The holidays are a time we go big on celebrations (as you may have noticed). But that doesn’t mean we have to go big on carbon. With a few small tweaks you can get in the festive spirit and tackle climate change too.
1. The Tree
There’s nothing like the smell of the pine during the holidays, but should we be chopping down trees to decorate at home? The answer might surprise you. Carbon emissions-wise it takes a lot of energy to make a plastic holiday tree. So buying a plastic one is only better for the climate if you keep it for ten years plus. So, if you’re buying a faux tree, buy one that’ll last.
2. The Decorations
If you’ve bought your holiday lights relatively recently, chances are they’re super-low energy LEDs – win. They should last you plenty of years to come. Get your decorations to last too – buying new every year uses lots of elf energy to make the baubles. Or you could make your own.
3. The Holiday Dinner
Many of our holiday classics are in season in December – so you’re already on your way with carrots, parsnips and sprouts. Try to buy local too, and save on food miles.
When it comes to the centrepiece, some meats are better than others for the climate. Lamb and beef are the worst offenders, so why not try lower carbon turkey, salmon and goose? You could also add a few veggie dishes to the table – even a meat eater can’t resist a bit of melty mushroom wellington.
4. The Leftovers
A bit of creativity can see your turkey and carrots transformed. Holiday sandwiches on Boxing Day - obviously. But there’s a lot more options than that. Meat and potato pie, anyone? Add a bit of spice and knock up a curry. What about a four (or five, or six!) cheese pasta from the cheese board? Turkey fajitas, stir fry or a festive veg soup… the list goes on! And any leftover wine can make New Year’s Eve cocktails.
5. The Gifts
Receiving unwanted presents from well-meaning gift-givers may seem like a harmless tradition, but holiday sales are sending carbon levels through the roof. Use all your best spy skills to make sure your gift is something the recipient really wants. Or for something radical, why not give the gift of some quality time with your loved ones this year?*
6. The Chimney
Anywhere the Big Man can get in, the heat can get out. So if you’ve got a chimney, plug it with a chimney balloon, or a couple of old pillows. Don’t forget to take it out before the big night (and put out the mince pie and carrot)!
Even if you don’t have a chimney, there are plenty of ways you can make it cosier. Get hold of a draught excluder for the door and weather strips and nice big curtains for the windows.
*Some relatives may like this more than others.
This blog was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10. Find out more about the great work they do here.