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Have yourself a Green Christmas!

Posted: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by Community

(c) Anne-Marie Randall

Nothing beats the look and smell of a home decorated with winter foliage, and here's some great tips on how to have a green Christmas!

Decking the halls with boughs of holly is a Christmas tradition of which we still sing at this time of year.

And it would seem that at a time when sustainability is becoming increasingly higher in people’s minds, the idea of bringing in winter foliage to brighten our homes is becoming more and more popular.

Holly, ivy and mistletoe are among the plants that are particularly associated with the festive season, while seed cases such as pine cones can be used to add pretty touches.

(c) Railking

But while we encourage the use of sustainable decorations, it is keen to steer foliage foragers into gardens and away from nature reserves, where mistletoe and holly berries are important winter food for wild birds and mammals.

Christmas trees are an essential part of the season for most households and supporting local growers, rather than opting for imported trees, is very much the sustainable choice. Artificial trees do last longer, but are not necessarily greener. They are often not from renewable sources, are non-recyclable and have been shipped great distances. Question marks may also lie over the ethics of the labour used to make them.

Trees grown in Gloucestershire have not travelled long distances, which means pollution from transportation is vastly reduced, and they actually contribute to the quality of the air we breathe by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen while they are growing. 

Some growers now sell potted trees, which can be replanted after Christmas, while others have even started leasing trees over the festive season.

As well as decorating the inside of their homes, many people are now thinking about how they can make their gardens look pretty and appealing to wildlife at this time of year.

Birdseed Baubles!

(c) Anne-Marie Randall

Outside ‘Christmas’ trees decorated with fat balls is one way to bring the festive season outside, while strings of apples bring beauty to the garden and provide valuable food for wildlife.

Other things to bear in mind when planning a green Christmas include food shopping: look carefully at sell by dates, think about creative ways to reuse left overs and make a point of composting kitchen waste such as potato peelings and sprout trimmings.

Once Twelfth Night is over, the challenge for householders is to dispose of unwanted Christmas decorations and other associated debris as sustainably as possible.


Recycle Your Christmas Tree

(c) Emma Bradshaw

Most local authorities now operate Christmas tree composting collections, while several shop chains offer card recycling initiatives to raise money for charity.

Unwanted Christmas presents can be a sensitive problem, but why not use them to do some good by donating them to charity shops.

Finally, for those families feeling a little flat after Christmas day, why not leave the house and all of its festive trappings behind and enjoy a few hours in the great outdoors.

There are plenty of nature reserves and other wild places to explore and a multitude of animal, bird and plant life to see. Just take a look at our nature reserves page to find somewhere near you!

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