It is all but impossible to make it through this time of year without feeling the financial strain with each swipe of that credit card. But as it turns out, going green might just be the answer you’ve been looking for all along. We hear a great deal about how it might help to save our planet one day, but what we sometimes forget is that it can also save us money in the here and now.
Learning to live by the three R’s (Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose) can have untold benefits for you and your family. It encourages a healthier lifestyle. It fosters working in harmony with nature. And in a month of daunting (and often unnecessary) expenses, it can often serve as a reminder of the important things in life. So here are some of our handy tips to keep it green this festive season.
Wrapping that makes a difference.
Wrapping in fabric and ribbon, instead of expensive paper, is a great way to make use of a material that will upcycle for many years to come and can be yet again repurposed as washing rags when the fabric finally gets worse for wear. Otherwise, turn wrapping into a fun activity for the whole family. Repurpose those brown paper bags from the grocery store, or old newspaper, and add some Christmas flair with potato stamps cut out to create festive shapes.
Mix ‘n’ match with tableware.
Making use of 2nd hand wares, individually selected, and sustainable materials is a wonderful way to create a buzz around your table settings this month. Japan has perfected this art. Unlike the Western tradition that encourages matching sets, the Japanese collect and add to their crockery slowly over decades, finding unique items as they go along, and setting their tables according to season. As for a sustainable material that will serve you well, look no further than bamboo when purchasing a cheese platter or salad bowl. An invasive species, bamboo makes for an eco-friendly and durable alternative to plastic.
Treasure hunt and save those pennies.
Make an adventure of shopping with the family by gathering the troops and trawling your local charity shops for gifts this holiday season. From rowing machines to bicycles, embroidered cardigans and costume jewellery, there are untold treasures to be found and perhaps a stocking-filler for everybody. On the plus, you will have successfully avoided the chaos of the shopping centre, all the while doing your little bit for the community by supporting the right organisations in this, the season of giving. And of course, your bank account will no doubt thank you later.
Ultimately though, no expression rings truer than the familiar adage that they just don’t make things like they used to. Planned obsolescence locks us into a vicious cycle. Cheap goods end up costing us more as we endlessly replace them. So think precycling as you spend this month, think fabric napkins over decorative paper ones, and reduce your waste by investing in goods (whether new or 2nd hand) that will stand the test of time and save you in the long-term. With just the right amount of imagination and good will, there are countless ways to give and save this holiday season!
Date Published: 18 December 2015