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The festive season is one that sparks joy and frivolity in many individuals and even the scrooges among us get swept up in the excitement by the time Christmas day arrives. However, for those who are mindful of the environment, the holiday season can be a cause for concern. Old traditions that ultimately create a lot of waste are being put under the spotlight as an increasing number of people look to bestow a more eco-conscious attitude into their lives. Thankfully, there is a myriad of solutions that are kind to the environment while maintaining a festive spirit and charm. In our journal, we take a look at some creative and thrifty ideas that save our planet's resources and your money.

model toy people putting a christmas tree on the roof of car

Why Should we opt for an Eco-Christmas?

While enjoying the holidays is all part of the fun, the season is notorious for producing an enormous amount of waste. Startling statistics from envirowaste.co.uk suggest that 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will be thrown away or burnt over Christmas. For reference, that is the same area as the island of Jersey. Similarly, 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be sent to landfill rather than recycled, and six million trees will be thrown away. It is easy to see why we need to start making a change to the previously unconsidered wasteful indulgence of the holidays.

What Changes Can You Make to Help?

Rent a Christmas Tree

Across the UK, some companies now offer an alternative to purchasing cut Christmas trees, which eventually die and get discarded. According to tree rental company Cotswold Fir, there are several environmental benefits to renting a potted Christmas tree. Firstly, pesticide use can be reduced as only specific pots would need to be targeted in the event of a problem. Similarly, using pots gives the land a much-needed break due to the less intensive nature of the farming techniques. The business cares for the trees during the year, nurturing them ready for the following season. When the trees get too big for pots, they are planted. In a sentimental twist, they find that people return year on year to rent the same tree, giving them names and watching them grow. Demand for Christmas tree rental is rising as more people look for an alternative to discarding old and dead trees.

Make Decorations out of Recycled Materials

Consider ditching the sparkly plastic and add a rustic, kitsch charm to your home décor. Unwanted materials such as old clothing or scarves can be recycled into handmade bunting to adorn your home. The creativity doesn’t stop there; you could try making your own tree decorations by creating multi-coloured pompoms. If you have children, encourage their inner artist and create various shapes, and colour them in to hang from the tree – you could add some biodegradable glitter.



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Card Alternatives

While the sentiment of a Christmas card is thoughtful, come the end of the season, they are often discarded. Many people now choose to use social media to share a loving holiday message while informing friends and family that instead of cards, they will be donating to a chosen charity. If a special card is a must, perhaps for a grandparent, you could purchase charity Christmas cards in the spirit of charitable giving.

Create a Winter Terrarium

The green-fingered among you might like to bring nature indoors by creating a winter wonderland terrarium. Decorative and ornamental, sealed terraria create a unique environment for plant growth and are fascinating to watch evolve. There are workshops and online tutorials on how you can create one for yourself.



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Donate to a Charity

Why not embrace the caring nature of the holidays and donate the money you’ve saved to a charity? With what’s left over from your thrifty creations, you could stick with the nature theme and donate to your favourite environmental charity. Your donation could help to fund research and conservation efforts that aim to save our beautiful planet.

Passionate about nature, Balance Holidays offer a range of eco-friendly retreats across Europe. With sustainability at the heart of what we do, our hand-crafted retreat programmes offer a variety of activities from cooking to creativity. Browse our website by retreat type for more information, and for more environmental news, take a look at why sustainable travel is important.