Only one more week of work for 2017! Hip Hip Hooray! The days are long, the sun is shining* and the Pohutukawas are in full bloom. If you’re reading this, shivering in the Arctic blast of Winter and thinking ‘oh, for some sun’, you’ve probably also got a little voice in your head say ‘but it doesn’t sound very Christmassy’. Well, I get that little voice too but when it comes to a plastic free Christmas, it’s very helpful. It’s very easy to let go of all the little details, and invent new traditions, when it’s Midsummer instead of Midwinter.
I’ll just run through some of the things that I do now.
Christmas Shopping. The great thing about having to post presents to the other side of the World means you’ve got all your Christmas shopping finished by mid November before all the shops fill up and panic buying ensues. I didn’t quite manage to go fully plastic free with my gifts this year, nor did I have time to make little Cotton gift bags, but I did skip all the plasticised wrapping paper. I used some scarfs and a Christmas tea towel (that seemed to be brand new) acquired from a Charity shop, which once washed and ironed, did perfectly for some gifts. The idea is derived from Japanese Furoshiki, though mine weren’t quite worthy of the art/ A couple of other presents were wrapped in photos I’d printed on paper but would otherwise have gone into recycling. But the best one was the Edmonds bag, which is a very Reusable wrapping.
Advent Calendar. My inner child loves the paper advent calendars with pictures behind the window. Sadly I couldn’t find any that weren’t wrapped in plastic this year so am making do with the Wonderous Wellington Advent Calendar. I did look at all the other kinds that you fill with sweets but they didn’t the surprise element and I might not have been able to stop at one sweet each day!
Christmas Cards – I made my own, which is something I often do anyway, but if you’ve a long list of cards to send and very little time, this wouldn’t be very practical. I had quite a stash of envelopes too, but didn’t think about stamps. They are self adhesive on a plastic backing. I never though to ask if they had paper ones. I could have gone to e-cards, but it isn’t really the same.
A few years ago I decided that if I was going to have an artificial tree, it might as well not be a plastic one so here’s my plywood one. I also decided to only buy ornaments that really appealed to me so may only add one or two every year. None of them are plastic but it does look like I need some more colour. I indulged in some lights last year (pre zero plastic) and while I’ve read that candles on trees are making a comeback I’d be too scared of burning the place down to try!
Food. Year by year I realise that I don’t enjoy eating ‘Christmas Food‘ in the Summer. I love turkey but the thought of having the oven on for hours brings me out in a sweat. And the last time I made Christmas cake, I didn’t eat it until July. Even boxes of chocolates lose the appeal when they go soft if left out at all. None of this means a lack of Christmas over indulgence – just that roast veg might get replaced with salads and stodgy pudding with pavlova. I’m slowly adapting to Kiwi Christmas food – strawberries and cherries. Maybe fish instead of Turkey. Dinner may be a BBQ or a picnic on the beach. It’s a lot more casual, but I’ll make sure I have my cutlery, cup and plate so I don’t rely on plastic ones! The only food I’m really going to miss is cream. I can’t find a plastic free source of that.
Christmas Parties. For our work Christmas Party this year we had a BBQ in the park, played backyard cricket, giant jenga and table tennis and then went for dinner afterwards at a rooftop bar/restaurant.
The sun shone and it was a wonderful relaxed way to wind down after a busy year. It really was the polar opposite of the indoor events all my office parties were in Dublin. Both types were great fun but so very different.
All in all, I don’t think a plastic free Christmas will be much of a hardship for me. It might not look like Christmas if you’re use to a Winter one, but some things never change. It’s a time to relax, eat too much, catch up with people and generally put up the feet and have a good time!
And in case I don’t get to update before then, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Nollag Shona and Mere Meri Kirihimete, however and whereever you’re celebrating.
*I tell a lie. After no rain since 8th December, today as I was writing this, it has clouded over and we have some much needed precipitation.