I’m a Capeverdean native living in Denmark, currently studying my engineering master degree in Sustainable Design. I am married to a Dane and we have 2 little princesses. I hope this blog inspires you in multiple ways. Feel free to leave a comment or follow me on social media!

Sustainable Christmas Guide

Sustainable Christmas Guide

"I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need. I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree." All I want for Christmas, is to be together with my beloved family and friends. As we all know by now Christmas is just around the corner, and with all of this comes expense, and possible negative impacts on the environment. I know Christmas has the word Christ in it, but we all know by now that the modern  meaning of christmas has become into a mixture between Christian and commercial rituals. I would even go deeper and say that in most cases the whole christmas spirit has become in a more commercial concept which encourage a lot of overconsuption mindset. Christmas should indeed be about  spending time with your family,  feel totally relax, forget about work, and other stuff and truly enjoy the magical moments that this season has to offer. Off course that christmas is also about gestures and thoughtfulness, therefore gifts are somehow also important. However it is important to take many aspects in consideration in order to make better choices which causes less or no harm to the environment we live in. During the season of celebration we need to show extra care for the environment since that Christmas can be a bit of a consumerist extravaganza. However it does not have to be that way. With a little effort and imagination, we can all contribute to minimize the environmental impact of the holiday season. I have thought about a couple of inspirational ideas of how you could turn your Christmas holidays into a more sustainable one. So here are few advices:

  • Connect with Nature: Yeah that is right! I believe that a true and genuine connection with nature is essential part of our life, allowing us to slow down the pace, create balance in life, emotional health and learn how to see ourselves from a proper perspective. By reconnecting with nature will make you acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas. It  is a time for gestures of love,solidarity and a time for family and friends. This could be a great opportunity to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and cultivating sustainable living values with your children, friends and neighbours.
  • We all know that Christmas trees can have a huge environmental footprint but  luckily, there are a number of options for sourcing them responsibly : By choosing a real tree instead of a plastic one  since that it’s possible that plastic trees have a more negative environmental impact when all aspects of their life cycle are considered. Artificial trees are normally manufactured with synthetic materials which harm the environment are non-recyclable or biodegradable, meaning that they will be in the landfill after disposal. So if you own one that is fine. Just try to use the same year after year and when it can no longer satisfy your needs consider to donate it to someone or to charity  who would like to have it instead of disposing it. If you would like to buy a real tree consider to buy one which you can plant or look for organic farmers to purchase it from. Tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away after Christmas, so the most environmentally conscious way to dispose of it after Christmas is to compost it. If you cannot do this yourself, consider a tree collection service on the disposal phase or ask someone in your neighbourhood or network which might help you with that. It is important that you remove all decorations from the tree, before you take it to a collection point;
  • You could get creative and make your own tree using recycled materials or pieces of used wood;
  • Go for not having a tree at all! As an alternative to buying a tree, you could for instance use the money to help conserve the world's forests instead;
  • Most of the Christmas cards, and wrapping paper,  ends up in the landfild and become into tonnes of waste. To avoid this there so much cool stuff you can do which will both makes your gift or card stand while making a difference at the same time. Remember that shoe box you got last month?or that old scarf you don't use anymore? well, you can use both to wrap a gift for that special friend. You can also consider using dust bags, twine, JarsInstead, fabric, newspaper or magazine;
  • Another alternative is to consider purchasing cards which supports a Good Cause or from a charity christmas card organisation. Another alternative would be to  make Your Own Christmas Cards. You can be creative and reuse those wrapping  tissue paper, ribbons, an old map or any other interesting paper you can find and re-use;
  • And what about all those christmas decorations? Why don't you stop purchasing one every single year and start making one which represent each year instead? Turn it into a family tradition where each member has to make their own ornament each year by using more sustainable alternatives. You can also consider buying christmas decorations which are handmade and homemade by local producers or community people, supporting their work. If that is not good enough for you or does not fit into your lifestyle, you can also consider buying ornaments which might be a bit more expensive but are durable and meaningful ornament. Another option could be choosing natural objects or things to decorate the tree with;
  • So why don't you put that creative skills of yours into practice and make your own up-cycled gift? If you feel that is something way to challenging for you than you can also consider  buy something that was up-cycled instead of new;
  • Instead of material gifts try to give an experience this holiday season. There are many companies that sells this experiences boxes but you can also make your own by deciding an activity in which you would like to do together with your beloved ones so that you are able to spend more quality time together. Like this you can give more while spending less;
  • Slow Down the pace allowing the  Christmas spirit to envelop you in the warmth and joy it has to offer;
  • Connect with the Season: Surround yourself with the beauty of the holiday and the seasonal changes and embrace it. Notice all the details and how the nature that surrounds you changes;
  • Use this time and holidays to connect With others: make sure that you have time for family traditions or create new ones. Make a gesture to a stranger, help somebody in need;
  • Simplify life by making things simple while reducing cost, stress and waste;
  • Remember that less is more;
  • Ask you family to donate to causes on your behalf instead of giving you material gifts or consider donating to a local charity, sponsor a child overseas or do some volunteering work;
  • Buy gifts that support social enterprises and ethical traders and try to shop as close to home as possible;
  • Make a food plan in order to avoid food waste or find recipes where you can use the leftovers to create a new dish;
  • If you have children in your family avoid children's toys that promote violence since that there is already too much violence in the world. Remember that Christmas is  all about "Peace" . Consider educational toys or toys that are made from recycled or natural materials;
  • Remember not to keep those christmas light on all the time, so try to lower the impact of holiday lighting;

The most important of them all: Remember that during  this holiday is about showing your loved ones that you care and that you are there for them. Spend time with your family, friends and connect with others in a meaningful way.

I hope that you could get inspired from these suguestions and enjoy your holiday! 

With love,

Noe 

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