Ecology is no longer a fad. Thank God, more and more people are paying attention to green topics, and especially here in Denmark, it is natural to think about nature and the environment. Let's have a Danish zero-waste Christmas.
Text: Natália Šepitková
The most important thing is preparation. You shouldn't rely on last-minute plans if you want a zero-waste Christmas. So be ready and make a Christmas to-do list a long time before. I wrote down some tips that you might find helpful.
Clean your house before Christmas in the eco-style. Reach for vinegar, baking soda and lemon. Probably, each of you has these simple products in your kitchen, so you don't need to buy anything new. Use as cleaning tools fabric tissues cut from old clothes and old toothbrushes. You will have cleaned with no budget and zero waste. The best cleaning assistant is also a vacuum cleaner, which can remove dust from your floor and furniture, sofa, walls, ceilings, and many other surfaces. If you want your house fresh, make your homemade fragrant universal cleaner. Mix vinegar and water in a ratio of 3 to 1, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Let citrus peels, lavender, cinnamon or vanilla soak in vinegar for a few days for a more eco-friendly version. Which combination of scents you choose is up to you.
Zero waste in your kitchen
Do you know it? Christmas time will pass quickly, and you will realise that you must throw away the amount of prepared food anyway. The rule for being in a zero-waste kitchen is to cook and bake only as much as is eaten, even for Christmas. Try to use unpackaged local products as much as possible, focusing more on bio-quality than cheap quantity. Remember that simple dishes with few ingredients always bring out the best taste. The good idea is to make a Christmas menu with recipes and buy only the exact ingredients. After all, Christmas is not only about food and drink but about gatherings and the presence of loved ones.
"It is expected to find a pair of socks or a book under a Christmas tree in Danish families. So, be like Danes and bring more hygge to your Christmas instead of material stuff."
Christmas tree in the pot
Are you also annoyed by the number of discarded Christmas trees everywhere after Christmas? I perfectly understand if a reusable plastic Christmas tree is nothing for you. Beyond everything, Denmark is one of Europe's leading producers of Christmas trees and greenery, with an annual production of 11 million trees, according to the Danish Christmas Tree Association. But for your zero-waste Christmas, there are two solutions: a Christmas tree in the pot or a rented one. A living, potted Christmas tree is the most sustainable option. You can nurture them outside when out of season and bring them in for winter, year after year. Just make sure the tree is adapted to your local climate. You can buy it everywhere, in flower shops, garden centres or supermarkets. I recommend buying it from a nearby tree nursery to support a local business. Renting a potted Christmas tree is the right choice for everyone who wants to enjoy a Christmas tree only during Christmas. The service includes bringing the tree to your home before Christmas and taking it away after Christmas. Rented Christmas trees will be planted out in the wild Danish nature again. Good deal, right?
In general, Danes prefer simple and modest Christmas gifts. It is expected to find a pair of socks or a book under a Christmas tree in Danish families. So, be like Danes and bring more hygge to your Christmas instead of material stuff. When choosing gifts, consider whether the recipient will be happy with the present and whether he needs it. Then, focus on quality. Small things made of natural and ecological materials are a good choice. Still don't have a clue? Here are a few tips for zero-waste gifts: an e-book or an audiobook, an online course, an experience (concert or event tickets, a voucher for a gourmet restaurant, etc.), homemade herbal tea, jam or cookies, your time (for example for babysitting or cleaning house). Don't forget about the eco-friendly packing. An old piece of paper or used boxes with creative Christmas decorations can be helpful. If you are skilled in handcrafts, you can easily make fabric Christmas bags from old clothes. What about, for example, old Christmas pyjamas, which are not cool anymore, and they only take up space in the closet?
Have a wonderful and hygge Christmas time! The most important thing is to have people around us instead of having a perfect Christmas design, a multi-course dinner, or plenty of expensive gifts. I wish you to experience the true essence of Christmas.