Green Celebrations: Easy Tips for a more Earth Friendly Season

You may have noticed we didn’t participate in the recent Black Friday Sales. (Even though we already had a fabric sale on!)  The notion of the day contradicts what we do, especially at a time of year when it can easily get out of hand.     

The environmental impact of the season, with its excess wrapping paper, packaging, shipping and gifts that can break before you can say “the sun’s out” is undeniably terrible for our planet. This excess not only takes up space in landfills, but can potentially emit harmful carbon dioxide.

Even our ancestors knew we were being wasteful. Natasha’s grandmother drummed into her the importance of being thrifty, including saving the wrapping paper. “Think of all the starving kids in Ethiopia” she would bellow as she carefully tried not to rip the thin paper. 

We know you don’t need convincing about environmental issues, so Natasha has compiled a few tip to help reduce our carbon footprint this season.

1. Off set your Travel

For a few dollars you can invest in carbon offsets. We love Ekos for offsetting flights and driving! The best thing is they aren’t just investing pine forests. They invest in Native Regeneration projects here in New Zealand. Ekos 

2. Hire an EV  

If you are travelling further afield and hiring a car, try to book an EV or Hybrid. Not only do you not have to run around and find a petrol station before returning, you can save you on Petrol money. Or if you are staying local, did you know that there is a City Hop Van and a Car just around the corner from our shop? Available by the hour we often use their vans to help set up for Home Shows.

3. Don’t wrap with new Christmas Paper

Christmas paper doesn’t have to be thin that rips or non-recyclable tissue. Choose something that will be reused, or has had another life.  Make or buy Cloth bags or Furoshiki fabric wraps. I wrap large boxes in pillowcases for the kids and smaller items, like books in tea towels. Alternatively wrap your gifts in upcycled material like the kids artwork, old pattern instructions/tissue, old maps or newspaper that is compostable. Old fabric from op shops works too.

4. Make your own Gifts 

Cut down the shopping by making Christmas gifts yourself, like preserves, Muesli**, baking, sewing, homemade cosmetics or try making your own honeywraps. If you are time-shy then choosing ‘experience gifts’ rather than items could be ideal. I often op shop through the year and grab suitable items like bowls or platters books and trinkets. 

5. Spread the Eco Love

Introduce your friends and family to more sustainable gifts. Fabric wraps, keep cups, eco card sets, plants, sewing kits, eco books, Vege Luffas etc.

6. Have that chat  

Have conversations with loved ones about buying and receiving so many items this year. Are there alternatives to material items? Giving homemade vouchers like babysitting, or house cleaning (be careful not to offend the sister over that one, speaking from experience). 

7. Plan your Christmas meal

Buy only what you need, plan meals early and avoid the Christmas queues as much as possible. Opt for homemade meringues rather than packaged ones. If you have a huge gathering, try to use real crockery and cloth napkins rather than disposables. This can be borrowed or sourced at op shops.

It seems obvious but choose your meat with minimal packaging. Bring your own bags and containers to stores. Or buy what you need from bulk bins, or Refillerys. I am a classic culprit of leaving my bags at home. Whenever I do this I buy Council rubbish bags and half fill them with groceries, for re-using later.

8. Seek Natural decorations

Avoid buying anything plastic, tinsel-laden or glitter-infused to decorate your home.These artificial decortaions tend to shed microplastics into your vacumn cleaaner and into the environment. Choose more natural alternatives such as flowers, leaves, plants & pine cones, not only for the sake of the planet but for the health of your home.  

Consider using Fabric bunting that can be used over and over. Second hand decorations are an excellent choice keping things out of landfill. There are many alternatives for upcycled Christmas trees, using timber offcuts – like we have done in our shop window, or pieces of driftwood, a branch off a tree, or even a small tree you can plant in the garden afterwards. 

Here’s a recipe for Muesli that Natasha has used for over 10 years!

** Muesli from episode 2 Te Radar – TVNZ
1 kg whole oats (Harraways is excellent and local)
1/2 cup of cashews (or instead try almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups of peanuts (either blanched or even better buy raw and blanch your own under the grill at 200 degrees Celsius for about 10 mins)
2 cups raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup chopped apricots, mango or peach
1/2 cup of thread coconut
3/4 cup canola or olive oil
4 tablespoons of honey

  1. blanch your peanuts under the grill if you haven’t bought blanched nuts
    mix oil and honey together by popping in a cup and microwaving for about 40 seconds
  2. put oats, nuts, coconut and seeds into a big oven tray and pour over the oil and honey mixture and combine well
  3. bake at 150 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly for an evening toasting
  4. allow to cool then add the dried fruit (don’t toast the fruit or it burns and turns into hard lumps)
  5. bottle, eat and enjoy
    Things to remember.
    Don’t buy salted nuts. they need to be unsalted. Look in the bulk bins or baking isle at the supermarket
    Whole oats are better for you because they contain bran but if you find them too crunchy, rolled oats are fine too.