Guest post by Hannah Bullimore
With Christmas fast approaching there are plenty of details to consider. From planning a busy schedule to buying gifts and keeping your guests happy, you may be feeling the stress and strain of the season.
So how do you manage all of this and have a stylish and elegant home throughout the holidays without being overwhelmed by all the stuff that goes with them?
Minimalism is a huge trend at the moment and for good reason. Minimalism is popular amongst those looking for a home and holiday season that is both impeccably styled and perfectly relaxed without damaging the environment.
Here is our guide to creating paired back, elegant decor for your home this yuletide period.
What is Minimalism?
The ultimate relaxing space, a minimalist home uses neutral tones, sleek furniture and reduces the amount of clutter about the home. Popular in Scandinavia and Japan, minimalism isn’t just a way to decorate but a way of life.
Minimalism was born out of a need to reduce consumption and get back to basics in an effort to make life easier and to help the planet in the process.
5 Minimalist Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Festive Season
There are many things you can do to reduce the amount of clutter you’ve accumulated and will potentially acquire this season. Here are 5 things you can do right now to reduce that clutter and clear your mind and home for a less stressful, more enjoyable holiday.
1. Clear out old baubles.
Start to clear out old decorations before you even think about your colour scheme. Get rid of any decorations that have seen better days and give ornaments that you’re keeping a thorough clean. Fairy lights have a shelf life and can stop working if just one bulb goes. Make sure to check all the lights before decorating the tree to save time later.
Starting the winter festivities this way will set you up for a more relaxed (and stylish) holiday season and make creating a new theme much easier.
2. Go neutral and natural.
A neutral base colour for your decorations will mean you can make changes each year without having to start completely from scratch. Natural materials will add a Nordic feel as well as making your home extra cosy.
Consider bringing the outside in with evergreens, these decorations are timeless and are far better for the environment than plastic alternatives.
3. Carefully select your Christmas tree
A natural tree can be the perfect centrepiece for the festive season. However, 8 million trees are felled and are most end up in landfill just a few weeks later. As trees are biodegradable and can be turned into wood chips it is possible to avoid this; however, many aren’t willing to take their tree to be recycled. Make sure to research where you can take your tree in your local area before opting for a real tree.
Also, if you live in the UK, make sure to buy a British grown, environmentally friendly tree. Those trees approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are grown to a full cycle of nine years and each is replaced once cut down. Plus they won’t have travelled hundreds of miles to arrive in the UK, cutting down their carbon footprint even further.
4. Au natural gift wrap
Once the gifts are stacked under the Christmas tree they become just as much a part of the decoration as the baubles and tinsel.
Make gifts a part of minimalist decor by using environmentally friendly parcel paper and adding simple touches such as sprigs of evergreen to decorate. The gifts will look far more chic than when wrapped in patterned paper and the wrapping will be fully biodegradable as well.
5. Make the dining table a focal point
A well-laid dining table can be almost as extravagant as the tree. Making the table a focal point will reduce the need for other decorations.
Use crisp white linens, natural decorations and beautiful crockery to create a paired back, elegant look to draw the attention of your guests. Avoiding plastic cutlery and paper plates and only using reusable items will make your table both more elegant and kinder on the environment.
UK Waste at Christmas
The damage that plastic and other waste is doing to the environment is now well known. When Christmas arrives, though, the excitement of spending time with our loved ones and sharing thoughtful gifts can mean the environment gets forgotten.
Here are the stats on just how much Brits waste each festive season.
· 3 million tonnes of waste
· 83km2 of rubbish from wrapping paper alone
· 54 million platefuls of food
· 189 million batteries
· 40 million rolls of sticky tape
· 100 million black bags of packaging from toys and gifts
4 Ways to Reduce Waste This Christmas
1. Recycle wrapping paper
Whether you’ve kept last year’s wrapping to reuse or you’re going to use easily recycled brown parcel paper, just make sure that you can recycle gift wrap. Consider other reusable options such as wrapping gifts in fabric or scarves to add to the gift and make it entirely eco-friendly.
2. Give less, give better
It’s easy to get carried away when the holidays are getting closer. The best way to curb overspending is to make a list (check it twice) and stick to it! Don’t be lulled into buying extra gifts because of offers such as buy one get one free.
With kids, you could consider the rule of something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read to keep the gift pile from getting out of hand.
3. Get crafty
Gifts don’t have to be bought from a shop. Consider upcycling second-hand items or things you already have around the home. Creating homemade beauty products and putting them in mason jars with a beautiful bow is a great way to create an affordable, luxurious gift that skips out the throwaway packaging.
4. Don’t fill the fridge
It’s important guests don’t go hungry but the days when the shops closed for the whole holidays have long gone. Filling the fridge and cupboards to bursting will undoubtedly lead to waste. Consider what you really need, write a list, and stick to it. Don’t buy every bargain going and don’t buy lots of extras that will sit in the back of the cupboard until next year.
Research delicious recipes to make with those Christmas leftovers - there is more to do with the leftover turkey than simply make sandwiches!
What can be recycled this Christmas?
Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, cards and packaging. Festive celebrations create a lot of rubbish and here we have a guide to what you can and can’t recycle after the party is over.
Here is a list of the things you can and can’t put in the recycling bin.
Can be recycled:
Christmas cards and envelopes
Wrapping paper and cardboard packaging
Can’t be recycled:
Leftover food (unless you compost – and you should!)
If you're looking for other ways to consider the environment, then why not discover how to make your holiday wedding environmentally friendly. And for more festive fun, consider going on a gin tour of the Lake District this season or simply make one of the delicious gin cocktails from our cheat sheet!
How do you plan to create a more eco-friendly Christmas season this year? Drop a comment in the box below - we’d love to hear from you!
Hannah Bullimore is a writer and blogger from Newcastle. She loves the great outdoors and writes about yoga, wellbeing and her love of books. She is currently working on a novel and her blog can be found at hjbullimore.wordpress.com
photo credits: all images by Evolved Search, UK
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