By Marli Naidoo
A white Christmas with swirling snowflakes may seem attractive, but for me there is nothing better than a green Christmas in sunny South Africa. To make it even greener, we will focus on recycling and re-using as one of our new family traditions. There are many ways in which the amount of plastic that lands on the rubbish heap after Christmas can be decreased.
The easiest way to give a green gift, is by moving away from items that need to be wrapped. For a busy mother who can’t get around to everything, you can arrange the services of a cleaner to come and help out one day per week or so. In this way you are giving her the valuable gift of time to herself.
For your dad you can arrange the services of an organiser to help him sort out and organise his workroom and garage. He can then potter about in an orderly environment.
You can buy tickets to a concert for your sister, or sponsor a day at the spa together with a girlfriend.
Some people will be shocked by this suggestion, but why don’t we give our friends and family second-hand gifts? Tons of plastic products are manufactured and also discarded annually. By not buying yet another plastic product, you can contribute your share to the manufacture of better products, and less plastic to pollute the earth.
If the idea of second-hand gifts sends shivers down your spine, you could try buying as many as possible wooden products.
Collect all the plastic packaging, and after Christmas unload it at your nearest recycling depot.
Unwrap your gifts carefully so that you can keep the gift-wrap to use again next year. You can also make your own gift-wrap by painting old newspaper or using stamps. Also look in your cupboards for ribbons and material remnants with which to wrap the gifts in an attractive way.
Use material bags when doing your Christmas shopping.
A good idea is to buy a live tree. Buy an indigenous tree in a pot,which you can then plant in your garden afterwards, or give to someone who can use it. You can also keep the tree in the pot to use again next year. Should you prefer a plastic tree, use the same one each year. Don’t buy a new one every year.
Make your own Christmas cards with scraps of paper that are lying around in the house. You can also make your own paper. Digital cards work wonderfully to eliminate paper all together.
Make gifts yourself. The time and effort it takes, make them extra special. You can buy gifts made from recycled materials, and also products manufactured locally. Also try to buy fewer gifts this year.
Buy rechargeable batteries for toys that require them.
Every child need not receive twenty gifts. One well-considered gift has much more significance for the recipient, as well as for the environment.
Eco Organiser: https://www.ecoorganiser.com.au/rethink-christmas-reduce-reuse-recycle-reward/
Friends of the earth: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/natural-resources/21-ecofriendly-christmas-tips