It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Mulled wine, Christmas carols and food, so much food. However, it can also be a nightmare in terms of single-use plastics and other disposable items that end up going straight into landfill. Now, we’re not trying to be Grinches over here - we love Christmas! We just think there are some brilliant alternatives to plastic that you can use this festive period, so we’ve listed our favourites below.
Buy vintage jumpers
Christmas jumpers are fantastic, the tackier the better, but buying them new is not the best for the planet. This year, UK environmental charity Hubbub has warned against the festive garments as 95% are made using plastic. They estimate that UK shoppers will buy 12 million festive jumpers this year, despite already owning 65 million from previous years. So, instead of buying something brand new that you’ll only wear once a year, have a dig around some vintage shops or even swap with your friends to freshen up your Christmas wardrobe – it’ll be cheaper, too!
A huge part of Christmas is the giving of presents - in fact, it's one of the best parts. One of the most interesting trends that has emerged in the last few years is swapping the giving of physical things for experiences. Instead of picking out an item from a shop and giving it to your friend or loved one, why not treat them to a cooking class? Or take them to the theatre? At the end of the day, the memory of spending time with you will be far more precious than a gadget or trinket.
Decorating the tree or your house (usually with Wham! blaring in the background) is an essential December tradition for many. However, buying plastic decorations every year perpetuates their production and many end up getting broken or thrown away. Considering that red and green are the colours of Christmas, why not use sprigs of holly and fir, twigs and branches, mistletoe and pinecones to brighten up your home? You can also bake gingerbread tree decorations, which have the added benefit of being delicious.
Pick your paper
Ditch wrapping paper for beautiful and classic brown paper, tied up with string (just like the song). It will look beautiful under your tree and, if you manage not to tear it, can be used again. If you’re given presents wrapped in colourful paper, try saving it and using it again. Another alternative is using fabric or even a hamper, either that you make part of the gift or that you can ask for back after the recipient has opened their present. If you’d like some more inspiration, one of our favourite Manchester stockists is selling reusable hampers and upcycled Sari materials.
When cooking your Christmas feast, remember to take all your canvas bags with you when buying ingredients. Try to opt for loose fruit and veggies rather than those packaged in plastic and, if you are eating meat, buy from local, organic butchers. When you’re finished, why not make stock from leftover turkey or chicken bones and compost the vegetable peels? Your garden will thank you.
If you decide to give physical gifts, there’s a whole world of options out there that involve zero plastic and actively help our planet. Reusable coffee cups, lunchboxes, water bottles and food flasks all reduce plastic in daily life and make useful, thoughtful presents. A metal cutlery and straw set or bamboo toothbrush are also fantastic options. If you’re buying for a child, never fear - wooden toys have totally made a comeback!
Most importantly, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Looking for some Christmas shopping inspo? Discover our brand-new sustainable bottles and food flasks here! Follow us on Instagram at @sholeuk for updates and exciting news about our sustainable mission.