5 easy steps to a more animal- and environmental friendly Christmas

Kristine Bruerberg Karlsen

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Christmas is the cosiest and best time of the year. You spend time with family and friends, eat lots and lots of good food and sit completely still in front of the TV for several hours just to relax and it’s all socially acceptable.

Unfortunately, Christmas can also be pretty bad for the environment.  In fact, The Independent wrote in 2006 that more than a billion Christmas cards would be thrown away in January in Britain alone and 83 square kilometers of wrapping paper – that’s enough to gift wrap the island of Jersey!

Fortunately, there are ways to save the environment without letting it get in the way of the holiday spirit. These tricks might help ease your conscience once Christmas is over.

1. Give away a present with a meaning

Gifts which support an organisation, charity or a cause have become more and more popular the last few years. Several organisations have joined in on the trend and are now selling gifts you can purchase while supporting a cause.

For example can you let a good friend adopt a tiger, a panda, a leopard shark or an elephant in WWF‘s webshop, buy a toy for a lonely dog over at PETA’s or support Born Free’s work by giving away an orangutang hot water bottle cover.

2. Bake your decorations

Instead of buying new, cheap ornament every year, The Telegraph suggests that you could bake gingerbread men (and delicious gingerbread ladies) to hang on the Christmas tree. Are you a nerdy Star Wars-fan or expecting a visit from a Moomin-fan? Google how to make an R2D2-cookie that’s going to taste and look good.

3. Eat less meat

It can be difficult to stay away from traditional turkey, but it’s important to not forget that one thing we should all be a little bit better at the whole year round: eat a little less meat than before. Luckily, there’s lots of delicious recipes on Christmas dinners that you’ll love, and a dish or two might be better than the ones you’re used to. Check out BBC Good Food’s recipe for a Nut Roast or Jamie Oliver’s Whole Roasted Cauliflower.

4. Make homemade fat balls for the garden birds

Don’t forget the little, cold ones who are out in the snow. Warm fat until it’s liquid, mix in seeds and pour in muffin tins. Store the tins in a cool place until its and hang in a tree when you’re done!

5. Pick local alternatives

As far as possible, buy your veggies, bread, dairy and homemade gifts from local producers. You’ll support a business who doesn’t use cars, trains of planes to transport their goods, and will have saved the environment from unnecessary pollution. Furthermore, the cities and towns are packed with Christmas markets already, so check off at least on Sunday this month to spend some time with your loved ones.

Good luck!