How to #LiveBetter this festive season

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It’s true: November always flies, and soon enough you are in the whirlwind of work Christmas parties, family gatherings, and festive nights out. It is worth thinking about your Christmas plans early, to save stress and last-minute buying in December.

Sustainability is the word on everybody’s lips right now, and we try to incorporate that ethos whenever we can. This is especially important to keep in mind around Christmas, a time that revolves heavily around consumption. Don’t worry – we don’t want to ruin the magic of Christmas, nor do we expect you to stop purchasing! We know that we’re all learning when it comes to being more environmentally aware, and we are all trying to do our best.

Here is our guide to help you be more mindful this Christmas, so you can do your part to make a positive impact on the world.

Note: This is an evolving guide, if you have any ideas or suggestions please get in touch as we’d love to share! Email Kerry, kmahony@irishcountrymagazine.ie

1. Cut down on wrapping paper

Did you know that 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away each year? Use newspaper and twine for a creative wrapping idea, or simply go without. Instead of a disposable gift bag, you could purchase a tote to put your present in: they are often low-cost and make a handy extra gift.

2. Mend and repair instead of buying new

We all know the frustration of spending hours untangling Christmas lights and then having them break, and it can be tempting to just throw them in the bin. If this is happening, invest in a high-quality pair to last you through the years, instead of cheaper battery-powered options. If they break, take them to your local electrician to see if you can get a repair.

3. Be a conscious consumer this Black Friday

We all know the excitement of swiping a great bargain, and during Black Friday the average Irish person purchases 4 products. It is easy to get swept up and make a hasty purchase. Plan ahead and have a good think about what you want to buy first. Then, if you still need that new kettle and you find it for 50% off, you’re in luck!

4. Shop local and #IrishMade

Christmas shopping can be stressful and most people now opt to buy online. However, try and make time to visit local retailers and have a browse in-person. We guarantee you will find some unique gems that stand out from the crowd, and you have the added bonus of supporting local Irish businesses. Check out the winners of our Irish Made Awards for some gift inspiration.

5. Embrace the retro and re-use old decorations

Although it can be tempting, you don’t need to load up on new baubles and decorations every year. Dust off the old decorations and re-use them instead – they’re just as good, look festive, and probably have more sentimental memories attached.

6. Gift experiences, not things

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When you have countless presents to buy, it is easy to go for quick, easy options. There are, however, plenty of thoughtful gifts you can give someone that don’t involve a physical product. Consider purchasing them a magazine subscription, donating to a charity in their name, or taking them for a fun day out. Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo, afternoon tea, or a trip to the theatre would all be fantastic options – and, unlike a physical present, the memories will last forever.

7. Re-gift!

Have you still got that bath set collecting dust in the back of your wardrobe, or that unopened wallet you never used? Don’t leave them go to waste! Re-gift it, so someone else can enjoy it instead.

8. Do a charity shop crawl

Charity shops are a treasure trove and have much more to offer than just clothes. Whether you need Christmas cards, some extra cutlery for Christmas dinner, a charity shop is a low-cost, ethical alternative to the high street. You’d be surprised at what you might find!

9. Get crafty

All gifts don’t need to be shop-bought, and just as much care can go into a homemade gift. Try making your own Christmas cards, or make an embroidery. A photo-book can  be a beautiful gift and is sure to be appreciated by anyone who receives it. Have a browse on Pinterest for some craft-making inspiration. Baked goods are another

10. Buy long-lasting gifts

This Christmas, consider buying gifts that will be loved forever and will do the distance. House plants are a thoughtful present and they will always think of you when they see it!

11. Buy a live tree

Real Christmas trees are better for the environment, due to the lack of plastic, and naturally biodegrade. Plus, you get to fill your home with the festive tree scent – a win-win.

12. Make zero waste decorations

Create your Christmas decorations from natural materials to be kinder to the environment. Tree branches and pine cones can make beautiful rustic decorations that will have your home looking straight out of the pages of a magazine!