Christmas can feel like a moral dilemma – while many of us try to make ethical choices the rest of the year, it can be hard to know where to start during the festive season. It’s not always easy to avoid excess, especially when kids are pushing for the latest device. Not to mention the fear of not having enough gravy for a second round of turkey – which leads to buying more food than we really need. But despite the conflict, there are ways to make Christmas more sustainable. The choices we make – about what goes on our plates, what we buy for our loved ones and what we put on our skin – impacts our health, our wildlife and environment, and the lives of people working in developing countries across the world.
Little choices can make a big difference, so this Christmas we’ve come up with 12 ways for you to enjoy a festive period that is better for people, animals and the environment.
The online Organic Christmas Market has everything you need to celebrate in style. Whether it’s your Christmas dinner, your favourite tipple or gift ideas for the whole family, we’ve got it covered – just in time for your Christmas shopping!
1. Plan your shop
Christmas is responsible for more than its fair share of the 5.3m tonnes of food the UK wastes each year – according to Love Food Hate Waste, we throw out the equivalent of 2m turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74m mince pies! So save time and money by planning your Christmas food shop in advance and opting for less, but higher quality organic ingredients.
2. Avoid the Christmas queues
Save yourself from the stress of your high street and source everything you need from the Soil Association Organic Christmas Market – without having to leave your house! Whether it’s your Christmas dinner, your favourite tipple or gift ideas for the whole family, we’ve got it covered – just in time for your Christmas shopping!
Another great way to keep the festive stress levels down is to sign up for a box scheme and get everything you need for Christmas delivered to your door!
3. Organic your Christmas dinner
Organic means working with nature, not against it, so this year if you’re going to make one small change at Christmas, why not opt for organic veg for your Christmas dinner? Choosing the most climate-friendly food choices means supporting sustainable agriculture and buying organic, local and seasonal food. Organic farms have 50% more wildlife, support more and better farming jobs, and cause less pollution.
4. Try an organic tipple
Opt for organic wine this Christmas and not only will you be supporting a more sustainable system of farming, but you’ll also be consuming less sulphur – which is rumoured to lessen the chances of a hangover!
5. Make your tree extra green
Many of the trees from garden centres and garage forecourts are intensively farmed on an industrial scale, sometimes from abroad. Instead, try going to a small-scale sustainable grower and/or make sure your Christmas tree has Forest Steward Council ® (FSC®) certification. Read this blog post for a list of producers.
6. Opt for high welfare, organic meat
90% of the 10 million turkeys sold in the UK each year are reared intensively. If you want to be sure your turkey has been fed a natural diet, had access to the outdoors and has not been reared using intensive farming methods, then choose organic; no system of farming has higher animal welfare standards.
7. Wrap up in Organic Cotton
Organic textiles are grown without the use of harmful pesticides or GMOs; promoting a healthier farm and environment. When you see the Soil Association logo you can be sure the textiles are planet friendly, promote better working conditions and high animal welfare, and are free from potentially harmful chemicals. Visit our Organic Christmas Market for ideas for 100% organic cotton gifts.
8. Be an organic beauty
Your skin is the largest organ on your body and what you put on it can be absorbed in tiny amounts.
This Christmas look naturally beautiful and choose organic beauty products. Visit the Organic Christmas Market and find everything you need to stock up on stunning gift ideas and festive treats for yourself.
9. Get down and dirty – visit your local farm shop
Last year, we took around 10,000 children to visit organic farms. The Soil Association has an extensive network of more than 150 farms across the UK that run special visits, open days and other public activities. Find out where your nearest farm is here and stock up on your Christmas supplies from your local farmer.
10. Wrap your gifts in planet-friendly wrapping paper
Every year we use millions of sheets of wrapping paper – make sure yours is responsibly sourced. Look for the FSC label for a guarantee that the wood or paper it contains is not the result of illegal logging or damaging forestry practices.
You can buy wood, paper and other products which come from forests that have been audited by the Soil Association. We check that every step in their journey, from forest to you, meets strict standards and ensure organisations have stuck to an agreed set of principles.
11. Caerphilly does it with your Christmas cheese!
When it comes to the all-important Christmas cheese, choose organic and put animal welfare first. No dairy cows enjoy higher welfare standards than organic cows.
12. Join the Soil Association
Give a gift that will continue making a difference long after the decorations have been boxed away. Take action to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world by becoming a member of the Soil Association today. Your membership will help support our campaigns for better food and farming, to stop wildlife-damaging pesticides for good and to give children a healthy eating education.