Whether you are an extremist who knits your own stockings from that organic sheep you keep in your garden, or you prefer to toss your conscience out of your frost-glazed, bulb-festooned window in December, here are some ideas for guilt-free festivities from Alex Morss
The tree Plastic is worse, environmentally. A real Christmas tree benefits wildlife, but do you know how much pesticide and fertiliser it took? Is it locally grown? FSC certified? Organic? Ask.
More sustainable alternatives to throwaway trees include growing an evergreen species in a pot, such as yew, spruce, pine or fir. Bring it in from your garden just for the season.
Failing that, recycle your dead delight via Bristol city council’s doorstep collections. The council collected 170 tonnes of trees in Bristol last year, all shredded and composted into crop fertiliser.
FOOD Half the food items in your Christmas shopping trolley would disappear without pollinators. That includes chocolate, cranberries, parsnips, sprouts, many nuts, cinnamon, cloves, most juicy fruits, seasonal delights such as mince pies, figgy pudding, mistletoe and some wine, spuds, red cabbage, chestnuts, holly plus many more.
You like bees and butterflies, right? Pollinator populations have crashed in the UK because of intensive farming. Give them a break from pollution. Buy organic vegetables as a Christmas thank you to pollinators.
Wrapping paper “We cannot recycle wrapping paper. Most of it is plastic or foil covered,” advised Tracy Croft at Bristol city council. Choose recycled or brown paper, or invest in beautiful, reusable fabric gift wrap, available online from local suppliers.
THE TURKEY Cut some slack to those poor turkeys – opt for free-range or organic, buy from a farmer or go veggie. Apart from the animal’s suffering and your health, the planet needs us to eat less meat to reduce habitat loss, famine, pollution and climate change.
PRESENTS Ban all vulgar plastic tat. Most of it has a short shelf life, is made overseas, with a huge carbon footprint, then gets dumped in landfill. Make your own gifts or give charity memberships instead. Try volunteering your time to a local charity over Christmas. It will give you more joy than giving or receiving
loads of gifts.
CRACKERS If you must have crackers, make your own with the kids, using recycled loo rolls filled with yummy treats. Better than a bad joke.
WILDLIFE Don’t forget local wildlife. Stock up your bird feeders and keep gardens a bit wild to give insects and small mammals somewhere to shelter.
LIGHTS LED lights use up to 90 per cent less energy than ordinary bulbs. But do you really need all those lights?None right now - check back soon