A post on facebook seen today was warning about the plastic nonsense that we have in Christmas crackers and urging people to boycott crackers and decorations in general to save the planet. I can hear groans of ‘Its not christmas yet!’ I know that but it never hurts to give it a little prep time.
I was wandering through the local garden centre this week and saw that strings of lights in glass receptacles of various kinds seem to be the trend. There were some lanterns with strings of leds that caught me attention until I looked at the price tags… they began at £15 and went up to £50, and more… But they did give me an idea.
Around the house I have a number of nightlight lanterns and some strings of bottle lights. Put the two together and voila! All that will be needed come December is a few sprigs of green and we have lift off! Fashion of the year from junk I already own. And of course these can double as Halloween lanterns with the right accessories!
Now you see where this recent fad for decluttering has its downside 🙂
Whilst on the xmas theme I can’t help feeling that is there is a sizable helping of humbug and grinch emanating from some quarters when posting Christmas memes. So many people have spoken of the season being ‘cancelled’, but why? The season is what it is, whether or not you celebrate the Christmas that shops and tv ads present – or perhaps Yule and the Winter Solstice is your season, or Hannuka, Kwanzaa, Bohdi, a belated Dwali. I could go on but you get my drift.
Okay, the ‘gathering of the clan’ Christmas may not be feasible this time around, but perhaps this is the year we can all think of something closer to our own homes. As a child I lived in the back of beyond and so never saw extended family (grandparents etc) over the holidays, but still loved plundering hedgerows around the farm during December for the cones and berries and evergreen branches to make decorations. Liberal application of glitter and paper decorations made from crepe paper or those packs of coloured paper strips licked and stuck into miles of paper chains. Balloons or course – rubber balloons filled by lungfuls of air and not foil items full of hydrogen let loose to cause havoc amongst the wildlife.
Living in a city, with a small courtyard for a garden, the greenery option is obviously harder, so how do we make our houses shine and still be junk free? We can make a start by a few simple changes. For example – just ditch that tacky tinsel and go for coloured paper and lights!
Then now we come to choosing those crackers without the useless plastic junk that they usually contain, and the pathetic tissue hats that fall apart the moment you wear them. If you don’t want to make your own you can buy crackers made with recycled card and paper. Many come, complete with ‘snap’ and hat, and you just insert your own gifts. No need for expense in that department. A wrapped chocolate or sweet is plenty. (Homemade sweeties will make it that bit special.) As for hats? If you want to push the boat out put party hats next to every plate. Or maybe start a family tradition with xmas hats that come out every year! I have seen reusable ‘crackers’ made of cloth, but IMHO the big thing with crackers is choosing someone to pull the other side of the cracker and getting that snap. Without the noise they are no longer ‘crackers’, in which case be more eco friendly and just go for hats and gifts.
I like cards. Getting electronic versions is all well and fine but you can’t decorate the mantlepiece with virtual pictures. I enjoy sending them out and get a thrill from having them arrive on the mat in the weeks coming up to xmas. I always buy charity cards. But – I hear people cry – I give money to charity instead, which is laudable but why can’t we do both? True, the postage has become prohibitive – though sending cards does make seasonal work for posties. But if you only buy a few to that you can drop through the letter box for yourself it will bring a smile to faces. As with the crackers – make sure that if you do send cards they don’t have glitter or foil on them as this makes them unrecyclable!
If you are buying decorations for your tree try to make sure they are glass, wood, metal or paper. Yes you have to watch your pets but that should not be that hard. I have never had a pet free Christmas and only once have I ever had a tree brought down by a cat.
I still make a lot of our xmas goodies recyclable, upcycleable or simply reusable. I have three large boxes of xmas decs in the attic to prove it 🙂
As for pressies? We shall get onto that another time – but here’s a hint… BOOKS! Lots and lots of books! Support your local author!