How can we have a sustainable Christmas?

How can we have a sustainable Christmas?

Ideas and tips for your Sustainable Chrismas Shopping from Voucher Shares

Christmas is the time to celebrate with family and friends. But how do you feel about all the consumerism and commercial mania surrounding it? It seems to grow stronger each year. So how can we buy lovely presents and yet still support ethical companies and stay true to our own and Voucher Shares values of sustainability?

Presents are a big part of Christmas of course, and I love giving presents, but I want there to be some thought behind it, something that the person will enjoy or appreciate. And I also want to give something that doesn’t create more waste or pollute our environment in the process of being made. This doesn’t mean we have to preach veganism and sustainability to everybody around us, but we can choose environmentally friendly presents that tick all the boxes for us and also bring joy to those receiving. Here are a few things worth considering.

Recyclable wrapping paper.

Let’s start with wrapping paper: did you know that a lot of wrapping paper is not recyclable? I had no idea until last year, and thought if it’s made of paper it can be recycled. But anything with glitter, metallic decorations, and shiny coating can’t be recycled and actually contaminates the recycling process.

And so does sticky tape! Sticky tape cannot be recycled and is a huge culprit in the recycling process. So please remove any sticky tape from paper and don’t put it in the recycling bin. 

What can we use instead?

Brown paper – I save brown paper from when I receive parcels, and tie it with a nice ribbon.

Newspaper – maybe someone in your family buys a daily paper: use it to wrap presents, and combined with a ribbon it looks quite funky!

Fabric – buy a few meters of Christmassy cotton fabric and a roll of ribbon. Then reuse them the following year. 

Presents

What about presents? Here are some suggestions for sustainable and eco-friendly presents that don’t break the bank, and will hopefully leave you feeling like you have made a difference rather than added to the overload of rubbish, as well as made your point of standing up against animal cruelty. 

DIY – making your own presents is always appreciated: you can bake, sew, knit, make something out of driftwood, shells or other found objects. If you are good at making things the possibilities are endless. You can have fun making and you also get the satisfaction of having created some unique presents. There are many options to choose from in our Hobbies, Arts & Crafts category.

If you are good at baking, bring a basket with homemade cookies, cakes and chocolates, add some loose-leaf tea and a tea strainer and you have a whole hamper! 

Vegan toiletries – soaps, shampoo bars, face wash, body lotions etc. There are so many companies selling cruelty free and vegan toiletries. And you can get great prices with  The Somerset Toiletry voucher codesGreen People voucher codes,  Nakin Skincare voucher codes, REN Skincare voucher codes to mention a few. 

Vegan make-upIllamasqua is all vegan and cruelty fee. And check out Eco tools for vegan make-up brushes. Why not give someone a gift voucher and they can choose their own make-up? 

How about some shopping bags/totes? Help your friends use eco-friendly shopping bags. You can get some really fun totes on iwantoneofthose.com, and you can even personalise some of them.

If there are kids in the family why not give a pack of reusable straws? They now make them out of metal, bamboo, thick paper, silicon, and some even come with a bag and a tiny cleaning brush. And the kids will have fun using the brush to clean the straws.

Help save on plastic bottles and buy drinking bottles that keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot – Chilly’s is a well-known brand, but there are plenty of others on Amazon like Lalafancy, Sho, Moon, Ecooe etc.

If you love candles, have a look at The Handmade Candle Company. All vegan and phthalate-free candles, made from sustainable non-toxic soy wax. More choice of soy vax candles on Amazon.

More expensive but supporting a good cause is Rubymoon - Sustainable Swim and Activewear. The worlds only not-for-profit swimwear and activewear brand with environmental and social benefit. They are passionate about their product and mission which allows you to enjoy active lifestyle AND make the world a better place! Rubymoon ethos is called #100%NetProfit. Rubymoon start with materials to #SaveOurOceans then use all the profit for business loans to empower women entrepreneurs around the world. Their swimsuits are colourful and funky.

Last but not least – take away mugs. Bamboo take away mugs are sold everywhere, but how about something different? Check out KeepCup – a glass travel mug that also looks great. For ceramic travel mugs check out Not On The High Street Voucher codes and deals – stunning ceramic mugs inspired by the sea, or browse on Amazon for more ceramic mugs. They look lush and are a definite upgrade from all the bamboo mugs!  

Happy Christmas shopping! 

 

And, of cource, something sweet for you this Christmas Season.

 

Vegan Rice Pudding

This time my recipe is a sweet pudding – rice pudding with a twist.

The recipe is a slight modification of Irish Cream Rice Pudding Cake from the December issue of the magazine PlantBased.

It was the first time I tried it, and it was delicious! 

However, I didn’t have the Irish Cream Flavouring so I left it out. And I substituted some of the caster sugar for light brown muscovado sugar as I don’t like using white sugar. I found it quite sweet, so next time I will reduce the sugar.

It’s very simple to make, and reminds me of the rice pudding my mother used to make when I was a child, albeit that one wasn’t vegan. 

 

200 gr pudding rice (risotto rice works just as well)

720 ml unsweetened soya milk

150 gr castor sugar (can be reduced as it was quite sweet) 

50 gr light brown muscovado sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

5 tbsp custard powder + water

Pinch of nutmeg

Almond flakes to decorate

Vegan Rice Pudding ingredients

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4

Add pudding rice to a pan with plenty of water, boil for around 8-10 until rice is almost cooked. Drain off the water and put aside.

Add milk, sugar and vanilla essence to a separate saucepan and bring to boil.

In the meantime, put custard powder in a small bowl, add 3-4 tablespoons of water and mix with a fork until it forms a thickish paste (add more water if needed)

Pour the custard powder slowly into the milk while whisking, and boil on low heat until the custard is smooth and thick. 

Then add the rice, mix well and pour into a cake tin.

If you want to take the pudding out of the tin and cut it like a cake, you need to line the tin with baking paper (which I forgot to do!). 

Sprinkle some nutmeg and almond flakes on top, put it in the oven and bake for 50-60 min, until the pudding has firmed up. 

Take it out, let cool and refrigerate overnight to set. 

Now you can slice it and serve it – yummy!

 

Yamini Baars

Yamini Baars, massage therapist, mother of 2, and passionate about healthy conscious eating 

More blogs from Yamini:

1st of November - World Vegan Day!

What are the differences between vegan and vegetarian? 1st of October - World Vegetarian Day

Check out our latest Vegan products voucher codes and deals

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