Christmas is quite a challenging time of year to be plastic-free as a lot of what we consider as “traditional” for Christmas is now commercialised and hence covered in plastic, including the presents, the wrapping paper, and even the food we buy.
Wrapping presents plastic-free was my first challenge, which I had, luckily, overcome last year. I no longer buy cellotape and instead wrap with string. I ensure that all of my wrapping paper is actually paper and not foil – as well as buying sheets rather than rolls (I have yet to find any rolls of paper that aren’t packaged in plastic. I’ve been reusing paper from last year but cutting off the edges that have been ruined by cellotape or ripped by unwrapping. This has meant that this year I’ve actually had to buy minimal Christmas paper. Bows can also be created from scrap paper rather than using plastic bows.
Luckily for me, Christmas chocolates tend to come packaged in foil, which is recyclable! So I can eat all the chocolate I want, guilt-free!
Baking instead of buying treats…
Many Christmas treats come in plastic packaging, such as boxes of mincepies, chocolate biscuits and gingerbread. By baking myself I was able to significantly reduce the plastic entering my house. Almost all of my ingredients came with recyclable packaging (all except the icing pens, which I should have used piping for).
Home-made gifts (or specifically buying gifts with less packaging)
It’s difficult to attempt a plastic-free lifestyle and not feel guilty about buying other people gifts that have plastic packaging. DVDs, CDs and gift cards are all completely plastic and, unfortunately, this is what quite a few people want at Christmas. I’ve tried, where possible, to think outside the box and buy gifts that people have either mentioned before that they wanted – or buying something I know they would like but haven’t thought of. For me, this tends to reduce the plastic packaging, and means that you put a lot more thought into a present (although this also means more time looking for presents – which can be difficult in modern busy lifestyles).
….. seem very hard to come by at first…. however, once I started looking I realised just how much there was out there. Glass and wooden tree decorations, ribbons, paper tinsel … but what about Christmas lights?? I’ve not found an alternative to tree lights.
Not everyone is understanding about a plastic-free lifestyle and often it completely slips their mind when they think about gifts. The only solution I’ve thought of is to create a list for family to encourage them to buy you items you really need and that are plastic-free.