Christmas with a Conscience

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The excesses of Christmas seem to get worse every year. With galloping consumerism and the iWant generation at the controls, sometimes it seems we are fighting a losing battle against seasonal extravagance. Fortunately, there are ways of celebrating Christmas in a more ethical way, one which helps us re-connect with the true values of the season. If you are struggling to maintain a clear conscience over the Christmas period, here are some easy tips for regaining your ethical equilibrium. With a few simple changes and choices, you can truly celebrate the festive holidays in low impact, fun filled style.

War on waste

Put in place measures that will help you reduce waste this Christmas. Save old wrapping paper to re-use again next year, or if you purchase new paper, choose recycled. Most shiny, glittery papers are non-recyclable, so favour more subdued designs. Consider alternatives to plastic tape for securing paper as this is not recyclable. Re-usable string and ribbon can look very stylish as well as having a useful life beyond Christmas day. Do the same with Christmas cards, if you must buy them, select ones which are made from recycled materials and support charitable organisations. Failing that, reduce your carbon footprint even more by sending email Christmas cards! Food waste at Christmas time gets really bad with the average British family binning about a third of their Christmas provisions. This is totally unnecessary and can be avoided with good planning. At the very least, if you do have to throw out food, compost as much as you can.

Top tree tips

A natural, sweet smelling pine Christmas tree is a magical part of the season. To reduce environmental impact buy a tree with roots that can be planted in the ground after use. Failing that, in some areas there are schemes which will rent you a Christmas tree over the holiday period and take it back later. If you do get a real Christmas tree that has had its roots removed, make sure it gets recycled properly – most local councils will accept used Christmas trees and chip them for mulch and compost. It is true that plastic trees can be re-used year after year, but the use of petrochemicals in their manufacture makes them a less environmentally sustainable choice when compared to a living tree. Once discarded, a plastic tree takes decades to break down in already oversubscribed landfill sites.

Follow these tips for a great Christmas

Follow these tips for a great Christmas

Think of the turkey

At a time when we should all be feeling benevolent, don’t forget the turkey. For a clear conscience and a far tastier Christmas dinner, avoid the frozen, bland giants raised in battery farms for the supermarkets and opt for fresh and free range Kelly Bronze turkey. These happy birds raised outdoors in natural woodland are sheltered overnight in spacious barns and grown to maturity, ensuring an unparalleled depth of flavour and juiciness. As you and your family and friends tuck in to a delicious Christmas Kelly Bronze, you can feel satisfied that the bird on your plate lived a good life. These are the best free range turkeys available. 

Deck the halls with boughs of holly 

One of the most fun parts of the whole Christmas experience, especially for children, is the dressing of the tree and the decoration of the house and dining table. Give Mother Earth the best Christmas present ever by shunning glittery, plastic decorations in favour of natural, recyclable alternatives. Pine cones, holly, mistletoe, berries and cinnamon sticks all evoke a traditional festive atmosphere, and they are all recyclable as compost. Ethical decorations made from sustainable products and good old-fashioned paper chains (which children love making) are a colourful and low impact way of making your tree, home and dinner table as pretty as a picture.

Think of the turkey....

Think of the turkey….

Get creative with gifts

The whole gift buying process can get very fraught over Christmas. To reduce environmental impact and support local businesses, why not source presents from close to where you live? This results in unique presents that have a lot more thought invested in them. The maturing recycling movement means that giving second hand gifts is also widely acceptable now. Choosing vouchers is a good way of cutting down on packaging and waste and the recipient gets exactly what they wish for. Some people are really tough to buy for because they have everything already. Think of charities in these instances; there are plenty of sponsor a cow or plant a tree organisations which will carry out much needed good deeds in the name of the recipient.

Christmas is the season of goodwill, and there are many ways of expressing this in an ethical, eco-friendly way. Enjoy Christmas this year with a clear conscience, safe in the knowledge that you have made an effort to hold back the relentless tide of consumer craziness that has engulfed the festive season…


Image credits: hodgers and techvt