My eco friendly Christmas
My eldest son recently got elected as the class ‘Eco Warrior’ at school and it made me feel so proud. I guess some of my early eco-friendly roots are filtering through to my children after all!! But it did get me thinking that I could be doing an awful lot more. Let me share why and how I will be having a more eco-friendly Christmas this year.
I was raised in the 80’s by a bit of a hippy mum. She would take my sister and I along to rally’s and protests at the weekends. We spent our childhoods being educated and reminded about the impact which humans were having on the earth. Somewhere, in a box in my mum’s attic are a tonne of newspaper clippings from the front page of the Surrey comet of Alfie and I dressed as washing machines, tree frogs or whatever else fitted the bill that month!!
My mother and her colleagues at ‘Friends of the Earth’ were responsible for pioneering paper recycling in the Kingston borough. It’s mad to think that just a few years ago paper recycling wasn’t even a thing. I am proud to say that we played a huge part in making it a normal part of everyday life.
Sunday mornings for us consisted of spending the day at the dump! We would man a giant shipping container and families from across the borough would arrive with their newspapers for recycling. My job would be to scale the mountain of stacked newspapers and place the bundles neatly at the top of the tower. It was so fun and I have many fond memories of that time. So that was the start of paper recycling in Kingston. Eventually the council took over, funded it themselves and many years later it developed into the door to door service we know today.
That was my past but it was a long time ago and now my life has moved on. It’s hard work being environmentally friendly all the time and I am ashamed to say I make a lot of personal choices which have a negative impact on the environment simply because I haven’t planned in advance and am trying to save myself some time.
As a business I pledge from now on to make greater steps to reduce my environmental impact. I have had a few initial thoughts:
- My next batch of balloons will be biodegradable.
- I will start using newspaper and re-used paper in my ‘pass the parcel’ game at our Birthday Parties.
Our society spends £3billion a year on toys and the average child has 238 toys each!! (1) this is surely too much? I have the added problem of two boys who are born 2 and 4 weeks before Christmas. By January we are drowning in possessions and it feels so excessive and horrible. I don’t want to ruin the joy of my kids opening presents, but I don’t want to spoil them either. There are so many studies showing that children with less toys are incredibly creative, inventing ways to make toys last longer. Too many toys and distractions can lead to a child with a really low attention span. (1 Please click here for the article which evidences this study)
Now Christmas is fast approaching, friends and relatives are already asking what my boys would like as a present. What do they need? What are they into? Well, Thomas is really into cars and Sam loves Pokémon, but how many cars and Poké balls can one kid have? So this year I have decided to ask people to gift experiences for my children. Tickets to see a show at the Polka theatre, swimming lessons or driving a mini car round Mercedes Benz world.
I would also love to make it ‘cooler’ or at least more acceptable to be able to gift pre-loved toys and books. Charity shops are full of amazing things. My closest friends and family know that I often gift their children something which used to belong to mine. When you don’t know the parent that well(school friends for example) it is difficult. You don’t know how they will feel about you giving them a second hand gift. No one wants to be seen as tight fisted or mean, but just think about the lesson we are teaching our children by constantly buying new and shiny things. Imagine what they would learn from searching through their own toys for something they think their friend will love and sharing it? That’s a great lesson and really teaches our children what it means to ‘give’.
Nobody is perfect. We all have a long way to go and busy lives to lead, but any teeny change is a change for good. I urge you to look for the quick wins you can make in your world to have an eco-friendly Christmas 🙂
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