Top tips for a cheap, eco & clutter free Christmas

eco-christmas-250Top tips for a cheap, eco & clutter free Christmas

Most of us love a bit of Christmas spirit but now that those Xmas ads start playing in September we can get fed up of Christmas shopping before we’ve even bought anything. Don’t fear… there is a way you can keep all the festive spirit without breaking the bank and what’s more your conscience will be as clutter free as your house with my eco-friendly tips!

 

Don we now our gay apparel…

December has got to be the best month for celebrations – with office parties, family gatherings and don’t forget NYE, there is no better time to cover yourself in glitter and get dressed up. But before you go rushing out to buy a new frock why not consider my tips for dressing up to the nines without breaking the bank. If you haven’t yet been to a swishing party you are missing a trick. This trend has been growing the last few years.

A swishing party involves getting your friends round with a glass of bubbly and exchanging your party dresses. Let’s face it those of us who are not celebs are not going to have too many opportunities to wear silk and sequins all year round so last year’s dresses look pretty new. But in an age of Facebook and Instagram wouldn’t it be nice to wear something different? Swishing parties let you get a whole new outfit so you can dazzle your colleagues with a stunning ‘new’ dress that hasn’t cost you a penny. If you want more of a selection you could organise a public swishing party online or advertising locally. There are also plenty of local charity shops to pop into for a bargain.

That’s the glad rags sorted without even leaving Hersham!

Don’t do:
Expensive new frocks

Do:
Swishing
Charity shops
Looking Fabulous

 

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree….

So you’re all set to put your decorations up, centre stage is the all-important tree. Christmas trees are bought and sold worldwide with little consideration for where they come from or where they’ll end up but there are some companies out there that care. Christmas Forest plant a tree in Africa for every tree they sell so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your tree is sustainable – Hersham’s closest branch is in Richmond. Real trees are generally better for the environment than fake trees BUT if you have a synthetic tree already DO re-use it! This is by far the cheapest and greenest thing to do!

A fun alternative to an indoor tree is to decorate a tree in your garden. You can now get solar powered Christmas lights bringing the festive spirit outside! If you want to splash out on a new tree lots of ferns are fast growing so you could plant a small tree this year and watch it grow each Christmas. This is especially fun if you have kids.

solar-lights-150Don’t do:
Brand new fake tree

Do:
Keep it real
(and …let it grow, let it grow, let it grooooww)
Solar lights

 

My true love gave to me….

Christmas is a time for giving! This is where we can really get sucked into the pressures of consumerism. Constant adverts telling to show your love for someone through your wallet. And the worst part is that some gifts are unwanted clutter, just added stress to the January blues. My number one piece of advice is don’t buy anything that you can’t afford. No friend or family would want your gift to them to leave you broke so ignore the guilt trips from the TV and follow my advice to give something special to your special someone.

Lots of charities offer ‘good gifts’ in which you can donate an amount on behalf of someone. They will receive a card or e-card letting them know.

There are many other gifts that take up no space at all like experience vouchers or spa days. Why not pay for your loved one to learn a new skill? You can find a list of local classes right here on The Hersham Hub – fun, fitness or educational for everyone from pre-school, kids,  right through to adults. You could also buy someone a subscription membership for their favourite charity, organisation or e-magazine. Sometimes these come with token gifts, for instance amnesty send this awesome Ecoffee cup or you get a cute cuddly toy if you adopt an animal from WWF!

If you want to save a bit of money you can always make your own redeemable gift vouchers. Why not offer your spouse a romantic night in? You could send your mates “Come dine with me” invitations – you get to show of your foodie skills with a gourmet recipe from the web.

If we get a white Christmas you could even offer the kids a day out sledging or a snowball fight! Trust me they will remember this for longer than the latest Frozen toy that you didn’t get them.

charity-gift-150Don’t do:
Expensive gifts
Plastic toys

Do:
Charity
Experiences & Classes
Memberships
Make your own gift vouchers!

 

Loads of people have started using e-cards or making a charity donation instead of sending cards. If you still want to send cards it is more environmentally friendly to make your own cards. This adds a personal touch, your friends and family will be proud to display a truly unique card in their home. If you have kids, it’s a great idea to get them to draw a picture for the card – this will be a fun activity and raise a smile!

Don’t do:
Store bought, mass produced cards

Do:
Homemade cards
e-cards

 

…and most importantly HAVE FUN!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the festivities.

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Olivia Palmer

Olivia is a blogger and social commentator who lives in Hersham. She has a Masters degree in Human Rights and International Relations. With a strong interest in politics and equality, Olivia has worked with a number of NGOs and recently stood as The Green Party's general election candidate for Esher and Walton. When she's not writing, you'll find her painting in the garden or head-banging in a moshpit at gigs and festivals!

You can read Olivia's blog here: esherandwaltongreens

View my other posts

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