5 simple ways to be greener on the run-up to Christmas

We all want to do our part this year and with the planet becoming ever more at risk, we need to get creative. However, it can be especially difficult for parents to think of ways to be greener, particularly during the festive season. That is why we have come up with 5 very simple ways for families to reduce their impact on the Earth this Christmas. 

1. Always bring your own bags

We've gotten good at bringing our own bags to the weekly shop or down to the newsagents. However, many people don't apply the same practice to Christmas shopping. If you count the amount of paper or plastic bags you collect after a hectic afternoon in town or a couple of hours at a shopping centre, you could open your own chain of retail stores. Stuff a load of bags into one big bag and bring them with you on your excursion. Tell the person at the till that you don't need a bag and fill your own with the bits you buy!

2. Opt for activity gifts

We are not saying to abandon traditional presents like toys and clothes. However, you could try to be a little more conscious when it comes to the stuff you buy for your friends and family. Go on Ticketmaster or eventbrite.com and scroll through the many events, concerts, comedy gigs or activities that are coming up in the new year. Plan a day out somewhere to an adventure park or activity centre as a Christmas present for godchildren or nieces and nephews. This will also ensure you get to spend quality time with those you love as well as reducing the waste that would accumulate with a physical plastic toy. 

3. Shop Local

Try to choose small local businesses for your Christmas shopping needs. It may be handier or even cheaper to buy from big companies that make products overseas. However, if you make an effort to research local shops for items on your list you can reduce your overall footprint this year. 

4. Buy food loose 

When you go grocery shopping for festive celebrations, try to choose loose fruit and veg. Packaging is a huge waste especially when you're shopping list is longer than usual, as it tends to be at this time of year. We all wonder why absolutely everything comes with what seems like an excessive amount of plastic packaging. You can avoid throwing away all of this waste by bringing your own fabric tote bags to do the biggest 'big shop' of the year. 

5. Ditch non- recyclable wrapping paper

We were simply horrified when we discovered that the film used to make wrapping paper shiny, renders it unworthy of the green bin. Opt for a roll of brown paper this year for wrapping Christmas gifts. Another top tip is to open everything you get carefully and reuse the wrapping paper! 

Anna Murray is an Irish student mum to one little girl.

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