There is not long now until the end of the year and the holiday season will be upon us. Safe to say that it will be a holiday season unlike any most of us have experienced.
However, all of us have a wonderful capacity to adapt and have formed a new sort of psychological ‘memory muscle’ having had to get used to the new normal. The circumstances may have changed this year but that also means there is opportunity to try new things and to adapt some new greener traditions of our own.
Planning ahead for yourself, friends, family and the planet is key whether it is for the holiday period or perhaps just getting ready to head into a new year. Planning will allow you to choose with care and to choose just enough to celebrate with sustainable gifts and experiences to suit your budget and circumstances.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Yes – eat plants!
What we eat and drink has a huge effect on our health and that of the planet, and is easy to change, starting with the next meal.
You don’t have to wait for the big day. Get the practice in now over the next few weeks. If we can’t gather together in larger numbers then you may as well experiment.
Make some space and get started now on clearing out the fridge/freezer in advance.
You do not need to throw anything out unless of course it is long over due a spring clean. Use what is there and fit it to a new recipe rather than the other way around.
Chop out that potential food waste
Plan out menus for a week or two ahead with the reward of replenishing the freed up space with plant based ingredients and alternatives. So introduce gradually and mix and match your alternative proteins, fresh produce and plant-based treats.
As an added bonus and especially this year see if you can shop local, organic and with minimal packaging. While you are in there give some suggestions as to what you would like to see more of. Remember the shops will stock only what will sell so if they don’t know then you won’t have better choice going forward.
(Dont) Rip it up (but) start again
Even with global warming the season is turning colder and at the same time bringing a lot of heavy rain. We have to wrap up more but we can also ‘change’ what we wear.
Play the long game
So if you really do need something new that keeps you warm and dry, why not try to think ahead for the next 5 years winters. Think slow fashion, created with love, sustainability and attention every step of the way. Quality design rarely goes out of fashion. Consider spending a bit more, not on a label, but on the item that will keep giving you (or your gift recipient) more back.
Choose well and avoid being ‘greenwashed’
Yes your clothes will keep you warm and make you look good – you got those covered – but consider where and how a product is made and what materials are used. From top-to-toe, you can choose clothes and accessories made with sustainable materials and from ethical supply chains.
Make clothes last longer with the right maintenance and care
By purchasing higher quality and with longevity in mind, your choices should be able to handle wear and tear more successfully. Remember you can also make your current items and new items last longer by less frequent lower temperature laundering.
In the bleak midwinter…what to do?
It is a time of year for gifting and in today’s digital age many gifts will come in the form of various electronic devices like phones, tablets, laptops, specialist sports devices, etc. There are a few things to keep in mind, along with price, when considering your purchase.
Check the sustainability story
Before buying check out the sustainability credentials of the companies producing the products. No manufacturing and supply chain is perfect but those that are starting to take sustainability seriously will be more transparent and will be keen to share their story and their energy ratings.
Cosy up to a green energy supplier
As the nights have drawn in we are now spending more time inside. We all need to stay warm and with the focus on climate change it can feel like we are somewhat between a rock and hard place when thinking about how to adapt our home energy use for the good of the planet.
It can be a daunting and initially expensive task to consider putting sun panels on a home roof and, frankly for many, it is not an option. However, there are other ways to achieve the same end. Have some one else do it and buy their energy instead. The energy you use in your home will still come from the national grid but by buying from a green energy provider you are changing the mix in to the grid for everyone and increasing the proportion of green energy across the whole system.
Decorate and have more fun with natural materials
Green your Christmas decorations with natural materials – holly, ivy, and living trees. Or repurpose your houseplants!
Get creative with DIY advent calendars, cards, wrapping, Christmas crackers, baked goods – there is a treasure trove of helpful resources online.
Travel well and get the most out of it
If you need to travel over the holidays consider taking a train, but if you need fly long distance then consider staying a bit longer longer and remote working. It is more possible now than ever.
(Make) Just a perfect day
At this time of year in the northern hemisphere many are SAD or affected by Seasonal Adjustment Disorder. This year especially, staying positive is critically important for ourselves those we love. As we relax and hopefully de-stress a little we can make some time to spoil ourselves a little.
Get mindful – you have the time!
A little mindfulness goes a long way. Consider spending the holidays living in the moment and encouraging others to do it. Tie that in with a bit of daily exercise to benefit mind and body. The weather might not always be obliging but wrapping up well (in that cool sustainable jacket) and making a point of observing nature when you are out will help slow you down and de-stress.
Tap into the benefits of fermentation
Experiment by including one or two fermented foods in your diet over the holidays to naturally increase the quantity of gut positive probiotics. What is good for the gut is good for your body including brain function. Consider Kombucha, sourdough bread, plant based yoghurts and kefir.
Listen to ‘Perfect Day
Traditionally at this time we gather in family groups and catch up on time stolen from us by the hustle and bustle of getting through the year. Depending on individual circumstances we may have had way too much exposure to loved ones or none at all due to restrictions. Whatever the case there is lots of scope to make celebrations joyful and ‘greenful’. At some point do kick back and listen to ‘Perfect Day’ and smile.