Christmas has just ended : what did you eat ? What decoration did you choose ? What did you offer to your close ones ? What have you been offered ?
Do you think your Christmas was sustainable ? Is it possible to combine Christmas and ethics ? Let’s have a closer look together !

Step 1 : presents

#1 Let’s wrap !

Each year is the same chore, once all the gifts opened, we gather all the paper gifts of the dozen of presents directly in…the trash. If it has been the case this year, do better next year !

1. Keep all the none teared down gift wrappings for next year

2. Choose not to buy paper gifts anymore (but you can finish your paper wrapping roll ;))

3. Wrap your gifts with fabric (see Furoshiki method with Spoonflower), recovered and reusable paper (kraft, newspaper etc.), boxes or tote bags.

#2 Crafty gifts

1. Prefer as much as possible second-hand objects or reconditioned equipment for household appliances and electronics. In other words, avoid brand new gifts !

2. Choose gifts that provide experiences ! Think of gift vouchers for activities or trips like show tickets – theater, ballet, opera, one-man show, musicals, cinema), weekends, massage sessions, cooking lessons, dance workshops, coaching sessions etc.

3. If you feel like it, do your own presents yourself ! It is cheaper, you better know where it comes from and it will for sure be 100% personalized ! Find below what I’ve prepared this year 🙂 : soy wax candles, salt baths flavored with essential oil, bee wraps in old candles, jam or sauce glass containers !

In brief : avoid buying knick-knacks and prefer useful – and wished 🙂 – presents !

Step 2 : decoration

Use recovery equipment or make it yourself for a maximum of originality because it’s sure: your decoration won’t exist elsewhere!

1.  We reuse as much as we can from one year to the next! You can find more and more decorative objects that are only available for one season at Hema, Sostrene Gene, H&M Home, Little Extra, Action, Gifi and so on. EXIT the light garlands that don’t last through the winter. If you decide to buy them, quality first! We also think about choosing colours and materials that we want to see in the following years.

2. For the light strings, there are those with LEDs which are more economical in energy than conventional ones and even solar strings which are recharged during the day. In any case, don’t forget to turn them off at night 🙂

3. For the fir tree, which has become a must in France since the 1920s, you should know that more than 99% of the fir trees sold in France are cultivated with phytosanitary products. Other facts: 60% come from Belgium, 25% from Denmark and only 15% come from France and it takes 5 to 10 years depending on the desired size on average to obtain a Christmas tree. All this to say that the cut tree is not very ecological.

What are the alternatives ? Zoom on 5 proposals below !

#1 The potted tree : ideal because you can keep it from one year to the next! However, you will need a garden or balcony big enough to keep it there all year round 🙂

#2 The organic fir : An organic fir at Francesapinbio is 0 chemical residue, 1 cut tree = 1 planted tree, made in France, job creator, recyclable and even edible!

#3 The artificial tree : it’s rather a bad option. Unless you got it from Auntie Jeanette. Indeed, this tree is made of plastic and is therefore obtained from petroleum-based products, which is a non-renewable resource whose extraction, exploitation and destruction is very polluting and energy-consuming (so it’s a zero score!). Since it takes years to amortize a plastic tree environmentally speaking, and that on average this type of tree is changed every 3 years in France, it is better to give up this option. Unless you are one of those who keep the same tree for a lifetime (no no I don’t feel concerned :D) . Otherwise, it is almost better to choose a natural cut tree!

#4 The creative tree : we use our creative talents to build our own Christmas tree at a lower cost ! Made of paper, wood, fabric… The hardest part is to get started, believe me ;). Propose a Christmas tree DIY afternoon between girlfriends, cousins, little cousins. It’s even more fun with several people ! Afraid to go for it ? Take a tour on Google or Pinterest to find inspiration. Here are a few examples of creations there !

#5 No tree : what if we did without? If the party isn’t at home but at Aunt Suzie’s, you don’t need a tree to put the presents there 😉

Step 3: food

The watchword: MAKE IT SIMPLE!

Don’t prepare a lot. YES, and that has only advantages ! Look at this : by eating and drinking less, we improve our digestion, we save our energy for the rest of the evening, we improve our quality of sleep when Morpheus stretches out his arms, for a hangover-free awakening and a light stomach ! Last but not least : it’s very good for your wallet 🙂 and that… I buy ! – or not precisely ;)) -.

In short, you avoid useless purchases and food waste. To do this, you prepare your menu in advance!

************Little Reminder*************
Fruits and vegetables of December [France]

Vegetables: Garlic, Beetroot, Broccoli, Carrot, Celery, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Squash, Shallot, Endive, Spinach, Lettuce, Lamb’s lettuce, Turnip, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Leek, Pumpkin, Radish, Rutabaga, Salsify, Jerusalem artichokes.

Fruits: Pineapple, Avocado, Banana, Lemon, Clementine, Chestnut, Broad Beans, Pomegranate, Persimmon, Kiwi, Tangerine, Mango, Orange, Grapefruit, Papaya, Pear, Apple, Prune.

*******End of the Little Reminder********

Example of an ethical meal – not vegan nor veggie – : 

  1. Drink:
    #For the aperitif : 1 cocktail with alcohol / 1 cocktail without alcohol – think of children, pregnant women and simply those who make the (right) choice not to drink 🙂 –
    #For the meal: 1 bottle of wine – count 1 glass per drinker, 2 if all the guests are not transported or stay overnight 😉 –
  2. Appetizers: basket of carrots, radish, cauliflower, celery with its organic sheep cheese sauce seasoned with chives, salt and pepper + Bites of fresh endives with beetroot & fresh cheese sprinkled with crushed dry nuts and chives
  3. The starter: leek ‘velouté’ with its cheese ’tile biscuit’ and bacon
  4. The main dish : Oven-roasted can with chestnut, potato, apple, carrot, onion, garlic accompaniment
  5. The dessert : a single yule log
  6. The cutlery : No disposable dishes, even if you receive many people : long live the dishwasher ! If you’re one of those who don’t have one, washing dishes together can be a convivial activity and conducive to confidences 😉

In short : try to cook yourself as much as possible, seasonal, local  – no lobster nor salmon under plastic with antibiotics – and organic – even better – !

So, did you get everything right for this Christmas ? If not, it’s not too late to make up for it next year 🙂

Feel free to comment and share your ideas & best practices!

Photo credits @Hong An Guy @Elodie @Unsplash

Elodie LUC
Founder of Happyethics.com