Much bought, much eaten, and much thrown away – during the Christmas holidays we all seek peace, comfort, and time with the family. However, Christmas is often not only a celebration but also a battle of consumption. We all hate to miss out on big family meals, presents, and fairy lights, especially families with children. With these tips, Christmas can be celebrated sustainably without having to give up anything.
O Fir tree
Most Christmas trees in German living rooms were treated with insecticides, pesticides, and mineral fertilizers to grow beautiful and large trees as quickly as possible. The poisons of the trees stew in the heated rooms for two weeks and then land in the garbage. The situation is different from organic Christmas trees, which are less susceptible to pests, naturally fertilized, and come from companies that are certified according to the criteria of organic farming or ecologically oriented forestry.
Alternatively, you can rent a Christmas tree from local foresters, tree nurseries, and market gardens, which will be replanted after its Christmas appearance.
“There used to be more tinsel”
Unfortunately, the glittering garlands are an environmental disaster, because apart from the toxins they contain, they often end up together with the Christmas tree in composting plants and thus also in the environment. Also, our beloved Christmas tree baubles, which are mostly made of glass, are repeatedly found to contain (heavy) metals, so they should be reused as often as possible or even be completely avoided. Environmentally friendly alternatives for all those who do not want to do without Christmas decoration: (Self-made) straw stars or angels, wooden figures, fir cones, cinnamon sticks or even dried berries and orange slices.
Beautiful, but also not very environmentally friendly and bad for electricity consumption are also the many shining stars, chains and light arches. With the alternative LED light, about 90% of the energy can be saved and the light chains also last longer. Likewise one should avoid floodlight systems, which disturb not only the nocturnal peace of the neighbors but also nocturnal animals. Basically, no lighting should be permanently switched on.
Feast, but species-appropriate and “climate-fair”.
Most German families traditionally have duck or goose for Christmas, but these are often imported from Eastern Europe, where they have been fattened under terrible conditions and treated with medicines. Geese in Germany usually live in free-range husbandry, so if you buy organic geese or meat labeled “Freilandhaltung”, you can be sure that the animal comes from animal-friendly husbandry and that CO2 emissions are also saved due to the short transport distances.
Alternatively one can also try a vegan or vegetarian Christmas menu. On the Internet, great ideas can be found, with which one can even surprise meat friends!
It is also important to buy side dishes like fruits and vegetables in organic quality and/or regional. Domestic potatoes, carrots, and co. from organic farming are particularly environmentally friendly. With fair-trade coffee and chocolate, you can be sure that they were produced without child labor and at minimum prices that secure their existence.
Better gifting against a flood of gifts
You are never too old to write a wish list! For families for whom it is common practice to give each other presents at Christmas, this saves money and time and avoids that presents that are not used or wanted ending up in the trash.
On the other hand, if you want to avoid stress during the shopping marathon, you can also make your loved ones happy with homemade small gifts: Jam, spreads, cookies, and even jewelry and self-care products such as peelings and lip balm can be easily made at home and can even be “produced” in larger quantities and given as gifts to several people.
Whether disaster relief or environmental protection – instead of objects, donations can also be given as gifts. Non-profit organizations also offer cards and certificates for this purpose, so to speak, one gives a gift in the name of the recipient.
In addition to direct donations, there is another alternative way: charity shopping. As usual, you can order ordinary products such as clothes, event tickets, books and even food, part of the proceeds go directly to a charity organization, for the buyer the purchase price of the desired product remains the same.
Not perfume, socks, and a care set again? Give away time instead of stuff. Online there are a lot of providers who offer vouchers for shared experiences.
Wrapping paper, the prime example of senseless waste
Look what’s there: old shoe boxes, jam jars, and bags and pouches can be used as packaging. On Pinterest, you will also find many ideas on how to conjure up a beautiful Advent calendar from old kitchen or toilet paper rolls. For handicraft enthusiasts, we recommend making gift wrapping paper yourself: packing and baking paper can be easily converted and can be printed and painted.
For those who don’t want to do without the beautiful new gift wrapping paper, we recommend gift wrapping paper with the “Blue Angel”, which is made of 100% recycled waste paper.