art? Imagine how amazing it would be to see their faces as you hand an experience voucher? Or perhaps a trip somewhere? Is it still seen as cheesy to say intention is what matters most? Material presents are just as precious, but can also easily become clutter. We live through experiences, and relationships are a great part of that. Give yourself an excuse to share something with someone!
Gift someone a masterpiece
Extending from an experience, why not create a present that speaks closer to someone? How about helping or hosting a Christmas gathering? Or making a personalised card to someone you have plenty to say to? Sometimes it is not just about what you say, but how much good energy you place on that action. We all like to feel belonged, and knowing someone would go through the effort to create something for you is a beautiful demonstration of care.
Speaking of clutter… have you thought of how many people may lack the opportunity to give someone, or themselves, something? Just like there is pleasure in receiving, there is also in giving. What if we donated excesses – for a new toy, maybe consider one that has not left the box this year? Donations can be made of anything! How about a blanket, or an old pair of boots? How about a sale Christmas cake or a warm cup of tea? Small things can mean a lot at this time.
After such turbulent times, we are all looking forward to seeing dear ones. As we get ready with food orders and present packings, sometimes an extra hand or bag means we can get away with one less car on the road. Certainly, there are towns and villages which hardly have any transportation service available, let alone a train station nearby. However, how about checking with a friend or family member heading the same way for a lift? Lots of logistics can be off-putting, that is for sure, but what about when there is a bigger picture to account for that effort?
Changes of habit or exceptions are a hard motivation, especially in such a festive and exciting time. Although, there is also a certain feel of pride when making an effort and succeeding over the main objective. Sustainable living is an everyday effort where we all need to chip in awareness and start imperfectly. This Christmas, look at things through a new perspective, with new knowledge and awareness, and have a fantastic celebration to smile at!