Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas... the list goes on. Are we all brainwashed to believe this time of year equates to spending all of our money on unnecessary items? For those of us who are trying to buy less and to live with more purpose; the upcoming months bring bigger challenges than how many layers of clothing to wear. We've compiled our top tips for being green and living more mindfully during all of the festivities. We believe that with small changes we can all minimise our carbon footprint over the colder months!
A fun and exciting time for kids (and adults) Halloween has become a favourite holiday over the years. The traditions vary from adult's fancy dress parties to trick or treating with the kids. We often decorate our homes with pumpkins, cobwebs and of course stock up on a lot of sweets (candy). When doing the weekly food shop aisles are often full of Halloween paraphernalia (i.e. useless items that you never use again). Try to think more practically this year about what you actually need. Start a tradition of planting pumpkin seeds for next year. Make costumes out of old clothes and things you already have lying around the house. There are loads of ideas all other the internet. Avoid sweets/candy packaged in lots of plastic and pick your own at a candy store with a reusable container!
Bonfire Night (For the English folk)
One of the quintessential english traditions, us english love a good bonfire night celebration. It's always a busy night, avoid adding to the air pollution problem by sitting in traffic to reach the biggest fireworks display, go local instead! Is there a smaller display nearby that you can walk to? And don't forget your reusable drink containers to avoid the single-use plastic cups.
Thanksgiving (For the American folk)
Check your cupboards before running to the store, maybe you already have some ingredients. Take your reusable grocery bags and try to avoid food packaged in plastic as much as possible. If leftovers can't be consumed then consider composting food scraps, your soil will certainly appreciate it!
I'll let you in to a little secret that you might have heard of before... Black Friday is a bit of a scam. Companies increase their prices gradually in the lead up to Black Friday before dropping the price back down to the original price for the event! This clever marketing scheme makes us consumers think we have to buy and we have to buy fast, sending us all crazy! Our best advice is to avoid the hype. We always think any purchasing decision should be a slower process. If you really want something new, take your time and do your research before running to the store to buy. You'll probably find a cheaper and often better alternative after some research.
Oh Christmas time, you either love it or hate it but either way you can't escape it. Christmas has become more than just a day of celebrations with preparations starting as early as September, October time. Everything has a Christmas theme with Christmas-y coffees, excuses for daily chocolate and shops filling with potential gifts for your close ones. We have a few tips for Christmas:
1. Ask loved ones what they really want, ie. don't buy something for the sake of it. It will likely end up never used. Find out what they really want to ensure the gift has been thought through.
2. Try Furoshiki, the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts with reusable fabrics. This is a great alternative to wrapping in single-use paper (that for the most part is not-recyclable). Furoshiki can be great fun and you can also pass the tradition on to your friends asking them to do the same and reuse the fabric next time they gift.
3. What's that? the stores will be closed for two days over Christmas... we better buy EVERYTHING just in case we need it! I know this feeling too well and it's only in recent years that my family have realised how bizarre this concept is. Sit down and write a list of the food you actually need over the Christmas period and then go shopping.Don't get tempted by additional food that won't get eaten. Statistics show that a third of brits throwaway leftover Christmas Dinner each year. Get resourceful and start researching recipes for leftovers!
We hope our top tips are helpful for the colder months, we'd love to hear any other suggestions you might have.