Guide to a Green Christmas 2021

Here are some ideas to keep Christmas festive but help make it more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Sustainable Gift-Buying

Giving and receiving gifts is the highlight of many people’s year but many of us end up stuff we don’t actually need. So here are some thoughtful gift ideas from local eco shops and artisans:

Lavender Eye Pillows from the finest Liberty fabrics & Soy Wax Candles with essential oils, handmade by local yoga teacher Beth Trotter. Order from beyoga.com to choose your favourite fabrics and scents. Also Online Yoga with Beth. Quote ‘PENNYPOST’ when booking for a £2 discount (valid until 31 Jan 2022).

Eco gifts for all the family from Marlborough’s Zero Waste Shop Packaging Not Included

Lots to discover at Packaging Not Included, in Hughenden Yard:  unique locally made gifts, festive foods, wine on tap, sustainable spirits, practical stocking fillers.
 
Plus, of course, all of the usual cleansing product and food, now including frozen foods.

Luxury Soap that supports women in Ghana from Agaré Shea

Our soap contains 50% shea butter produced from wild harvested shea nuts from Lawra, in Upper West Ghana. We pay fair price for the butter so when you buy Agaré you are helping to transform the lives of the producers and to protect the shea trees themselves from being felled (for charcoal).

Ethical stocking fillers and interesting gifts and cards for all ages at the lovely Going Green zero waste shop in Wantage’s Arbery Arcade. 

They also stock lots of ingredients for your festive cooking and sell convenient Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding kits.

Wooden Chopping Boards, platters & bowls handmade from local and reclaimed wood by Bob Franklin at Waney Edge Woodcraft in Thatcham. 

Each piece is unique and even Mary Berry bought one of his boards! Bob also makes Hemp Oil (that can be used to polish wood, leather and slate), and sells beeswax from Ball Hill.  Free delivery in the local area.

Beautiful hand-painted kitchenware by Hilary Reem at East Garston Pottery. White stoneware dishes, bowls, mugs, jugs and teapots. 

Hilary specialises in animal and plant designs including hares, horses, hens, fish and flowers. She is also happy to customise a dish with bespoke lettering or wording eg for a special birthday or wedding anniversary.

Furniture and Homeware handmade sustainably by Ben and Hattie in Newbury

They design and make small batches which they sell in their online store and bespoke pieces made for clients. Their work includes items such as laptop cases made from worn out sofas and elegant reclaimed oak homeware. Ben and Hattie focus on reusing materials to create beautiful products that can continue to live on for decades to come. 

Here are some more ideas, including low-carbon experiences and pampers:

• Pamper at Natura Spa Gift Voucher.
• Adventurous Escape Room experience Gift Voucher.
• Online relaxing and therapeutic yoga session with Janine Ford Gift Voucher.
• Gift boxes with Christmas themed candles and wax melts from Chalk and Cheese.
• Bespoke, upcycled handmade furniture and homeware from Ben and Hattie.
Pure Make-Up & Beauty Gift Voucher for the ultimate pamper.
• Handcarved wooden spoons, coffee scoops, earrings and pendants from The Woodlandcarver.

And if you are giving a battery-operated item why not included recyclable batteries and a charger with it?

Cards & Wrapping Paper

 Avoid cards or wrapping paper that are metallic, glittery, shiny, textured or have any decorations attached because they are not recyclable. If wrapping paper stays in a ball if you scrunch it, then it is probably recyclable. 

 Why not buy or make your own wrapping fabric that can be reused? There is an Eco Wrapping Workshop at City Arts Newbury and here is a youtube tutorial on making your own eco wrapping.

 If you receive non-recyclable cards, you can still cut them up to make gift tags for next year and local charities often collect stamps (comment below if you have stamps and Penny will collect).

Trees, Decorations & Lights

 Choose your own locally grown organic tree from Eastbury near Lambourn. Freshly cut, they will last really well and you get a free foot on both Nordic Fir and Spruces this year.

Unlike supermarket trees which are cut three weeks before you buy them, these fresh trees will last for weeks (especially if you keep the trunk sitting in water).

• Try making your own Christmas decorations from recycled or natural materials.

• Check out these top tips for safe and green Christmas tree lights.

• Find your local recycling point for your Christmas trees (some councils will collect them even if you haven’t paid to have your green bin collected). 

Food

If you eat meat, why not try local venison this Christmas? Low fat, free range with low food miles it is an ethical and healthy choice for you and the environment as deer enjoy a natural life and do not require feed or medication. But their foraging does threaten woodlands – this year especially as deer populations have soared due to reduced demand for venison from restaurants being closed during lockdown (see this article in the Daily Mail). Ask your local butcher for venison or order a delivery from Juliette at Savernake Game.

For a bakery selection, Honesty Christmas Shop offers gingerbread men, Christmas pudding and lots more (they make a lovely gifts too). 

Or try making these Sweet Potato Mincepies (recipe from Kate at Blackberry Cottage).

Leftovers 

Think about how much food you buy over the Christmas. An awful lot of food is wasted at Christmas so please up your leftovers and try to resist the supermarket offers (the fewer chocolates and nuts around, the fewer pounds to lose in the New Year…).

Here are some inspiring leftover recipes to get you started.  

And did you know that you can freeze wine? Click here for tips including freezing wine in an ice-cue tray for cooking or making sangria. Freezing can affect the flavour so you might not want to drink it straight.

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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale