I have lot’s of children and Christmas should be all about the children but on this zero waste journey, I seem to feel a little deflated. So here’s how I’m doing it!
The shops are full of endless tat, money is tight anyway and then throwing Christmas into the mix, all whilst trying to create a magical Christmas like I had as a child. Urgh, I feel like an utter humbug.
It’s been a few years in the process and we’re getting there. Creating our own way of doing things. My family have got on board and trying to buy things that are wanted and needed for the children. Last year my brother promised to take each of them out for a day of their choice, an activity with him. In turn he got to spend time with them and they’ve created memories with him.
I guess the best Zero waste Christmas’ are about creating memories, moments, magic. It’s not all about Christmas day but the season. Off to the pantomime (for my American followers – A pantomime is like going to the theatre but think, cheesy, old British humour, put on for children but full of inappropriate adult humour that the children don’t really yet ‘get’, men dressed as dames and a bit of a giggle.), baking with the children, ginger bread houses, putting up the Christmas tree, getting out the decorations, snuggling up watching festive movies, parties with their clubs and even that pain in the arse elf.
This year for Christmas we don’t have our children on Christmas day because we are separated from their other parents and take it in turns each year. So memories for me is a pretty big thing. We’ve decided to get them them all passes to the theme parks, which kind of doubles as Birthday presents, as we’ll still need fuel to get there and food for 7 off us at these places doesn’t come in cheap. The passes allow the children to build up an idea of how their year is going to go and adventures as a family we can go on. In my eyes is priceless.
My husband for me last year created a date box because our relationship is important and spending quality time together is key. There were cheap dates, vouchers for the cinema, afternoon tea (our hobby is trying afternoon where ever we travel), pizza and movie nights and a few random trips. It was lovely and exciting, it was a gift that lasted about 6 months.
Out with the old and in with the old.
Children do grow up and to be fair some toys have been passed down to each other, some toys they’ve had over the years, some have come in second hand because I don’t always believe in paying for something brand new when second hand has been in perfect condition (and already set up), plus younger children don’t always respect toys. Each year I get the children to go through their stuff (it’s getting less and less), to decide what to keep, what’s broken/ needs fixing, what they no longer want and can donate.
Then their comes the Christmas tree!!!!!! OMG, how stressful is that. Get a new one, get a real one, the fake ones are full of plastic bits, use wooden decorations…..
The list went on. My home Christmas tree I’ve had for about 8-9 years now it’s still full looking and the decorations have been handed down. The shop Christmas tree we brought last year from a charity shop across the way from our social enterprise and the decorations were second hand and were donated to us. This year however we could not for the life of us find the base and I didn’t want to have to throw it away. Kelsey found a box a weighted it down, it still looks beautiful.
I hate seasonal food waste and for those of you who don’t know I also run the Trash Cafe Network (The Real Junk Food Project South Coast) we collect and distribute 5-12 tons of food a week and feed around 1000 a week, all on a pay as you feel basis. Last year on Christmas eve we had around 25 tons of food that day. So again we’ll be fighting food waste and what better way to have a zero waste and frugal festive feast!!!
I guess to wrap a zero waste Christmas up, don’t worry about all the extra sh*t you think you have to buy, don’t buy for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Spend time together, think about what makes you happy at Christmas and just wing it like the rest of us.
- Chloe Cobb – forced and begged to write a Zero waste Christmas blog.