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Tips to keep sustainability top of mind this festive season

Dr Tamara Somers

Tamara Somers

Dec 13, 2022

After a turbulent few years for the world, this end of year period is shaping up to be a time of relative normality and a great chance to unwind, rest and have the time to connect with friends and family.

This time of year means different things to different people all around the world. However you like to spend it, remember to look after yourselves, be kind to the people around you, and get ready to take on 2023 with a renewed spirit.

In addition to prioritising wellbeing, there are a few things we can all do at this time of year to keep sustainability top of mind. Here are some simple tips to ensure that you’re mindful of and thinking about reducing your footprint whilst making the most of the festive season.

Look for more sustainable food options

  • Meal prep to reduce food waste. Don’t let it hit the bin!
  • Substitute a vegetarian option for a meat dish
  • Look for certified sustainable seafood options
  • Choose produce from your local grocer or butcher to avoid unnecessary food miles 
  • Buy organic where possible as it is typically less disruptive to ecosystems

Get creative with your gifts

  • Support your local small businesses! It’s been a tough period for the small business community, and this is a fantastic opportunity to support and revitalise your local economy. 
  • Look for gifts that are:
    • made from recyclable or biodegradable materials, 
    • have environmental certifications or focus; and  
    • wrapped in recyclable packaging.
  • Set up a gift exchange with friends and family. This takes the focus off volume, and instead onto thoughtfulness and quality. Less is more.
  • Gift an experience. A dinner, a picnic, a massage or a cooking class will always deliver.
  • If you receive any gifts you don’t need, donate them.
  • Used recycled paper or things such as old newspapers, magazines or fabrics are perfectly suitable alternatives to wrapping paper.
  • Why not try sending an e-card? If you like to keep it traditional, look for cards with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification.

Use long lasting decorations

  • Buy some quality and sentimental items that you can re-use and pass on to family.
  • Make your own. Use bits and pieces around the house, or fallen native flora.
  • If you need new fairy lights, LED bulbs are a must, and it’s worth considering solar options.
  • Decorate a plant, tree or pot plant for the holidays.
  • For those who celebrate Christmas, do you go for a real or fake tree? How it’s made, where it’s from, what materials it uses, whether it’s from a certified sustainable farm… there’s lot’s to consider. 
    • If you’re wanting a real tree, look for the FSC certification to make sure it’s sustainably grown.
    • If you’re wanting to buy a fake tree, ensure it’s made well enough to see you through many more years to come.

Share the generosity

Instead of collecting and sharing gifts this year, why not encourage your friends and family to make donations to a registered charity. Sadly, many people will be hungry over the holidays. If you have the means, contribute to donation bins, or offer to support those in your community in other ways.

This time of year is a great opportunity to think about how you can level up your sustainability practices for next year. What habits could you build into your life to reduce your impact on the planet? Discuss with friends and family at dinner, mates at the pub, during your next neighbourly encounter… simply bounce some ideas around and see what small changes you can commit to in the new year.

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