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How do we inspire kids to be more sustainable at Christmas?

There are few things quite like the magic and excitement of Christmas, especially through the eyes of our children. But for little ones, Christmas can very quickly become all about the presents. And when those requests start to get louder, and larger, they can overwhelm the true meaning of Christmas, and take a big toll on our environment.

So how do we balance the joy of Christmas with our ambition to be more sustainable?

My eldest child is 5 this Christmas, which I think is a great age to start talking about how we can still have an amazing, exciting Christmas without the over-consumption and creating too much waste. Here are some of the eco-friendly ideas we’ve come up with.

 

Wrapping paper

My kids love art and craft, so we’re creating our own wrapping paper with hand-drawn Christmas decorations. Foil-based or glittery wrapping paper can’t be recycled, which is why we’re sticking with the more sustainable option. Plus, it’s so much more personal when the children have decorated it themselves.

Christmas wrapping paper

 

Christmas decorations

Instead of buying the cheap, mass-produced, over-packaged glittery baubles which are terrible for the environment, look for more sustainable options. Look for decorations made from natural materials like wood, or higher quality options that will last for many years. Check out the beautiful wooden decorations we purchased at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo over the weekend – sustainable and free of packaging!

Taronga Zoo Christmas decorations

 

Composting Christmas day leftovers

Food waste from Christmas day isn’t talked about a lot, but it’s massive! Make sure you compost as many leftover food scraps as possible – if you don’t have a home compost bin, check with your local council as many have community composting spots that you can take your scraps to.

And please please please don’t use disposal plates and cutlery! Yes it takes longer to wash the dishes after all that entertaining, but our environment will thank us for it.

Christmas food

 

Reducing the number of gifts

This is a big one, and can be tricky to implement, especially if you have a big family who all want to buy your children something. As best as possible, we try to implement the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” idea. My belief and experience has been that children are as excited about 4-5 presents as they are over 20 presents! We also focus our time finding or creating presents for others (especially those less fortunate than us), so we’re encouraging the joy of giving rather than just receiving.

Unwrapping presents

 

Purchase more sustainable gifts

If you can, take a bit of extra time to look for ethical and sustainable products and businesses for your Christmas shopping. Look for items that are locally made and/or from more sustainable materials. Our toys are a great example of this (of course you knew I was going to say that!). Sometimes it can feel all a bit hard to look for these types of gifts, but I promise they’re out there, and definitely worth it when you find them!

Wishing you a wonderful, sustainable Christmas!