A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
We love Christmas, but the pressure to make it perfect can be a little too much at times. Throw in a global pandemic, lockdowns and the risk of not seeing loved ones and you’ve got yourself one strange festive period up ahead!
But strange and different doesn’t mean you can’t make this Christmas one of your best yet. From the lead up and preparations to the big day we look at some of the ways you can make this festive period a jolly, warm, intimate time.
With shops only just reopening in England post the second lockdown, and various tiered restrictions now in place throughout the UK, our Christmas shopping habits have been anything but normal. We believe that it’s more important than ever to support local and small retailers during these times as they have been hit hardest. Taking the extra time (you may have more time on your hands this year) to research unique products from independent retailers can be a joy in itself! To help you get going we have put together a few items we think would make great gifts...
SUSTAINABLE GIFT GUIDE
Skiddaw Hudson Aran Jumper | Bombinate
Bristol-based Peregrine began in 1796, being handed down through generations of the Glover family before coming to exist as the brand you see now – 200 years later. They're dedicated to sustainable, locally produced knitwear and coats, and take traditional styles and make them more contemporary – like the Hudson Aran Jumper with raglan sleeves.
Beige Tall Speckled Tit for Tat Candlestick | Maison Flaneur
Decorate your space with the Body Candlesticks. Anissa Kermiche’s appreciation of the female form is evidenced in the delicately strong shape of the Body Candlesticks. Finished with a matte surface, the form-shaped piece can hold a lit candle or simply appreciated as the work of art she is.
Classic Tea Set | Conscious crafts
Time for a tea ceremony! This beautifully made and very durable wooden tea set from Plan Toys is perfect for a nice cup of tea and some pretend play time. A timeless children's classic. Plan Toys specialise in designing and manufacturing environmentally friendly toys that help with early learning and teach about the importance of sustainability.
Materials: Natural rubber wood and non-toxic water-based dyes.
Turquoise Stripe Woven Dog Basket | The Basket Room
Woven from indigenous veta vera grasses in Northern Ghana each dog basket takes up to three days to weave by hand.
For the home...
Sympoiesis Mottle grey table Lamp by Viv Lee | The New Craftsmen
Sympoiesis Table Lamp is a sculptural and functional lamp with a stoneware body by ceramicist, Viv Lee. She is inspired by organic shapes in nature such as pebbles and the undulating curve of a branch. When Viv approaches making as a means of connection to self and nature, she appreciates the wonderful diversity of forms that emerge and embraces flaws; accepting them as the beautiful idiosyncrasies that make each vessel unique.
Linen face mask | Etsy
When it comes to decorating your home for Christmas there are so many trends and styles from Scandi, to opulent, bright and colourful to traditional. This year we are going to focus on creating a mindful, low waste decorating scheme that is easy to replicate.
The best place to start is to use what you already have. Re-using decorations year after year instantly reduces your waste. But if you are anything like us not all decorations and lights survive every Christmas without getting chipped and broken! When the time comes to replacing these or adding additional decorations look to buying plastic free or making your own. Source baubles made from wood, brass, paper or recycled glass, to decorate trees. You could even spend some time baking some edible ones, which is one Christmas tradition the children would love to get involved in!
1. Glass Bell Glarland | Nkuku
2. Paper Lanterns | Cielshop
3. White Clay Scandi Stars | Etsy
4. Dried fruit House Bundle | Etsy
Many Christmas traditions actually stem from pagan origins. Pagans would use branches of fir to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. During the Victorian era, they would dress their doorways, mantels and staircases with boughs of fresh greenery such as wreaths of holly, ivy and mistletoe. They would then adorn the branches with ribbons, flowers, berries and gilded fruits and nuts.
Over the past few years using natural foliage to decorate your home has become increasingly popular with modern additions such as eucalyptus. Not only does using real greens look beautiful but the abundance of branches will fill your home with wonderfully festive scents. So why not wrap up and head out to the garden or your local woodland with a few friends for a socially distanced forage!
You can also purchase all the elements needed to make your own sustainable wreath with the DIY Modern wreath making kit by Botany Shop. It has everything you need to make yourself a simple, modern wreath with a difference, that will last and look beautiful in your home all year round. The kit includes a selection dried stems and foliage including, 3 types of eucalyptus, honesty, lagarus and grasses, plus instructions on how to make it and hints and tips to help you explore your own creativity and unique style using stems you have foraged and gathered yourself on your winter walks.
Crackers are another Christmas tradition which can lead to incredibly large amounts of single use plastic waste from the toys which are probably mostly played with for about an hour! If you aren’t quite ready to boycott crackers altogether then why not make or buy some re-useable ones? Not On The High Street has a great selection, or for those with a slightly bigger budget why not splash out on some re-useable crackers with matching hats from Selfridges?
When it comes to replacing tangled, broken Christmas lights switch to LED Christmas lights. Not only do they last up to 20 times longer than the traditional incandescent lights, they are far eco-friendlier as they use up to 80% less energy. Switching to solar-powered lights outdoors and using timers will also make environmental savings as well as reducing your energy bills too, so it’s a win-win solution!
Christmas lights aren’t the only source of light to use to create that cosy, warm feeling. Natural candles are great for decoration as their gentle warm glow can soften even the harshest of atmospheres and using scented candles is the perfect way to evoke that festive feeling. Always chose eco-friendly soy or beeswax varieties rather than paraffin to reduce to built up of toxins in your home.
Brands such as Hiems beautifully encapsulates the quintessential spirit and warmth of winter with its clove studded oranges scented with festive spices and a hint of ancient myrrh. The porcelain vessel can even be reused as a tea-light holder or trinket pot once you’ve finished burning it.
1. Hiems winter candle | Essential Alchemy
2. Winter Bergamot Candle | Essential Alchemy
3. Winter Pine Christmas Candle | Wicks and Reeds
It wouldn’t be Christmas for most households without a tree. If you love the ritual of choosing your perfect real tree each year but would like to avoid adding to the Christmas tree landfill, you could consider renting a tree. Companies such as Christmas on the hill are passionate about reducing the number of trees which end up in landfill. They already offer a tree recycling scheme and have now added a tree rental service to become even more sustainable. . You can also check out where to find your local sustainable growers on the Christmas tree growers association website.
On the day!
If you are anything like us then the big day revolves around waking up, eating, drinking, opening presents and snoozing with a festive film on in the background. This year may be a little different with us having to keep the numbers down, which may actually reduce some of the stress which can be involved if you are the host!
Having a more intimate day means adapting shopping habits. You can use this opportunity to show your support for some brilliant ethical small-scale producers. If you are a meat eater getting your turkey and any other cuts of meat from your local butcher, or fish from your local fishmonger is a good place to start, you’ll use fewer food miles, less packaging and you can feel confident that you haven’t supported any intensive farming practices. If you don’t have local suppliers which you can easily get to then ordering through online companies such as:
Swillington Organic Farm
Coombe Farm Organic
Cross Lanes Organic Farm
Abel & Cole
The presents are wrapped and under the tree, the food is prepped and ready and the hall is decked with boughs of holly so all you’ve got left is the dress the table! Create a runner using foliage, dotted with various height candles and reusable crackers for each setting to create a simple, natural cosy table.
All that’s left to do is sit back relax in the knowledge that this year you’ve done your bit to help the planet, make some small businesses owners happy as well as creating a Christmas to remember!