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We are well and truly in the swing of the silly season. End of year presentations, christmas parties and an email inbox frenzy promising bargains can sometimes take the spirit right out of Christmas and leave you wondering, is this what Christmas is all about?

As a western nation, consumerism is well ingrained in our culture. But this comes at a very high price.  Christmas is a very environmentally unfriendly time when we ponder the facts. Australians consume 8000 tonnes of wrapping paper every year, which is about 50 000 trees! An easy solution is using reusable gift bags, boxes or santa sacks.For more in depth sobering stats, you can read our previous post: http://Www.sustainababy.com.au/blog/sustainababy/eco-friendly-christmas

As if our eco-mother guilt wasn’t overwhelming enough, we thought we’d put together some Eco Tips that won’t make you the Christmas Grinch or Grump!

1. Keep it Fairtrade and/or local. http://Www.farmersmarkets.org.au is a great place to start. We are so fortunate to have an abundance of markets in both urban and rural communities. Not only are we supporting local families and small businesses, the environmental impact really makes a difference. Many local areas also put on some summer/Christmas pop up markets, where unique gifts and festive supplies will give you an extra feel-good factor.

2. Eco Christmas trees? We have a reusable Christmas tree that we’ve had for around 15 years & we still love it, it looks like a pine tree. Real trees are lovely but it’s sad to see them thrown out. The key is to get a tree that still has the roots so it can be replanted after Christmas. That way they are renewable and recyclable.  Did you know you can rent a Christmas tree? I was surprised at how many places offer a real or artificial tree hire. This means no more storage issues, too!

3. Avoid items requiring batteries. A tough one, I know. For those unavoidable items, use rechargeable batteries- they have 32 times less impact, a simple yet very effective solution! Battery World and http://Www.recyclingnearyou.com/au/batteries are also great resources for combating the 8000 tonnes of batteries per year that are thrown out.

4. Donate unwanted gifts. Did you know 78.5% of Australians receive a gift they don’t want and 13.7% will throw those gifts away. There are plenty of places that would gratefully accept your unwanted gifts- http://Www.secondchancetoys.com.au as well as local second hand stores mean your clutter is put to good use. There are many organisations that help disadvantaged women as well such as Share The Dignity and Wear for Success, very worthwhile causes to support. We also try to declutter and cull things we no longer use or love in the lead up to Christmas. It freshens up the energy in the house as well.

5. Give the gift of an experience, it will be treasured long after the festive season is over. In all honestly, I struggle to remember what I got last Christmas or even my birthday, but I still remember the funny lunches & cheeky Champagne girls nights. This year, a friend and I have decided instead of gifts we are going out for lunch with our kids. We don’t see each other that often as we’re at different stages in life and over the last couple of years we have struggled to make the time to catch up so it was a lovely idea that we’re looking forward to. There are so many ideas around- zoo memberships, wildlife magazine memberships (my daughter loves being part of Wildlife Warriors through Australia Zoo), Oxfam Give Geniously and countless others mean you have the gift that keeps on giving.

6. Avoid plastic. Whether it’s toys, or with Christmas lunch. I know it’s tempting to go with the disposable forks so you can avoid the washing up and it seems like ‘it’s only once a year’ but it all adds up. Doing the washing up can be a great bonding experience with family members you may not see often enough or a chance for the men or kids in the family to do their bit. Using bamboo dinnerware such as Bobo & Boo can be another great option.

7. Join us for the Sustainababy monthly eco challenge: Eco Tips That Won’t Cost The Earth! Not only will you get some great tips for the Holiday season, when you share a tip, pic or challenge- you’ll be in the running to win a $50 Sustainababy gift voucher- I’m sure that could come in handy!

We’d love to hear how you’re going in the lead up to Christmas? Share your tips, wins & challenges!

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