Vicky of Bath based charity Wicked Weather Watch gives us her top tips for having a more environmentally friendly Christmas…

We’re certainly beginning to feel very festive (I love this time of year with young children), yet increasingly pressing environmental issues are never very far from our thoughts, from global warming to palm oil to plastics in our oceans, there seems to be something about the state of our planet in the press most days.  It’s brilliant that these issues are starting to get the media attention they deserve, becoming part of our everyday conversations and hopefully inspiring changing attitudes and habits. So, whilst it’s lovely to get swept away in the sheer joy and cheer that is Christmas, thinking about the impact of Christmas on our environment has also been a hot topic this year.

For those who don’t want to compromise on the magic, fun and excitement of Christmas, but are concerned about their carbon footprint and the impact of all the festive consumerism on our fragile planet then there are lots ways we can consider having a more eco-friendly Christmas, from our choice of Christmas tree or what’s on our dinner plate to whether we send Christmas cards or how much plastic we’re buying the children.  Check out Friends of the Earth for some top tips on how to have a greener festive season or for ideas on green and ethical gift shopping in Bath read this fab local gift guide written by Karenza over at Ecojam Bath.

One thing we’ve been super excited about this year is exploring more environmentally friendly options to wrap our presents. Every year in the UK we use millions of rolls of wrapping paper, yet it’s not always recyclable. Here are some of our tips for more eco-friendly gift wrapping.

If you’re buying wrapping paper make sure it’s recycled or responsibly sourced – check for the FSC logo which guarantees harvested trees are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally.  Personally, I love brown craft paper which is recyclable, I love its simplicity and there are lots of ways you can jolly it up. A great option is getting your kids to decorate it for that personal touch.  To ensure your paper remains recyclable the best option is to decorate with marker pens – try to use washable where possible. Some products will prevent the paper being recycled, for example using paint or glue often makes the paper unrecyclable, or getting the paper wet is likely to damage the fibres and render it unrecyclable.  In place of plastic sticky tape, our most exciting buy of the season is biodegradable washi tape! We’ve bought many rolls from 80’s style festive jumper prints to neon pink and green to traditional Christmas patterns. We can’t wait to get wrapping our gifts with this marvelous stuff!

I’m also terrible for grabbing back any bits of ribbon to recycle – I often use my favourite bits for family when I know I can snatch back that ribbon once they’ve opened their gift (how dreadful to admit this publicly!) and I get really excited to receive presents from a certain friend who uses the most exquisite wrapping which I know will offer me some quality adornments for my own wrapping next year!  Another option is to use twine which I think makes your gift look more festive, and you could even add some foraged holly or pine cones, some Christmas tree cuttings, or even things we can find around our kitchen such as rosemary or cinnamon. These are great options to jazz up your gifts if you’re aiming for zero waste wrapping. Other ideas for zero-waste wrapping are using newspapers or magazines, layering old bits of wrapping paper that are too small to use on their own, or you even using a scarf or old fabric or an organic cotton tote bag. The possibilities are endless, release your creativity whilst doing good for our planet!

Thank you Vicky of Wicked Weather Watch for making us feel like we can have an impact! If you want to find out more about Wicked Weather Watch and learn some fun facts (did you know that there is more than one North Pole?!) then head over to their website.