As Christmas Day slowly approaches, the race to buy the most beautiful tree, glittery decorations and heart-warming gifts for family and friends is in full swing! Crafting the perfect Christmas dinner menu also proves a task of its own. However, planning a successful holiday feast doesn’t have to be a burden on the environment and the planet. What if we collectively had the Greenest and most eco-friendly Christmas ever? That’s a gift Mother Nature would truly appreciate.
2019 will go down as a year of global awakening and understanding of the challenges that humanity is facing in the age of climate change. Along with the massive shifts and radical changes that big companies and corporations have to make, individual attitudes towards consumerism, specifically around the holidays, will also have an impact in saving and preserving our planet’s natural resources. Here are simple ways you can plan a sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas celebration, without spoiling the fun for anybody, of course!
Rent a Live Christmas Tree
Fake Christmas trees might be reusable year after year, thus checking the sustainable box. However, study shows that you would have to use the same plastic tree for at least 20 years for it to be greener that a real tree. Once discarded, fake Christmas trees are hardly ever recycled, and end up in landfills. Why not choose to adopt your Christmas tree, instead? You can pick a live tree, decorate it, have it in your home for the holidays, and safely return it back to the tree farm you bought it from. They will put it back in soil, in the hope that it continues to grow. How lovely! Here are some options for an environmentally friendly Christmas tree.
Switch to LED Christmas Lighting
LED lighting is much more environmentally friendly than traditional twinkling incandescent Christmas lights, because it uses up to 80% less energy. Having solar-powered lights outdoors is also a great way to use less electricity. Putting both indoors and outdoors lights on a timer will not only be more sustainable, but your energy bill will be reduced as well. So, make the switch and look for LED lighting anywhere you can!
Buy Locally Made and Eco-friendly Gifts
Buying the perfect gift for a loved one is challenging enough. Making it green and sustainable may feel like the impossible task. Well, not if you think smart and local. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation (that contributes to greenhouse emissions and global warming). And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known. Locally made, plastic-free, eco-certified, and thoughtfully shopped gifts are the way to go. Your family and friends, as well as your own conscience will thank you for it.
At Paulette, we looked for the best sustainable and environmentally conscious stores and brands in our own neighborhood to get our gift shopping on. Manifeste011 (for their vegan fashion), Hast (for their TIPA compostable pouch and packaging), Smallable (for their wide selection of eco-friendly kids’ toys), Whole (for their in-house hand-dyed fabrics and home goods), The Naked Shop (for their zero-waste beauty bar), and Toasties (for their colorful range of accessories made of recycled sheepskins) are great options to please everyone in your family on Christmas eve or Christmas day, depending on when you open the gifts. No early peeking allowed!
Use Environmentally Friendly Wrapping Paper and Christmas Decorations
As we all know, wrapping paper usually ends up in the garbage can faster than we can say “Merry Christmas!”. Added to their single use every year, non-recyclable elements like foil, glitter or plastic make traditional wrapping paper a less than desirable option for a Green Christmas. Recycled wrapping paper is a great alternative for big gifts. However, small gifts can easily be wrapped in a beautiful and colorful fabric square. In Japanese culture, this technique is known as Furoshiki – the art of wrapping clothes, gifts, or other goods in a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. That’s basically receiving 2 gifts in 1. What more can you ask for? Sustainable Christmas tree decorations, perhaps? Well, most decorations are taken out and put up, year after year for the holidays, then safely put away for 11 months, becoming family heirlooms that last for generations. If you do wish to add to your collection however, look to companies such as Nkuku for designs made from brass, glass, and wood.
Shop smart and locally (with a grocery list) to avoid food waste
Christmas dinner is a touchy subject, I get it. Part of the fun is feeling utterly stuffed with roasted chicken or turkey, pecan or sweet potato pie, fresh oysters, tasty foie gras, you name it! However, opting for a Green Christmas dinner will reduce the carbon footprint of all the ingredients that will be used to prepare the much-anticipated mouthwatering dinner. Try and support local and ethical small-scale producers, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, and avoid single use plastic to wrap up anything. If you’re feeling daring, cooking a completely vegan holiday dinner is actually not that hard and quite tasty, if you ask us. If you do end up with leftovers, despite the strict grocery list, and you’re in the seasonal giving spirit, you might want to wrap up some food, and bring joy and a little bit of comfort to people in need in your local shelter or Red Cross.
Reconnect with Nature on Christmas Day
Christmas is a time for giving and a time for family. What a great opportunity to start a family tradition of reconnecting with nature and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, family and friends. Why not start an annual run, hike, or just a walk in a nearby forest or park. Earth-friendly activities such as bird counting, planting a small tree, or decorating a tree for the birds – with seeds for them to eat – will also be an opportunity to get you outdoors with family and friends for a few hours to build an appetite for the big dinner to come.
Above all else, spend quality time with the people you love, and enjoy yourself. The Paulette Team wishes each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Article by PK Douglas
For all your Green Christmas gift shopping in Paris, visit Manifeste011 (14, rue Jean-Macé 75011 Paris), Hast (87, rue d’Aboukir 75002 Paris / 7, rue des Batignolles 75017 Paris), The Naked Shop (75, rue Oberkampf 75011 Paris), Whole (86, rue Jean-Pierre Thimbaud), Smallable (82, rue du Cherche-Midi 75006 Paris), and Toasties (14, rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris).