Suggestions for a Cheaper, Greener, more Eco Friendly Christmas and New Year
• Rather than buying a real tree thats been cut down, transported and then thrown away, purchase a large potted plant or small tree that can be used each year as your evergreen Christmas tree.
• You could always purchase an artificial tree that can be reused for many years, these range from 10 pounds to over 100 pounds. Ours actually looks real!
• If you buy a real tree, pay the Woodland Trust or a different organization to plant one in its place!
• If you have evergreen shrubs and trees - to make sure you have an annual supply of eco-friendly Christmas decorations why not do some of your pruning just before Christmas and use the choice bits for inside? If you have not got any evergreens but have a garden ask for some of these plants as Christmas presents. They may take a few years to grow but then all you will need to do is harvest in December and be as creative as you like.
• Make a homemade wreath using branches trimmed from your garden or somebody elses.
• Purchase handmade decor made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. If possible by Fair trade as well, as they are a great way to support the disadvantaged. While some of these crafts may not be from recycled materials they provide much needed income to needy individuals.
• Ivy is good to drape around pictures, windows and the base of Christmas trees, it will hide the wires of the tree lights. There is as far as I know no substitute for electric fairy lights but as they last for years and use very little power, their impact is relatively low and they do look great.
• One of the advantages of using natural decorations is that after Christmas they do not need to go in the bin they can enter your normal garden waste on the compost heap.
Christmas tree ornaments
• Make homemade ornaments from (painted) pinecones, painted eggshells, crushed (colored) aluminum foil, paper chains, paper snowflakes, old CDs and more!
• Decorate a doll as an angel.
• Do an online search for recycled or homemade tree ornaments for numerous ideas or purchase these recycled or eco-friendly tree ornaments if you cant be bothered to make them.
• Buy a subscription to an organisation working to make the world a better place such as the RSPB, RSPCA or Oxfam.
• If you are buying a present that uses batteries make sure the person you are buying it for has a battery charger and buy rechargeable batteries.
• Buy a homemade present, bird table, compost bin. Chocolate cakes often go down very well!
• Collect extra photocopies or no longer needed papers from work for your children to draw on the back.
• Use colored pictures from your childrens colouring books.
• Use leftover pieces of fabric or wallpaper.
• Use recycled paper.
• Put the gift inside another gift such as a decorative tin, nice wooden box etc.
• Use gift wrap, gift bags and gift boxes, ribbon and bows from last Christmas or previous celebrations. Leave the tags blank on the gifts you are giving so that they can be reused.
Greeting cards & gift tags
• Send an e-card.
• Make a greeting card or tag from scrap paper, fabric or wallpaper.
• Make cards or tags from pieces of food box.
• Use saved packing material such as foam or bubble wrap.
• Crush up newspaper into loose balls. This is cheap, quick and lightweight! This is our preferred method for box filler.
After the New Year
• Find out where you can recycle your real Christmas tree or Christmas cards, local councils and supermarkets are a good place to start. They will turn your trees into mulch for use in parks and public gardens.
• Use any wrapping paper that is no longer reusable for shelf liners or craft projects.
• Save boxes, gift bags, wrapping, filler, ribbons and bows for future gift wrapping or craft projects. Give them away to friends, neighbours etc if you have too many to keep.
About the Author: GreenDave works for the organic directory . This growing green directory lists 100s of Organic Food and Drink Companies and Eco Jobs
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