It’s a season for giving, but showing someone you care doesn’t have to cost the Earth. How often do you realise you’ve gotten carried away, and stocked the cupboards with enough festive snacks to last well into spring? Or find that you buy gifts for the sake of it, only for them to sit gathering dust at the back of a cupboard?
While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself and those you love, our bank balances, and the planet, might thank us for being a little more conscious of what we truly need – and reducing that unnecessary waste and indulgence. Here are a few essential considerations for the season to help save you money, time, and energy in the long-run.
We all know some of the key things we can do to reduce the single-use plastics we consume throughout the year, but when it comes to Christmas (or any celebration for that matter) there are numerous extra plastics that creep into the mix, you may not have even thought about. Glitter, often on decorations, cards and even in makeup, is actually tiny bits of plastic that often end up washed down sinks and into the ocean. Don’t worry, you shine enough without the glitter – but if you really want that extra bit of sparkle, consider purchasing eco-friendly from a site such as ecostardust.com.
As the temperature drops, many of us may automatically crank up the heating, or have it running for longer and longer each day. But the truth is we can do a lot to better insulate our homes, and reduce the need to burn those energy supplies. You could invest in a draught excluder for your door, ensure you close curtains or blinds, and simply keep doors shut to trap the heat in each room. Something as simple as bleeding your radiators can rid them of trapped air, making them more efficient and warmer – you can find guides and tutorials online – or wear more layers and have some cosy blankets to hand to keep you toasty. It’s not rocket science, but it can stop your energy usage from sky-rocketing.
Everyone likes to have a well-stocked fridge for the festivities, but it’s important to think before you buy, rather than being drawn in by the seasonal specials and end-of-aisle ‘bargain’ buys. Make proper lists before you go shopping to consider what you actually need – and when you need it. Check use-by dates regularly to plan meals and avoid having to clear out your fridge with a load of unopened, but inedible, items. You can also look up leftover recipes to ensure you’re making the most of every dish – you might even find a new family favourite.
After the past 18 months, we all deserve the chance to celebrate with loved ones, but getting into the seasonal spirit doesn’t need to be wasteful. Gifts can look fantastic with some classic brown paper or recyclable wrapping, and you can add a special something by foraging for natural decorations such as sprigs or leaves to provide a personal touch. You can also make items stand out from the crowd simply by using leftover newspapers, or old sheet music, and add special touches with origami bows from old magazines. You can find lots of inspiration and tutorials online!
Much like properly planning meals in order to reduce food waste, considering your gifting in advance rather than spontaneously buying can ensure you don’t overspend, or buy items you later regret. Discuss and set a budget with family, or you could do a secret Santa so everyone gets a present – something they really want – but you only need to buy one thing per person. You don’t have to stick with traditions – make your own rules!
Having fun with your loved ones, and showing them what they mean to you, doesn’t have to break the bank. It really is the thought that counts, so spending a little more time planning this season will save you a lot in the long run, and mean you actually have a lot more energy to give the ones who matter most to you.
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