Written by guest writer, Claudia Lee
Catching the festive spirit? We invited sustainability writer, Claudia Lee, to share how she is living and giving more sustainably this festive season.
Little things like the baubles on a Christmas tree, party crackers on the dining table and a wreath on the front door all conjure the yuletide spirit. The sight of a gingerbread man, or the whiff of a cinnamon tinted candle reminds us that Christmas is around the corner.
This type of imagery has been part of the global winter holidays narrative since time immemorial, appealing to the collective desire to feel the warm, fuzzy feeling and the sense of indulgence that is now associated with this season. It’s a fact that global brands leverage the holiday season to fuel consumerism, with two fifths of Europeans feeling ‘forced’ to spend at Christmas.
The Waste that comes with the Festive Period
Apparently, although two of ten Brits will choose not to buy a gift because of its environmental impact, almost half (47%) state that they still prefer to buy the ‘perfect gift’, even if they are aware of its environmental impact.
SPOILING YOUR LOVED ONES MORE SUSTAINABLY
To an extent, I can associate with that; it is always a joy to see my family happy, and thinking about that makes me momentarily forget about the impact these products will have on the planet. But as I become more aware of the disastrous environmental and social impacts of global consumerism, I am finding new ways to gift and decorate more sustainably. Below, I share some platforms I turn to to shop for sustainable gifts and decorations and some DIY ideas you can ‘deck your halls’ with.
Ethical Superstore is an e-commerce platform that sources a range of products with ethical credentials. To make the shopping process easier for us, they’ve added ethical credentials for all of their products; I love that they’re introducing lots of local and smaller ethical brands while also offering products from larger brands like Divine Chocolate.
Renewable energy company Southern Energy curated a B Corp shopping list, with 11 categories of products ranging from ‘Caffeine Crushers’ to ‘Outdoor Enthusiasts’. Certified B Corps are a ‘new kind of business’ which balances profit, with people and our planet; you can find a directory of B Corps here.
Zero waste store Slowood is my go to place in Hong Kong for all types of sustainable gifts, from
Loving Earth Chocolate to Juniper Ridge Colognes. The range of products they sell mean that I always spend longer than expected exploring it beautifully designed space, so if you’re in Hong Kong, I can’t recommend a better place to stock up on some sustainable stocking fillers.
#2 Sustainable Holiday Decorations
Sustainable Christmas Wreaths
Both Fierce Blooms’ Christmas Wreath and Floristry’s Archangel Christmas Wreath are floristries that source local and seasonal foliage for its wreaths. The dried ingredients adorning Fierce Bloom’s wreath are grown in local gardens. The Floristry, one of my favourite florists in Hong Kong, rejects all plastic packaging and deliver florals in biodegradable Hessian fabrics.
Soy wax candles are better for the planet because unlike conventional paraffin wax they are natural and biodegradable. Sold in reusable glass jars, WeEarths’ candles have festive names like ‘Cinnamon Swirl’ and ‘Forest Fig’, every part of the candle making process is also cruelty-free and vegan. BeCandle is handmade locally in Hong Kong, on top of scents like ‘Pine Needle’ and ‘Tangerine Cinnamon’, they’re also offering Christmas candle making workshops!
Plastic Free Eco Star and Bauble Crackers from Eco Vibe
Everyone loves the excitement of popping a Christmas cracker, but the gifts inside are probably thrown away within a few days of Christmas. Ecovibe’s crackers and the surprises in them are all plastic-free and biodegradable, making for an equally fun but more eco-friendly cracker poppin’ experience.
#3 DIY Christmas Decorations
I’ve also curated a list of DIY Christmas decorations you can easily put together. Try making some to destress after a long day, or to get yourself in a festive mood, I promise it will feel better than walking in a crowded store trying locate Christmas decorations!
All you need are some strings or twines, recycled card paper and some paint to pull off these recycled paper baubles! If you’re looking for eco-friendly paint, Colourcraft sells eco-acrylic paint in a variety of colours!
Wine Bottle Filled with Christmas Lights
For a quick five-minute decoration, grab a used wine bottle and put in some fairy lights. Turn the lights on and TADA! If you have time, you can customise the bottle by painting on some Christmas imagery!
Dipping your old baubles in paint
An easy way to repurpose your baubles is to dip them in paint. You can make all sorts of new designs with some old baubles and emulsion paint. Dip the baubles in the paint and leave them to dry overnight. If you want to take it further, you can also paint decorations onto the baubles the next day. Follow Hayley Stuart’s step by step guide here.
Wooden Star Light
I love anything Scandinavian and rustic looking. This Wooden Star light only requires some thin branches, fairy lights and PVA glue to make. To make it more festive, sprinkle some acorns or potpourri around it!