As Andy Williams suggests, Christmas should be the most wonderful time of the year. However, as we sing of our love for reindeer and robins, our consumerism and throw-away culture hits a yearly peak. This gravely endangers the world that they, and we, inhabit. Waste management company Biffa suggests that more than 100 million bags of rubbish are sent to landfill each Christmas. Similarly, Wildlife and Countryside Link finds that around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled in the UK this Christmas. But it’s not all doom and gloom: we have the power to make small but significant changes to help save our beautiful planet in her time of need.

The most sustainable way to celebrate Christmas is to reuse. This could mean digging out last year’s party dress, getting your decorations out of the loft and/or gifting small children the toys and clothes others have grown out of. If last year’s Christmas vibe isn’t hitting the spot, reusing could also involve buying second-hand outfits, decorations and gifts for yourself and others. For example, you could try our ‘Second-Hand Stocking Fillers’ challenge, where small gifts could include mugs, stationary, books and small toys. Second-hand children’s gifts are a really great way to not only save money, but also open up conversations about environmentalism and our planet. At Proper Job, we’ve been storing Christmas donations all year ready to display come November. So, we’re ready to welcome savvy Christmas shoppers with a range of stock. Our festive pieces include (but are not limited to): artificial trees; lights; decorations; candles; ornaments; music; books and cards.

If you’re not sure of what gift somebody would like, please don’t guess. Finder suggests that over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas. Of these, around 5% will be thrown away and not re-gifted, sold or donated. We, alongside other local businesses, offer gift vouchers which allow people to choose what they’d like for themselves post-Christmas.

You could also try recycling and reupholstering pre-loved items. Proper Job will be running several workshops over the festive period, teaching new skills to facilitate a sustainable Christmas. For example, our Christmas jumper workshop (26/11) will teach you how to adapt an existing sweater with applique, transfers and decorations to make your own unique sweater. Moreover, our Christmas wreath making workshop (03/12) will teach you how to weave your own reusable willow wreath ring and decorate it with seasonal greenery and decorations. We shall also be hosting workshops in Chagford and South Tawton primary schools, showing them how to have a sustainable Christmas. We hope that such workshops will help people realise that that ‘magical’ and ‘sustainable’ Christmases need not be mutually exclusive.

Think outside the box, get creative and help us normalise a second-hand Christmas.

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