Have Yourself A Sustainable Little Christmas

The most wonderful time of the year is here! We've got you covered with our guide to a sustainable, plant-based Christmas when it comes to food, decorations, gift buying and wrapping!

Wrapping

Beautifully-wrapped gifts are easily achieved without the need to buy colourful paper that not only adds another expense to our pockets, but creates yet more waste. Start saving the packaging from any of the presents or other products that you order online between now and Christmas. For example, companies like Flora & Fauna, Biome Eco Stores and Nourished Life wrap their orders in recycled brown paper which you can reuse to wrap your presents with.

To jazz things up, you can purchase a natural twine to secure the paper and add a bow of colour. There’s really no need at all for plastic bows that will simply end up in the bin, mere moments after their purpose is served. Lastly, if you have some available to you in your garden, adding a fresh sprig of greenery can add a beautiful final touch!

If you don’t have enough materials around the house and need to buy paper, gift tags or greeting cards, not to worry! Biome still have you covered in their cards & wrap section.

Gift Buying

The last thing you want to do at Christmas is line the pockets of corporations who are yet to remove animal testing or planet destruction from their processes. There’s no excuse in 2018 to still be supporting horrific animal abuse or excessive waste with all of the alternative options available to us.

Always check the gifts you wish to buy, particularly any gifts requested by friends or family who may not quite share your same concerns for animal welfare or protecting our environment. If you find that someone has requested an item that has been tested on animals or in some way contributes to animal cruelty (think animal-based cook books, certain brands of cosmetics or skin care, hobby supplies that are tested on animals, supplies used for animal-cruelty related sports, etc), it can be a good opportunity to find alternatives that you can suggest to them instead. It won’t always be accepted, but it’s still always worth a try.

It’s also a good idea to opt for either consumable or sustainable gifts wherever possible. In terms of consumable gifts, this would mean something that is used up over time and is not permanent, such as candles, soaps, edible items and so on. However, if the item you wish to buy is a permanent item that is not used up over time, we’d simply recommend trying to find the most sustainably-made version of that item. For example, when it comes to clothing or bags, look for brands that do not use leather or plastic-infused materials such as nylon or polyester. Go for things made from recycled/recyclable or bio-degradable fabrics, metals, woods and so on.

In Australia, there are thousands of stores who sell beautiful gifts that do not support animal testing, toxic ingredients or unsustainable materials. Certainly, Flora & Fauna, Biome Eco Stores and Nourished Life are all great places to start with thousands of products between them to choose from and many great gift ideas. You should be able to find something there for anyone, regardless of age, gender or interests. You can also check out our gift guide, which is full of popular and highly rated vegan products. There’s something there for everyone!

Decorating

Decorating is a huge part of Christmas! And there are loads of ways to ensure you’re not creating excess waste.

Trees

When it comes to trees, if you can, always go for real over plastic. If you must have a traditional tree, the best option is to grab a potted tree from your nearest florist or garden centre. Then, once Christmas is over, simply re-plant it outside so that it doesn’t wither and die. We also found some really innovative and cool ways to have a tree – without actually having a tree! Check out this wooden pallet Christmas tree with second-hand decorations for an inspiring alternative.

Decorations

You probably already have some decorations from prior years, but if you don’t, it’s worth checking out online trading posts such as Gumtree or eBay, where you can often find second-hand decorations available. Likewise, you can also check your local second-hand store. If that doesn’t appeal, you can always make your own Christmas decorations. Some simple options include naturally-scented candles, vases of fresh Christmas-themed flowers or collecting pine cones to decorate your home with. Naturally Living have also done an amazing job putting together a guide on 32 Homemade Eco-Friendly Christmas Decorations That Look Stunning which we’d highly recommend checking out!

Lights

While fairy lights do look amazing, they do bring a lot of extra plastic into this world that we could really live without. Instead of fairy lights, throw a few naturally-scented candles around your home during the festive season. Not only will you have beautiful flickering flame lights, but you’ll also get to enjoy their accompanying scents.

Food

Of course, Christmas is not Christmas without a lot of bloating incidents.

Those on plant-based diets will likely already know the difficulties at family events during this time of year. If you avoid bringing your diet up in conversation, it almost certainly still will be by someone else. Ignorant and uneducated remarks can be rampant, but it’s important to always keep your responses calm and intelligent. There’s no quicker way to shut down a particular topic than by being the most well-informed person in the room on said topic, which in this case, if you are a vegan yourself, you generally will be. Many vegans tend to spend a considerable amount of time conducting research on their food choices which the average person on an animal-based diet usually does not.

A great option for finding harmony at Christmas is to offer to prepare and bring along some of the food. That way, you can take some of the burden off your hosts, as well as give your family and friends the opportunity to try out some new foods that they might find go against their misconceptions of what plant-based food is. It’s hard to imagine as a vegan, but so many people still believe that our food choices are heavily limited, when in reality we know the opposite to be true. Cutting out eating the same 3 dead animals day after day opens up your world to an abundance of variety, colours and fresh flavours that you may never have thought to eat before!

If you’re lucky enough to have a supportive family who have asked you how they can accomodate your diet, and are looking for resources on how to cook plant-based foods, we’ve put together a list of recipes and resources for them below:

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