Christmas Tips to Have a Festive Season That Won’t Cost the Earth (literally)

It’s that period of the year when most of us consume more than usual. Maybe we could expect this Christmas to be even more shameless than usual because of what we’ve all been through with the pandemic. It’s not yet behind us but we all deserve to indulge ourselves at the end of the year, right? It feels like a legitimate reward for surviving 2020 so far. It would be great to do this without harming the planet too much though, especially if it doesn’t represent too much of a hassle. After all, Christmas is about sharing and we all have to share the same planet (at least until they find another planet we can move into… but I wouldn’t count on it too much personally).

Transport

In the UK, people are allowed to mix with 2 other households during 5 days (23rd-27th December). Chances are many will travel long distances to meet with their family and friends. Taking the plane is one of the largest carbon impacts an individual can have, so if possible it’s always better to avoid it. Sharing a car would lower the carbon footprint for each passenger and create less traffic on the roads. And if you can’t meet with everyone at the same time because of COVID restrictions this year, there is also the possibility to video chat!

Christmas food

I know it’s hard and not in line with Christmas indulgence habits, but try and estimate food portions more appropriately. Don’t over cater if there is a good chance it’s going to end up in the bin. I know it’s tradition but do you really need all these Brussel sprouts on the table (who really likes them anyway…)? Don’t forget that beef and cheese have a very high carbon footprint, so if you can think of a better alternative, go for it instead. Make sure you use leftovers after Christmas, share them around if there’s too much to eat (hence why it’s a good idea to prepare the right amount of food beforehand).

Electricity

Cooking that big turkey requires the oven switched on for hours… Which is an excellent opportunity to turn the heating off as the oven will warm up the home nicely. No one wants to wear their festive Christmas jumpers if it’s too warm inside anyway! Choose LED lights for your illuminations as they can be used for years to come.

Christmas gifts

When it comes to giving, you want to do things right. Below are a few ideas on how to make someone happy, buy smart and preserve the planet at the same time:

  • If you’re clueless what to buy, it’s a good idea to ask what they need
  • Don’t buy anything that is unnecessary or will not be used
  • Opt for gifts that are made locally and close to home
  • Think of activities or experiences like a nature day out, a cooking class, etc
  • If you’re looking for electrical equipment (such as TV, fridge, etc), pick the most energy efficient
  • Do your shopping online, it will save you a trip and reduce your emissions from travel
  • Use recyclable wrapping paper, or make your own with old newspapers, magazines, etc
This year I’m using naturally degradable craft paper to wrap my presents, before putting them under the tree (I have my little elf to help me out, as you can see).

Of course you might receive gifts that are really not good for the planet because they’re full of plastic or contain harmful ingredients, especially products for the bathroom. You can’t educate everyone on the matter and it might ruin Christmas spirit to tell them off for that mistake. Just be thankful it comes from good intentions and if you’re not happy with it, why not give them away to charity? You could also re-gift them to someone who would enjoy it more than you (no one will know unless you tell).

Christmas tree

Finally, there is also the debate: real vs fake Christmas tree. Opinions differ but no matter what you go for, there are many ways to make it more sustainable. Basically, a real tree is better for the planet but you’ll have to recycle it properly. A fake tree is also an acceptable option, as long as you’re planning to make it last at least 10 years (so pick a good quality one!).

What action(s) are you taking this year to be more environmentally friendly?

Big Girl x

Is Christmas Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

christmas season hot chocolate

Only 2 months until Christmas! But this post isn’t about telling you how excited I am about it. It’s just a post highlighting how 2020 was wasted so far… To a point I didn’t realise how quickly we ended up so close to Christmas already! I don’t want to waste any more time, time we’ll never get back.

Christmas is a season, not just a day

What I love about Christmas is the decorations in the streets, the festive mood people are in, the idea of drinking a hot chocolate (with tons of marshmallows) in front of a log fire, the snow falling outside and all the terrible Christmas movies we watch every year. Christmas is not just a day for me, it’s a season. I don’t really care about the day itself, I think “tradition” puts a lot of pressure on that specific day to be with all of your family. The idea sounds more like a chore to me.

It could be a nightmare for expats

I remember when I used to take the Eurostar every year during Christmas period to spend a few days with my family in Paris… I can assure you there was nothing festive about it, trains were always overcrowded (not to mention the huge luggage full of gifts you have to carry all along) and people were not very amicable during the journey. If anything, it ended up being the period of the year I avoided to visit family in France.

It’s actually quite nice to wander in the streets in London when everyone is busy lying on their sofa, after they’ve eaten so much food their belly is about to explode. Let’s face it, all you do during Christmas is eating, napping, repeat. And when you think about it, you don’t have to wait for that period of the year to visit family anyway. It should be whenever you want to, not whenever tradition or media tell you to.

Christmas doesn’t feel the same all over the world

For most of us in the world, Christmas is associated with cold months. If you are somewhere hot for Christmas, does it still feel the same though? Well I got to experience it for the first time last year and the answer is simple, no. I was travelling in Australia during Christmas period last year and seeing Santa wearing a pair of shorts on a beach was just weird. Just for the banter, below a picture on how Christmas projections looked like on a Church in Perth, so you can see what I mean:

Santa projected on a church in Perth

Santa doesn’t really exist

Do we really have to lie to kids about who’s giving them so many presents? Shouldn’t they know their parents and family are working hard (and sometimes saving for months) to make that happen? I really don’t see the purpose of this big fat lie as it’s always a traumatic experience for them to learn the truth when they’re “old enough”. I’m not even talking about “how” they realise their entire family lied to them for years, sometimes a school mate would deliver the truth in a very harsh way. I don’t remember having ever believed a big old bearded man would enter our home via the chimney to offer me gifts I didn’t even wish for… If you’re using Santa to make sure your kids behave, surely there is a lack of authority somewhere. But what do I know, I don’t have kids and I don’t want them.

Let’s focus on what matters

All this to conclude with one thing. Don’t let this wave of COVID infections and potential new lockdown affect your Christmas spirit. Maybe you’ll be able to be with your family, maybe you won’t. But if not, it’s not the end of the world. The important bit is to stay healthy, practise gratitude and remember there is a tomorrow. It’s up to us to make it brighter! In the meantime, good luck with all the gifts you will have to purchase, especially for the awkward Secret Santa(s) you got involved in reluctantly… You’re not alone.

Are you looking forward to Christmas 2020 the same way as every year? Or have you accepted good times are ahead, no matter what happens on that specific day?

Big Girl x