Susty Stories

Forget a white Christmas, make it green


How to have a sustainable ChristmasImage courtesy of

Original post on DW

Bye-bye buy buy

Does Christmas really have to be synonymous with consuming in the name of a festive spirit? All that head-scratching to find the “perfect present” for the person who has everything? How about giving them nothing. Wrapped in… a smile? A shrug?


If the idea of such gift-giving minimalism doesn’t chime, there’s always the DIY approach. Okay, so it takes a bit more effort to make something than it does to click your way through an online shopping excursion, but what rewards… Cheap, cheerful and oh-so-unique.

Wrapped to last

And if you do succumb to the lure of giving presents that won’t wrap in either a smile or a shrug, you can still shun Christmas paper in favor of fabric. Chop up an old pillow case or sheet of shirt or whatever, and parcel your goodies up in that. Beautifully simple. Simply beautiful. Especially labels of old cardboard.

Chocolate or not?

Yes, yes, it tastes good. Most of it, at least. But chocolate is generally made with a generous dose of palm oil, grown on vast plantations that are responsible for ongoing deforestation in countries like Indonesia. The good news is, there are alternatives. An orange anyone?

Lighting up the December power bill

As pretty as they are, those millions of little lights that scream “Christmas” don’t power themselves. A simple string with 30 bulbs uses more electricity in six hours than an energy-efficient refrigerator gets through in a whole day. What, no lights? No, we’re not here to darken your party, just to gently suggest a switch to LEDs. Or candles…

Naked flame of truth

….but not any old candle. That would be too easy. Because far from being an eco-friendly alternative to electric lights at Christmas, most are oil-based. So if you want to watch the gentle flicker of a green-yellow flame while polishing your eco halo, the answer is beeswax.

Dressed for dinner

Christmas lunch. Giving up meat is widely regarded as one thing we could all do to help the climate and the environment. But this, the season of turkey, duck or goose served with trimmings, is unlikely to be time when die-hard carnivores decide to go veggie. Lucky for them, the New Year is just around the corner, dragging with it a clean slate for dietary resolutions.

Oh, Christmas tree

Ahh, the tree. The centerpiece that has long posed the fake vs. real question. Environmentally, neither are brilliant. Plastic ones leave an oil footprint, while their real counterparts are grown and harvested unsustainably. What to do? Not have one, make one, rent one or buy one in a pot. Choice paralysis. So many ways to ensure it is more than a single shade of green.



Tomiwa Isiaka
Tomiwa Isiaka is in her head a lot, so she writes, because that's what you do when you're in your head a lot.. She likes the sun, and that's what all this is about, environmental sustainability to keep the sun alive