Gifts, parties, dinners and meals are the usual thing at Christmas time. And without forgetting that many households are marked by inequality during these dates, in others, there are expenses and actions that move away from conscious consumption and become wasteful. In order to reflect on this fact, we would like to propose 7 tips for a responsible Christmas.
1. The origin of the gift
At Christmas we buy the gifts we are asked to buy without thinking about where they come from. A responsible Christmas means being aware that everything we buy must have been made by someone under the conditions set by its producers. The textile sector is one of the most affected by labor exploitation, and many of the workshops of well-known brands in Spain are located in factories in South Asia, where many of them suffer labor exploitation. Look where the items you buy have been produced and if the brand does not make it easy, there are stores with certificates that guarantee that there has been no labor, environmental or child exploitation in the manufacture of their products.
2. For a responsible Christmas: proximity
The Internet connects us to the entire planet, no matter where you are. Internet shopping makes it possible to purchase anything you want, from anywhere in the world and in a short time. But we do not stop to think that the journey an item makes from its origin to reach our hands is accompanied by a large carbon footprint. We may be able to save some money, but the journey has left a very high environmental cost. In most cases, less is more. Give gifts but from sustainable and local businesses.
3. Not too little, but not too much
Up to 20% of the food we consume at Christmas ends up in the trash, both at home and in restaurants. Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are dates when food plays a fundamental role in the celebrations. There is a tendency to overbuy so that there is variety on the table and this is a handicap that causes more food than necessary to end up being left over. Organization in consumption is essential and, although it may seem obvious, we do not always stop to think calmly about what we really need, let’s make a list and buy only what is essential. Another way to tackle the problem is to make new recipes with food scraps to curb waste. On the Internet you will find recipes for a responsible Christmas.
4. Zero waste at Christmas
It happens that during the year we always carry cloth bags in our backpacks and bags, we carry them in the car or leave the house with the shopping cart. But when it comes to Christmas shopping, we ask in stores for plastic bags and packaging without control when they are, for the most part, unnecessary due to their high ecological cost. Don’t stop doing your daily actions just because it’s a different time of year. Always carry reusable bags for food and gifts, try not to buy those products that are wrapped in too much unnecessary packaging and do not contribute to generate the large amounts of garbage that are produced in these dates. A responsible Christmas involves taking into account the waste we produce.
5. Animals are not an object
At this time of the year, animal protection associations and centers are receiving numerous requests for animal adoptions as Christmas gifts. More than 306,000 animals are abandoned in Spain alone each year and a large part of these abandonments come from an adoption that was not reasoned at the time, but rather the result of a compulsive whim. When Christmas is over and people go back to their lives, animals develop behavioral problems due to misinformation from their caregivers. They realize that animals are living beings, with vital needs for attention, education and affection. Don’t forget that animals are sentient beings, that abandonment is a type of extremely cruel mistreatment and that, in Spain, it is included as a crime in article 337 of the Penal Code. An animal is not an object that can be given to a person who has not made a conscious decision to be responsible for a living being.
6. What if you give experiences as a gift?
Sometimes we give objects as gifts just for the sake of giving, when they are not really needed or there is no illusion behind them. It also happens with children, who are given excessive toys and end up accumulating them. If you don’t know what to buy, why not think about the option of giving an experience as a gift? Tickets for the theater, for a concert, for a museum or for a sporting event. Perhaps a workshop about an activity that the person enjoys or a course that can provide knowledge on a topic that interests them. A dinner in a special place or a weekend getaway. With these options you will be giving her, not only the experience, but also a nice time to live an experience together.
7. Rethink lighting at your responsible Christmas
One of the must-haves in Christmas decorations is lighting, and when the season arrives, we see the streets adorned with mantles of lights. The same happens in our homes. Choosing LED lights is an option, since they consume less than traditional ones. It’s a bigger investment in the purchase, but you’ll notice it on your electricity bill and thus reduce your carbon footprint. But LED lights also have a hidden side and it seems that many tons of CO2 are emitted in their manufacture. So a better alternative is to decorate your home with candles, which is a very warm and elegant option. Another choice is lights that use sunlight as energy. If you use battery-powered lights, always use rechargeable batteries. Remember that a single battery can contaminate 3000 liters of water and can take between 500 and 1000 years to degrade.