Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Waste Free Christmas & New Year?

I didn't aim for a waste free Christmas and New Year - largely because I didn't believe I'd ever achieve it and didn't want to have to deal with the disappointment. Having said that I did take steps to reduce the amount of rubbish I generated, including a few firsts.

Christmas Cards: I pruned our Christmas card list and only sent cards to friends I wouldn't be seeing in the run up to the day. I realise now that I missed out a few who should have received a card. I hope they'll forgive me. Also, I made my own cards from recycled blanks and last year's cards and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with them. I've made a mental note to start earlier next year and involve the girls more.

Christmas Presents: I cut back on these too and resisted the temptation to feel mean. Alan and I agreed not to buy each other a big present, although we both still filled each other's stockings. I bought the girls presents as usual and baked a few stollen for some good friends but that was about it. Building works put paid to my notion of making more homemade gifts but I was encouraged to see both my daughters offering their friends elegantly wrapped truffles and iced biscuits. I'm going to keep my eyes open for locally crafted items for next year's presents.

Christmas Dinner: We haven't had a traditional turkey dinner for years. This year, inspired by my daughters' visit to the south west of France, we had duck confit. I bought two ducks. Our butcher was too busy to joint it for me so I did it myself and, although we only needed the legs for the confit, absolutely none of the birds went to waste. The wings and breasts were eaten as separate meals, the carcass was boiled for stock, the fat was rendered for the confit and the skin crisped to make a tasty snack. Even the offal is in the freezer waiting to be fried and eaten with bruschetta. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal would have been proud of me.

Christmas Wreath: I fully intended to buy a traditional holly wreath but by the time I got round to it there were none to be had. So I made my own out of a willow ring and shiny wrappers.

Christmas Tree: We had a real tree, cut and mounted on a stump. I can't be sure of the environmental friendliness of its origins but it's even now sitting on our front wall waiting for the next recycling collection.

Wrapping Paper: With fewer presents there was less to wrap and I was able to manage on what I'd bought in previous years. I've a pile of used paper to sort through. What can't be salvaged for next year's cards will be recycled.

Decorations: Every year I allow myself one more decoration for the tree. This year it was an elephant from Bath Christmas Market. It's made of papier mache, so is probably not too damaging. Besides I intend to keep it forever.

Food: We ate and drank well, but not to excess. Most of our food came from Riverford and local shops.

All in all I was reasonably pleased with our efforts and hope to use this year's experiences to celebrate an even greener Christmas next year.

I'm interested to hear how the rest of you got on. I love picking up ideas from other people, so I hope you'll share.


Maisie said...

We also cut back, and i didn't buy the usual tins of chocs and biscuits, just to have them still there at Easter.

We had a turkey dinner but I also cooked enough extra veggies and mash to provide bubble and squeak easily for the next days dinner with some beef brisket that I cook on Christmas Eve.

Only I like Chrstmas pudding so this year I didn't bother making one and the cake we wouldn't have bothered either but Tom had to make one in school cookery.(very nice too).

I am also still using up wrapping paper bought in previous years, and still have more than enough for next year also.

just Gai said...

Mmmm ... bubble and squeak. The thing I miss most by not cooking a turkey dinner are the meals created with the leftovers - turkey sandwiches, turkey broth and even turkey curry!