“Maybe Santa didn’t come because of the smog.”
It’s the time of the year when we share love and joy as we celebrate the birth of Christ. That said, it is also typically a social affair. Especially when you’re the host of the party, it is important that you send out the right message. Therefore, one must also give due regard to the preservation of nature. After all, it is our social responsibility to do so.
That said, Christmas comes at a high environmental price. It could be excess gifts, energy for lights, wrapping paper and cards or traveling.
Sally Hamilton, director of Orca, a whale and dolphin charity, said: “The sheer scale of the environmental impact that Christmas 2017 will have is alarming. Without a collective effort by the public, industry and government much of this waste will find its way into our beautiful natural spaces, causing untold devastation in the process.”
Here are ten ideas for a green Christmas. Most ideas are general to all holidays so you could reuse the items for other parties as well. It will impress your guests, will be easier to clean up after the party is over and could actually cut costs. It is also so much more fun to plan.
Going out in the weather is something of an adventure. While the winter aesthetics are nothing short of mesmerizing, you can easily celebrate at your home. All you need to do is make sure that you avoid having a fire. This will not only save firewood but also reduce pollution. Use an electric heater instead. Use candles to set up the mood.
Using recyclable paper is an obvious choice but you could also go for short and sweet e-mails. With festive animations, they could actually appear more welcoming. Augmented Reality filters could be used if you wish to take it a step further.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently posted on the waste generated by the fashion industry that shows throwaway nature of fashion has created a business which creates greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year – larger than that of international flights and shipping combined. So reuse one you already have instead of buying a new one or just swap with a family member or friend.
Make use of reusables as much as possible. Use simple and naturally available decorations like pine cones, fruits and nuts. Use recycled or waste paper to cut out ribbons and create your own small ornaments. Avoid lights as they lead to light pollution that disturbs the natural sleep cycle of animals.
The Christmas Tree
The first thing to decide is whether to have a real tree or an artificial one. Choose paper over plastic if you’re going for artificial Christmas trees. It is alright to have a real one as well since most trees these days are grown in farms and not cut down, but not if you plan to throw it away. Trees stabilize the earth's soil, protect the water supply, and act as a natural animal habitat.
Food and Beverages
Go vegetarian if you dare. Use soy products instead. Add lots of salads. Let the drinks take care of the rest. Your stomach will thank you later. Make sure that most of the cooking itself is done electrically in microwaves, OTGs, etc. It is actually easier to do so. Garnish with love and give the leftovers to the poor. For drinks go for fruit-punch. Use glass or paper cups for serving. If you want to have non-alcoholic beverages that go well with your vegetarian menu, avoid carbonated drinks and canned products.
Buy reusable or at least recyclable supplies. Avoid plastic products. Make sure not to litter if you’re out. Minimize use of disposables.
Keep the volume at adequate levels, noise pollution should be avoided at all costs. It is not just better for the environment, it is also healthier for your guests. Besides, loud music doesn’t let you hear the conversations. An additional perk is that no neighbors are going to call the police. Have an acoustic band, it could add a new flavor to the ageless jingles.
Make your own!! There are literally thousands of Do-It-Yourself blogs out there to help you out on this one. If you can’t find the time to do that, at least make sure they are wrapped in recyclable paper. Chemicals in toys and plastics are a huge cause of concern. Even the gift itself could be nature themed.
Reduce wastage, reuse items and recycle, be it paper, trees or food. Whatever is left, make sure to dispose off safely.
You could further make the party a no-tech one. We are so engrossed in the use and abuse of technology that we forget a lot of important things. Take a break from the information junkie, tech-heavy lifestyle. It is sure to make it a memorable holiday for you and your guests. Go out and volunteer, give the society something back. Spread your love to those in need. Their blessing will count when you’re in a tough spot.
And when you’re done, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back. Your cumulative effort just saved the earth a lot of waste and pollution. Earth is our home after all.
“The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” - Chief Seattle.
With this, we wish you an early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!