The recent interest on the eco approach has begun to apply during winter holidays, on Christmas home redecoration. If areas like redecorating your home, planning weddings or purchasing clothes already embrace the eco direction, why wouldn’t we celebrate Christmas in a green spirit?
You are probably wondering whether the true meaning of Christmas and everything surrounding this celebration gets along with the environmentally friendly attitude. Let’s see if you can be eco friendly at this time of year.
Although December holidays reveal all that is best in each of us, they produce what nature lovers may consider an ecological nightmare: tons of garbage, millions of fir trees cut for the Christmas decorative traditions and a lot of wasted energy on the Christmas lights. However, with a little care from every one of us, house redecorating can celebrate the environment during the winter holidays. Here are some tips to maximize the eco elements usage without sacrificing the joy and enthusiasm specific to the end of the year.
What is Christmas without gifts? In order to be eco, rethink the gifts by choosing ones made of trendy natural resources or ones that don’t need to be wrapped. Tickets for a theatre play or a film premiere and romantic dinner reservations are extremely inspired presents. A set of beeswax candles with cotton wicks are also unconventional gifts. For the children choose battery free toys: buildings sets, drawing books, puzzles etc. Even if they are more expensive and more difficult to find, the organic sweets can be highly appreciated.
10 Real Good Reasons to Opt Out of the Credit Card Blues This Christmas With DIY Eco-Friendly Gifts
However, everybody can easily opt out of the Xmas present craziness that is strangling people financially, results in millions of unloved Xmas presents and trashes our planet, if you just learn how to. Did you know, that according to Time magazine, the average British woman spends, besides a small fortune, 255 hours on Xmas shopping, only to find 1/3 of presents sold onto eBay later?
If you are interested in spending a (financially) stress-free Holiday season by making your own unique eco-friendly presents that show the recipient that you care about them and the environment, then keep reading. While there are many reasons and motivations for doing your own home made Xmas presents, here are 10 real good ones that should entice even the most skeptical of readers.
- Beat the Credit Crunch and Save Lots of Money
Do you want to be part of the $ 450 Billion Xmas shopping spree again, during which every US consumer is expected to spend on average $832.36? (Source: 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey).
2. Lower your Carbon Footprint and Make a Tangible Contribution to the Environment
Imagine being able to make a meaningful contribution to the environment this Xmas by avoiding loads of packaging and rubbish, simply by making your own homemade gifts. There is a real hidden cost to Xmas and the statistics about the additional trash produced during Xmas are outright scary, so I won’t go into detail in this article.
3. Believe it or not – Making your own Gifts could save you lots of Time
While at a first glance, it does not seem to make sense that making your own presents will save you time, it might very well do so. British women spend on average 255 hours or over 10 full days on Xmas shopping and commuting (source: Time Magazine). Imagine how many presents you could create in all that time?
4. Give something Meaningful, Unique and Personal
You might think that breaking the gift buying habit will cause you embarrassment and create some hard feelings for the recipients, but I suggest you will be pleasantly surprised how many people respond positively to your opting out of the increasingly expensive gift exchanges that are now common place.
5. Introduce & Refocus on old Xmas traditions
Most adults have fond memories of their childhood when making homemade Christmas decorations and gifts were common place. Remember the tradition of the family sitting together around the table with mulled wine or hot chocolate to create small and personal gifts, baubles and Christmas tree decorations made from pine cones,
6. Have fun while making your own gifts and enjoy the sensation of having created something with your hands (again)
The fun factor has definitely gone missing for many people when it comes to Christmas, but making your own gifts can easily return the fun to you! When did you last sit down and gave yourself permission to have fun making something with your own hands? Buying a gift is at best a very brief reward of feeling good for a few minutes, quickly replaced by the sick feeling that arises from the ever increasing credit card balances.
7. Challenge Yourself to Try something New
Are you one of the people that would love to do try new things, but never finds the time to do it? Here is your chance, because Christmas gifts “got to be done” at some stage, so you are much more likely to give yourself the time to do them! Surprise yourself and loved ones with unique presents that you never thought you could do.
8. Teach an Important Lesson to your Kids
For many people consumerism is well and truly a part of everyday family life already – wouldn’t it be great if at least Christmas could be free of it? You could influence the life of your kids early by teaching them what the important aspects of Xmas are, be it spiritual or religious connections, family relationships or whatever else is truly important to you.
9. Break the Cycle of Expectations and become Stress-Free
The expense of buying huge gifts and last minute shopping in overcrowded , overheated shopping malls makes ‘Tis the season to have a complete nervous breakdown’ for many people. According to a recent study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60% of Australians distinctly dislike Christmas shopping, and 75% often return home without a single gift purchased.
10. Feel good about having done the Right Thing by your Family Budget and the Environment- and spread the Good Vibrations – it’s Contagious
Once you have enjoyed a stress free holiday season by having created gifts for your family and friends, you will feel so good about yourself because you have actively done something for the environment and your budget at the same time. The only thing you might regret is that you have not arrived at this point many years earlier.
DIY Food Hampers – Christmas Gifts Made With Love
A couple of hours spent in the kitchen is far preferable to spending the same time pounding the packed pavements, and most things can be made in bulk which means you can churn out gifts for all your friends and family surprisingly quickly. It’s possible to get very reasonably priced baskets, bowls and trugs from places like Ikea or your local hardware store; and many are available to buy online. Here, UKTV Food has pulled together a list of our favourite recipes, along with some tips on packing the perfect foody hamper.
- Chutneys, pickles and preserves
Chutneys and pickles can be enjoyed with British cheeses, cold meats and home-made pork pies. They’ll also make a classic match with a spicy Indian curry and rice; or as a dip with poppadums, samosas or onion bhajis. Preserves are most often found on the breakfast table and are a great way of making use of windfall fruit. It’s best to use a heavy duty preserving pan if you have one, otherwise a heavy-based saucepan will do the trick. Remember to sterilise the jam jars with boiling water before securing with waxed discs and lids. Stored this way they can be kept for up to six months.
- Cakes, biscuits and other sweets
The simplest way to wrap your home-made cakes and biscuits is in clear cellophane; and if you colour-theme the ribbons and cards to match the style of your hamper, cellophane goes with any look from traditional to contemporary.
If you’re going to include a bottle or two of wine in your hamper, make sure you separately pack some mulling spices. You can buy these ready-made or make them up yourself by bundling up mixes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander and cardamom; the choice of spices is up to you. Include a hand-written recipe with the spices so the recipient knows how to use them. Recipes vary greatly around the world, but the basic idea is to steep the spices in the wine over a low heat for around 15 minutes or so (ensuring the wine never boils). You can give the wine a bit of a kick by adding some brandy; some recipes also call for orange peel or juice to be included.
- Family hamper
For a hamper the whole family can enjoy, include a bottle of sparkling wine for mum and dad, and something non-alcoholic and fizzy for the kids. Pack it all up in a colourful plastic trug that can be used for toy storage.
Include things like:
- Rhubarb chutney
- Preserved apples and pears in syrup
- Tomato ketchup
- Coconut ice
- Mini Christmas cakes
- Spiced cranberry and orange relish
- The entertainer
Place the goodies onto a large shallow bowl or into a wine cooler and wrap in cellophane. Include:
- Sophie Grigson’s cheese biscuits
- Rachel Allen’s almond brittles
- Marinated mixed olives
- Parmesan and rosemary wafers
- Jane Asher’s last minute Christmas cake