Gosh I love Christmas. There is such a sense of nostalgia and excitement. It takes me back to my childhood, I absolutely adore the wonder it sparks in my own boys, and I just love every single thing about it. Joy; it is all about the joy. It is also such a wonderful time to slow down and enjoy time with family. Basically scrumptious food and lots of long walks followed by blankets and hot chocolates. These are, quite simply, some of my favourite things. Cue images of the wonderful Julie Andrews singing much more beautifully than I ever could.
Now 2020 has thrown some serious challenges at us all. Christmas will not be exactly the same as perhaps we would have imagined it… and things will be different. However, after lock down and the anxiety and stress of this year I am determined to make it just as lovely and even more unique and special, and, without question, full of adventure.
This, in turn, has really got me thinking about how to have a truly special and unique Christmas, but with what is truly important at heart. A sustainable, happy and gratitude filled Christmas, based on some really good choices rather than simply throwing the kitchen sink at it.
So how to do it? How to have a lovely unique Christmas whilst trying to be as eco friendly and green as we can?
Here are some ideas we are going to be trying at Adventure Boy HQ this year. I hope some of them spark some ideas or inspire some activities. I would love to hear your own traditions and ideas for a wonderful happy and eco Christmas xx
Let’s be honest we all love the swapping of gifts at Christmas and we cannot deny this is a part of it. Having said that I am trying really hard this year to be mindful of what I am buying. So how?
- Buy Local where you can. Small local shops have had to spend far too much of this year with their doors sadly closed. So if you can get out during December and support these wonderful and crucial parts of our communities, then do. Not only are they passionate about what they do and full of fantastic unique gifts, but they also ,more often than not, source locally and have a much smaller carbon footprint than the big shops. Some that we adore in Exeter and Devon include:
- Crane and Kind, Sidmouth
- Moko, Gandy Street, Exeter
- Greendale Farm, just outside Exeter
- Georgie and Flo, Exeter
- Sales and Canvas, Topsham
- RAMM Shop, Exeter
- Hyde and Seek, Exeter
- Bert and Buoy, Dartmouth
- Shop small. There are the most incredible small shops out there, both on the high street and online. They are full of wonderful sustainable gifts and work so hard to provide the most wonderful and thoughtful products. Many are handmade, lots are small family or mum run businesses, and honestly you will not find more passionate or genuine people out there. They love what they do. Some great eco-friendly small shops online include:
- The Contented Company – eco friendly and zero waste products
- Beevive – save the bees!
- Miller and Keane – eco friendly candles
- Seven Shades Shop – awesome sustainable clothing
- Roka Sustainable – sustainable rucksacks
- Skip the plastic. This is not easy and there is so much of it thrown in your face when it comes to buying for children. But there are some great alternatives. Sustainable unique clothing is a great idea, as are books, wooden toys, hand made gifts and toys, and lots of outdoor activities. It is, I guess, trying to think about toys and gifts that are made to last, as opposed to one hit wonders and throw aways. Here are some top ideas that we have found for our own Adventure Boys:
- The Den Kit Co – for brilliant outdoor ideas
- Grumpy Kid – for amazing books and sustainable toys
- Little Nutkins – for a fab range of thoughtful toys, lots of wooden ones
- Brio Trains – beautiful wooden toys to last and last
- You could also think about gift vouchers towards an experience or service so as to avoid the overload of ‘stuff’. Hotel vouchers, restaurant vouchers or perhaps a family photoshoot? The wonderful Perspectives Photography based just outside of Exeter offers gift vouchers and her family photos on outdoor shoots are incredible!
- Ultimately I think this is a wonderful way to think about Christmas gifts… Something you need, something you would like, something to read, something to wear.
DECORATIONS AND TRIMMINGS
Nothing better than the decorations! They are what make the month of December feel so specisl. I thought it would be nice this year, as we have time on our hands and few places to go, to spend some of that time making our own decorations. Less buying, less plastic, less waste. So here are some ideas.
- Make your own wreath – you could get out for a lovely walk and collect natural items for this, dry some orange slices, add berries and cones. It could be a lovely activity for all ages.
- Make your own eco friendly Christmas crackers – this is one thing we are definitely doing this year. You can purchase do it yourself packs for this or there are plenty of fab ideas on Pinterest as to how to do this. I am excited about this as I just think they will be so much better than the naff shop-bought ones full of plastic.
- Make your own Christmas cards and paper decorations. My little adventurer has been making Christmas cards with me this year – brown card, paint and some imagination. Recyclable, unique and personal, I love this idea. He loved it too! We also love making snowflake decorations and they look incredible! A great way of reusing paper that has been used once, or making something new out of piles of drawings and paintings (we have lots of these from lockdown and cannot possibly hang or keep them all, so this is a fab opportunity to make some fun decorations).
- Switch to LED lights. LEDS are more environmentally friendly than traditional twinkling lights because they use 80% less energy. I had no idea this was the case but I recently read that if every household in the UK switched to LED lights we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2 over the 12 days of Christmas! Amazing.
I LOVE wrapping! I appreciate this will divide opinion, but I love evenings spent wrapping presents. I sit near the tree, Christmas movie on, mulled wine in hand. I just adore it. But I am definitely particular about my wrapping. I like it to look beautiful but natural and be as eco friendly as possible. That is definitely becoming easier as suppliers are switching on to the importance of recyclable wrapping paper. Top tips, however, are:
- Avoid gift wrap that contains foil, glitter or plastic that cannot be recycled
- Try using brown paper and some natural materials to make your presents unique and beautiful
- I have seen some wonderful examples of materials and textiles being used, wrapped with ribbon, then saved and re-used year after year. I think this is such a lovely idea!
- There are some fantastic ideas on Pinterest for natural wrapping
- Companies like Re-wrapped offer some fantastic wrap made from 100% recycled materials
I hope these ideas have provided some inspiration for a unique and eco friendly Christmas! There is another fab blog on eco friendly Christmas ideas over at Its Our Planet Too. Worth a read!
Don’t forget our own tees, sweatshirts and bags are all made from eco friendly sustainable cotton and sent out in fully recyclable packaging. Green is a good thing. Happy Christmas season to you all, Emma and the Adventure Boys xx