Simple Ways To Live Seasonally During The Holidays
Use natural materials to decorate your home
The holidays are such a wonderful time of year for many, with the dark nights coming alive with festive lights, the warm seasonal drinks and the sweet sound of classic Christmas tunes. But the pressure to buy more and more can also be overwhelming as the holidays approach. It is expected that you purchase gifts for so many, buy bigger and better gifts each year, wear a new outfit for the big day, have decorations that impress – the list goes on. It can feel incredibly daunting to be surrounded by all these messages, and that’s why we are set on not getting swept up into this consumerist mindset. Instead, we want to get back to the basics of simply being with our loved ones and enjoying all of the fun this season has to offer. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t want to have decorations and enjoy Christmas! This will be our very first Christmas in our new home and as it’ll be just the two of us, we want to make it really special. Here are a handful of simple (and joyful) ways you can get back to basics and live a little more seasonal this holiday period!
Somewhere along the way we went from having a real tree to decorate, real mistletoe hanging in the doorway, real holly to decorate the table, to buying plastic copies of all of these. If you’re aiming to live more simply, opt to decorate your house with real greenery instead. It’s great fun to make your own seasonal decorations: make a real wreath, make your own centerpieces, and decorate a tree with your own handmade creations. (As an example, we love these easy wooden stars – simply use twigs and natural twine!) You can cut a few pieces of greenery from your own garden or keep an eye out for suitable plants on a walk. It’s a great way to get back in touch with nature and you’ll surely feel festive with all the fresh seasonal greenery in your home – and as a bonus, it’ll smell amazing! After Christmas, you can simply pop the greenery back outside into your garden (or into a compost) and it’ll break down on its own.
Buy local in-season produce from the market
We love to buy from the market all year round, but we are especially looking forward to all of the festive food that will be on offer this winter. We always buy in-season, locally grown produce: it is not only better for the planet, but also gives you what your body needs depending on the climate and where you are in the world. Living in sync with the seasons is just plain healthier! This December, we will be opting for hearty, warming foods such as winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, Brussel sprouts, leeks, cranberries and red cabbage. There is a reason that a lot of festive food is related to what is in season at the time, so embrace your region’s traditional holiday foods and have fun with fresh, local ingredients.
Buy a real tree or opt for a living Christmas tree
As we don’t already own a faux Christmas tree, we have bought a living tree this year. You can leave this tree outside all year and then bring it in to decorate for the festive period! But if that isn’t an option for you – and you don’t already have a faux tree – then buying a fresh, cut tree is the best option. This is due to the carbon emissions of both making a faux tree and disposing of it as well. The real tree would not have been grown if it weren’t for the demand, and so millions of trees are growing simply because people want them for Christmas – and while they grow over the years, they are absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Plus, if you dispose of the real tree correctly it is a much greener option overall. There are schemes in place in some parts of the world where you can have your tree collected and shredded, and then it can either be composted or used in green spaces. A faux tree is made of plastic and can’t be easily recycled, so typically ends up in landfill when disposed of – but if you would prefer a faux tree, consider buying one secondhand instead!
Finish your wrapped presents off using nature
There are so many brilliant ways to wrap presents that don’t send waste straight to landfill after the gifts are opened. We love it when people use fabric which can be reused as a kitchen towel, or recycled brown paper which can easily be reused or composted. But what about adding something a little extra to those presents? When plastic ribbon and bows aren’t a sustainable option, why not consider using a little bit of greenery. We love the idea of using natural twine and then including a sprig of pine, or even something like rosemary, for that final festive touch. These can easily be put into the garden after the present has been opened to return them to the earth.
Forage for festive food
Why not have a fun family outing during the holidays and forage for some food? Our favourite seasonal treat to forage is sweet chestnuts – what could be more festive than having some roasted chestnuts in front of the fire? Other treasures we love to find are rosehips, bullace (a type of plum), walnuts and mushrooms. Look up what you can forage in your region at this time of year, and you might be surprised at what you can find!
We hope we have given you a few ideas of how you can live a little more seasonally during the holidays. It really is just about getting back to the roots of it all: connecting with nature, savouring time spent with your friends and family, and wholeheartedly enjoying this magical time of year!