Up to 8 million Christmas trees are bought every December in the UK alone; trees which are often left to rot and dry out once the tinsel and baubles have been taken down. Some good alternatives are tree rentals which are grown from sustainable sources and can carry on growing once returned, or growing your own! For those that suffer with allergies, real trees can pose a problem. Although the tree itself is often harmless, they can increase the number of mould spores in a room by about 6 times. Although made from plastic, an artificial tree can be used year after year, and if you don’t currently own one you could buy a second-hand one!
Livestock contributes nearly 15 percent of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gases, which is a pretty high percentage! Some alternatives to your turkey this year could be a nut roast or a veggie wellington, the world is your vegetable! Eating vegetarian has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and possibly cancer. For those of us who don’t fancy skipping out on the Christmas turkey there are still options available to make things a little healthier/environmentally friendly. This leads in very nicely to our next tip!
Not only does free-range meat cause less distress to the animal, buying from small, local butchers and shops means less carbon emissions used for transport and processing, as well as supporting local business. In addition to buying free range going for the organic option is a better alternative for your health, as some studies suggest they contain around 50% more nutritionally beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic meat.
Christmas shopping is one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season. A great way to reduce waste and help out the planet is to purchase from second-hand shops, either charity shops or online. Often this is a cheaper option than buying things new, and who doesn’t love a bargain! In 2018-2019, 339,000 tonnes of textiles were kept out of landfills as a result of high street charity shops in the UK, which shows just how much a small contribution can add up.
Another alternative to buying gifts new is to get creative! Making presents yourself has almost zero environmental impact (depending on how ambitious you are) and means you can reuse and recycle materials/items you already own. Not only that, arts and crafts are proven to reduce stress, boost confidence and enhance brain productivity!
When wrapping your beautiful homemade gifts or thoughtfully planned charity shop purchase make sure you’re wrapping them in an Eco-friendly way. You can do this by saving wrapping paper from previous years, using recyclable brown paper or even reusable material or gifts bags. You can read how to recycle e-Surgery packaging here.
TOP TIP: Keep Christmas cards from the previous year and re-purpose them into festive gift labels!
If you’re not the creative type buying a loved one an ‘experience’ such as a spa day, a pottery class or a weekend away avoids the need for excessive packaging and a product they might not use. Spending quality time with family and friends is a fantastic way to reduce stress and increase overall health and happiness.
A good way to work off those extra Christmas calories is to stay active and take a walk with friends/family. It’s a great way to spend some festive time together away from the distractions of modern life.
It can be harder to get your 5 a day when there’s a box of celebrations on offer, but if you’ve been good this year you might find an orange in your stocking! With all of the high fat, salt, and sugar foods that come with Christmas it’s all the more important to get in your necessary nutrients and vitamins. So remember to eat your sprouts!
Oranges also contain Vitamin C, which is proven to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults. This is definitely a plus as the winter months have increased rates of cold and flu. Despite common preconceptions, the increased rates are not actually related to the cold weather itself, and more to do with closer proximity to others, change of lifestyle habits, and less sunlight. So keep healthy and active and avoid the dreaded winter cold! For those with asthma remember to keep track of your inhaler use, as asthma can get worse in the winter months.
Christmas is a time for fun and relaxation, which often means the drinks are flowing! Whether a work Christmas party or a family get-together, it’s the perfect time to be merry. But it’s important not to let your alcohol consumption get out of hand, as excessive drinking over time can lead to cancer, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, and brain damage (plus it has been connected with high incidences of erectile dysfunction!) The recommended amount of alcohol is 14 units a week (equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.)
A box of chocolates is a tradition in thousands of UK households, and like both food and alcohol, it’s important to enjoy in moderation. If you are looking to decrease your environmental impact it’s important to consider where you are buying your chocolate from. Look out for the fair trade symbol on the outer packaging to find a product that is sourced ethically and sustainably. Buying from smaller, independent shops is also another way to reduce carbon emissions, as well as checking you are buying products with recyclable packaging. If you’re ordering medication remember that all of e-Surgery’s packaging is completely recyclable.
Although many of these tips might seem like small changes, together they can help keep you healthy as well as help the planet. If you have any more hints and tips send us a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (@eSurgeryCares).
Merry Christmas from the e-Surgery team!