Yes, you can have a fun festive season and be kind to the planet too. Here's how to have a sustainable Christmas in Singapore.
It’s the time of the year when we indulge ourselves with exuberant gifts, massive feasts and dreamy Christmas decorations. But we often forget the amount of waste that comes with the festive season. Food waste, buying one too many outfits due to hot deals, going crazy with gift wrapping and purchasing plastic Christmas decor… the list goes on. We’re not here to be the Grinch and take Christmas away from you. But with these easy tips, everyone can have a sustainable Christmas in Singapore. Read on to find out how you can play a part.
How to have a sustainable Christmas in Singapore
1. Get a real Christmas tree
What’s Christmas without a beautifully decorated Christmas tree to store your presents under? You can get yours from various stores and florists around Singapore. But if you’re wondering whether a real or artificial tree is better for the environment, you might be surprised to know it’s actually greener to get a living plant. Why? With real trees come fewer carbon emissions from production and shipping. Some even say you have to use an artificial tree for at least 20 years to minimise the environmental impact of producing it. They aren’t recyclable either. But a real Christmas tree or plant can live on after the Christmas lights come down.
2. Shop responsibly
This is a hard one for shopaholics, with mega shopping extravaganzas like 11.11 and Black Friday sales in place. So, how can we shop sustainably with these tempting events around? Opt for quality gifts that hold value and meaning. Instead of a marked-down cookie-cutter item, gift a lovely house plant, restaurant voucher or a unique item from a boutique local store. Go one step further and surprise a loved one with an experience like a fun craft workshop or a baking class. At least you’ll know they won’t return your gift or re-gift it to someone else.
3. Reduce food waste
Yes, it’s a tradition to have massive sharing portions, a whole turkey and hearty bone-in hams at the dinner table. But if your party size is on the more intimate side, here are some tips. Order fewer dishes when selecting your Christmas takeaways. Cooking your own meal? Opt for amazing plant-based alternatives, shop at local farms or bag your essentials at zero-waste grocery stores instead. If you’re still craving a traditional meal, be prepared for a week of reheating leftovers so they don’t go to waste!
4. Buying a new outfit? Hold that thought…
Ask yourself: do you really need another glamorous, sequin-heavy outfit that you’ll only use a handful of times before it gets stashed away in your wardrobe? Probably not. Be mindful of your shopping habits and purchase your Christmas outfit from a sustainable fashion label or vintage shop instead. They may not sport a crazy marked-down price like most fast fashion brands, but think about it from a cost-per-wear basis. Or, look to alternatives like clothes swapping or dress rentals. Psst: it’s also not a crime to repurpose old outfits!
5. Chill on the Christmas decor
Blue hues, classic red, frosty white… the choices of Christmas themes are endless – and really wasteful if you’re planning to purchase a new set of decorations every year. We don’t wanna say no to decorations altogether, so here are some tips to keep things sustainable: purchase handmade or eco-friendly decorations that can be recycled, or simply DIY! Get everyone in the family involved to create handmade ornaments using materials you can find at home. Alternatively, swap Christmas decor with your family and friends so you’ll always have something fresh and fun while being eco-friendly.
6. Go the Secret Santa route
To truly cut down on gift-buying and celebrate an eco-friendly Christmas, consider rounding up your family and friend groups for Secret Santa gift exchanges instead. This way, you’ll only be purchasing a couple of presents instead of getting one for everyone. We’ve all been there: the last-minute panic before attending a festive party, the department store sweep with all sorts of not-so-meaningful items just to tick things off your list, and the gifts that gather dust in a corner throughout the year. Skip all that, we say!
7. Don’t go OTT with gift wrapping
It’s cool to go minimal with your gift wrapping anyway, so why not give the understated look a go? Instead of gaudy ribbons and foil or glossy gift wrappers, switch to reusable fabric and recyclable paper. Also, put your wrapping skills to the test by using less tape. Feel free to reuse the packaging you’ve received too! Don’t throw out gift boxes, ribbons and other decorative items that come along with your gifts – they might come in handy for gifting down the line.
With these quick and easy tips, you’ll be on your way to a greener and more sustainable Christmas in no time.