The most beautiful time of the year is unfortunately not the most environmentally friendly one. From the tree to the food to the gifts, it all adds a few boot numbers to our carbon footprint. In terms of emissions, the average German’s Christmas is comparable to a flight to London. But there is another way: With our tips, you are almost as environmentally friendly as Santa Claus on his reindeer sleigh.
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When it comes to sustainable Christmas gifts, it’s not just the contents that count, but also the packaging. | Photo: Monika Stawowy / unsplash
The Christmas tree
Nearly 30 million Christmas trees find their way into German households every year. Most of them come to an abrupt end after Epiphany and are simply thrown away. However, a plastic tree is not a good alternative, as the World Widelife Fund (WWF) points out. Artificial trees only pay on the already far too large mountain of plastic waste.
Better are trees in pots, because these can be planted after the festival. If you can’t find a suitable spot for it, you can rent Christmas trees in pots. Regional nurseries even deliver the trees for a fee to. Who does not want to do without the own tree quite classically in the stand, should at least make sure that the tree comes from FSC-certified forestry.
Tip: Fir needles in a cloth bag give off a nice room scent. This keeps a bit of festive cheer in the house, even when the tree has long been cleared away.
You are open to alternative Christmas traditions? Then decorate your living room palm or another large green plant in the house. A string of lights, a few bows or candy canes and it already radiates Christmas glow.
Speaking of fairy lights, fairy lights with LED bulbs consume much less energy than conventional ones. And these also come in different light colors, from bright to warm white. It is best to do without real candles altogether. Because burning produces nitrogen oxides and soot.
Instead of throwing away the classic Christmas tree in the new year, there are now many more sustainable alternatives that produce less waste. | Photo: Simon Berger / unsplash
The same rules actually apply to gifts as to any consumer decision if you want to live sustainably. First and foremost, you should consider whether the purchase really makes sense. Can the recipient really use it?
need? Does the gift have the longest possible life? A houseplant- with or without Christmas decorations is a more sustainable gift than a dancing plastic Santa Claus, for example. Gifts that require batteries are not in the spirit of the environment anyway. On the other hand, local products and everything that is edible score with a much better CO2 balance. And instead of many small gifts, which are perhaps only a nice surprise at the moment of unwrapping, it is better to give a larger gift.
True to the motto "Time instead of stuff A shared experience can be the nicer and more eco-friendly gift, from a barista class to an outing to a restaurant visit. Sponsorships are also a very personal gift: zoos and environmental protection organizations offer these for animals or trees.
On average, each German produces 338 kilograms of CO2 over the three festive seasons.
The one or other regional gift may be found while strolling at the Christmas market. | photo: cmo photo / unsplash
No Christmas without a feast. And especially when eating, the CO2 footprint rushes to dizzying heights. Because what we eat has an enormous impact on nature and the environment. The meat industry is responsible for almost 15 percent of our greenhouse gases worldwide. A vegetarian Christmas dinner makes the feast immediately a lot more sustainable. Add to that shopping regionally, seasonally, and with as little packaging as possible, and all the environmentally conscious Christmas angels will be singing for joy. Of course, you should freeze leftovers and not throw them away.
A good ecologically produced drop from a regional distillery or winery goes well with a sustainable Christmas dinner- üThe packaging is not just for the table, but also for under the tree as a gift.
A vegetarian Christmas dinner makes the celebration all the more sustainable. | Photo: Christina Rumpf / unsplash