It’s the season of festive feasting, gift giving and indulgence, but also a chance to form some plastic-free habits to take with you right into the New Year. We’ve partnered with our friends at Oceanographic Magazine to bring you tips for hosting a more ocean-friendly Christmas. Round up your friends and family, get creative and start enjoying your sustainable celebration.
Gifts and wrapping
Ditch the reams of plastic-coated wrapping paper, stickers and shiny strings in exchange for rustic recycled brown parcel paper tied with string or natural ribbons that you can use again and again. Alternatively, for something a bit fancier, pick up some reusable fabric gift bags. Better yet, make a project out of it and create patchwork gift wraps from fabric scraps or magazines from around the house.
Try not to buy a gift just for the sake of giving someone something – consider whether they will actually use it. Experiences are always a safe bet for those in doubt; cooking classes, a dance lesson or a sumptuous spa treatment are all popular ideas. Alternatively, get stuck into vintage and second-hand. If you’ve got a book lover in the family, stock up on second-hand titles with beautiful old covers. For the wellness junkie, natural and plastic-free bath bombs, body scrubs and skin treatments are the perfect choice. If all else fails, some organic and plastic-free consumables will never fail. A bottle of their favourite tipple, homemade chutneys and biscuits, ethically made dark chocolate – the possibilities are endless.
Put. The. Tinsel. Down. There are so many ways to decorate your tree. In addition to the family favourites you’ve had for longer than you can remember, try your hand at making some mini origami trees and stars, collect some pinecones to hang or create some aromatic dried fruit and cinnamon stick ‘baubles’. You could get really crafty and knit some decorations or bake some cookies to put up instead. Natural decorations are our favourites – hang mistletoe above the door, arrange sprigs of holly around beeswax candles on the dinner table and drape leafy garlands along the bannisters or over shelves.
While we could recommend some slightly more eco-friendly or solar-powered fairy lights, getting new everything isn’t always the answer. You’re best off just really looking after the ones you’ve had for years – the odd dead bulb doesn’t matter! A good trick is to store them on a coat hanger so they don’t get tangled and broken. As for the tree itself, make sure you recycle it so it can be shredded and used as chippings in parks or woodland areas.
Food & Drink
We’re all guilty of buying far too much for Christmas dinner because, well, it’s Christmas! Plan what you’re going to do with your leftovers and consider who in your local community might not have anyone to spend Christmas with – there’s no harm in popping over for an hour with a plate of goodies for a chat.
It takes preparation, but if you do a bit of investigating beforehand, you can get everything you need plastic-free from independent butchers, bakers, cheesemongers and greengrocers, whether that be locally or online. Go for seasonal ingredients where possible. If you’re having meat, do your research – go for local, ethical and sustainable produce. It might be a little more expensive, but this is where you make the choice to buy better quality and make it go as far as possible. Keep some back for cold cut sandwiches on Boxing Day, put the leftovers in a stew or soup, save the bones (if there are any) to make stock and then compost anything that you’re not using. For fish, make sure to check the MCS Good Fish Guide and go for wild, line-caught, plentiful species – see it as an opportunity to change things up a little!
Christmas is generally the time when old school games that always happen to be plastic-free have their moment. Charades, card games, draughts, chess, Jenga – there’s so much wholesome fun to be had. The big thing to boycott is crackers. People rarely play with the toys for longer than five minutes and they produce an astonishing amount of waste. There are a number of alternatives available (such as making your own and filling them with Crew socks) but steering away from the notion of single-use products goes hand-in-hand with going plastic-free.
Finally, everybody loves a brisk walk to blow away the cobwebs after all that feasting. If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, bundle everyone up and head to the beach. Take a bag with you and pick up any litter you see en route – because lots of mini beach cleans make a big difference.
Pick up your copy of Oceanographic Magazine from your local Crew store and online here.