It’s amazing to think that 25 days ago we started on this journey to be more mindful about our environmental and waste impacts this holiday season. We’ve both learnt a lot from each other and from talking to local businesses, op-shops and the Brisbane community. This advent calendar was a great way for us to contribute towards public education for waste management issues in Australia, with Christmas being our most impactful event that we have in our year.  

What was your Christmas footprint?

Liz’s Reflection:

As I hit the tail end of my Christmas organisation for the majority of my family and friends on Friday, I had a little pause to ponder what things I have maintained for gift giving and the festive season since my good old uni days, the new things that I’ve learnt this December and some thoughts that I have for how I’d like to approach my New Year.

In terms of presents, I am excited that the majority that I gifted this year I had a direct hand in creating, be it through food preparation, getting crafty with some handmade cosmetics (Photo A), beeswax wraps (Photo B) and crochet (Photo C). I enjoyed coming up with a treasure hunt (Photo D) to give my niece and nephew an ongoing experience of me and my partner’s time with a calendar for 2020. When I did purchase some coffee, I opted for a local brand Montville Coffee that was also Fairtrade and B corp certified.

If I had more time up my sleeve, I would have tried to source upcycled items for my Sydney niece and nephew’s craft kit, rather than purchasing new, but hey, that’s what next year is for! Similarly, with my wrapping situation (Photos E, F and G), I still have the same old never-ending roll of gift paper and metallic ribbons, but I know that when they do run out, I have had a go at trying out upcycled materials and cotton twine for some of the gifts I wrapped without sticky tape.

For food preparation, I think it’s been easier just planning for the two of us – an orphan’s Christmas doesn’t have the same demands as a fully kitted out family lunch or dinner. However, from the Christmas events that I have hosted or attended, I was more forward planning with how I was going to use up any potential leftovers (like Photos H and I) and became flexible to finish what was on hand before ducking to the shops.

Overall, I feel like I have made some great positive changes and made a start on Reframing my Christmas waste!

Katie’s Reflection:

During this advent season as I prepared with my family for the festive season, writing this blog with Liz has not only been enjoyable but has made me more aware of the wastefulness of many of my traditional Christmas practices.

The area in which I was most mindful this year was gifts. Last year, I gifted my family baked goods wrapped in cellophane, sent photo Christmas cards and purchased many presents without a thought to their origin, ethical manufacture or carbon footprint. This year due to a bit of research I realised that cellophane can not be recycled, so my baked goods were packaged in cleaned dip containers or strawberry jam bottles (Photo A). Instead of Christmas cards we made some Christmas videos to send to our friends and family overseas.

Each year we create our own hampers for our joint family gifts and this year when sourcing items to put in our family gift hamper, I became aware of the Indigenous Art Code, Fairtrade and B corp certification. We were able to source items locally from Rethink, Reverse Garbage and Mick’s Nuts as well as items from Life Apparel Co and Biome. Taking part in Liz’s productive Christmas party was not only a fun way to learn new recipes and meet new people, but the beeswax wraps and mango chutney we made that day were key items in our Christmas hampers (Photo B & C) – Thank you Liz for organising such a great event!

For packaging the hamper, instead of baskets and cellophane we have used in previous years, we repurposed old shoe boxes (Photo D). For other gifts, we had fun replacing traditional Christmas paper with material and ribbon, thanks to my Mum’s extensive material collection and the mountain of ribbons I have accumulated over the years (Photo E).

Regarding food, I bought most of the fruit and vegetables for Christmas Dinner from the Rocklea market, however the meat and all the baking ingredients had high food miles and extensive packaging. Local and package-free food purchasing is the key area I hope to focus on and tackle next Christmas!

Overall, I was excited to take my first steps towards reframing Christmas this year as I enjoyed cracking open our homemade bon bons (Photo F) and eating our Aussie-themed Christmas lunch in our garden next to the Lilly Pilly Christmas tree (Photo G). Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to 2020 being an amazing year to work together to Reframe Waste!

Share with us!

Today’s feature image is of my eleven-year-old Christmas tree. I was feeling really homesick during my first December living out of home and I ended up grabbing this little tree from the shops. The decorations are a mixture of some IKEA ones and a set that I was gifted by my partner’s mother when they sold up their house and hit the road for grey nomading across Australia.

What was your Christmas footprint like? Did you feel like you made some changes to your regular holiday routine from reading the blog? Comment below to let us know what were your favourite articles and the ideas that you’re going to take away for your New Year in 2020!

2 thoughts on “Day 25: Merry Christmas!”

  1. Although not from reading the blog, we have been more mindful this year: Many of our presents were either left in the envelopes/packages as delivered. Labels were either small stickies, or cut outs, repurposed from last year’s cards. Some were wrapped using the free newspapers that we collect throughout the year. Some of these strategies were learned from my Mother who lived through the post WWII austerity, when they were framed as “frugal” rather than “reducing consumer footprint”. But same outcome ! (We were as children encouraged to open gifts carefully, and re-use the Christmas wrapping paper: I swear some pieces had a half life only slightly shorter than C14!)

    1. It’s amazing how many of the ‘environmentally conscious’ ideas are drawn from that era. A lot of the little tid-bits I have picked up from my Nonna’s mindset growing up, particularly around avoiding wasting food and preserving things for a rainy day. Hope you had a lovely Christmas break Ian! 🙂

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