A pile of unwanted presents on Boxing Day, wrapping paper strewn on the floor, tinsel drooping off plastic trees, hangovers, gout. If this is reminiscent of your Christmases past, remember, it doesn’t have to be this way! Life can be so much simpler without all the stuff that we’ve been conditioned to believe to be “festive tradition”. Make new traditions, set yourself free from the faff and get creative this holiday season with waste-free alternatives.
Photo credit: BuyMeOnce
Gifts that last a lifetime
Reducing waste does not necessarily mean going cold turkey. You can invest in quality items such as cast-iron pans, kitchen knives and baking sets. Check out BuyMeOnce for a long list of well-researched and tested products.
Photo credit: NO!W No Waste
Think outside the box
Whatever the gift, consider wrapping it in reusable cloth (from NO!W No Waste), useful tote bags, old newspapers, music sheets or different fabrics. Put your bad jokes from Christmas crackers inside homemade fortune cookies. Fashion your own Christmas tree using upcycled materials: wooden branches, wine bottles, your existing potted plants. There’s nothing that fairy lights can’t make pretty.
Fill up reusable glass jars and give the gift of homemade treats such as candied nuts, truffles, granola or dehydrated fruit. Here’s an all-time favourite recipe of mine:
Photo credit: Tesco
Bublé and biscotti
Perfect dipped in hot chocolate (both the biscotti and Michael Bublé), these addictive snacks keep well over the holidays and are always a crowd-pleaser. All dry ingredients, plus glass jars, can be found package free at Live Zero (shops in Sai Ying Pun and Sai Kung).
- 210g plain flour
- 150g caster sugar
- 45g rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 100g dried cranberries
- 100g pistachios, shelled
- 100g whole almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- Pop on a bit of Michael Bublé Christmas cheer and get in the mood for some holiday baking.
- Preheat your oven to 170°C and mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture until well combined and transfer to a floured surface – the dough will feel quite sticky here.
- Cut the dough into 2 pieces and roll into wide logs, about 2 in thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for approximately 30 min, or until the logs are slightly golden.
- Take the logs out of the oven and reduce the heat to 120°C. Let the logs cool for around 15 min. With a very sharp knife, slice the biscotti on the diagonal into pieces around 1 in thick and lay them face up on the same baking sheet. Bake for a further 40 min to dry them out. Your edible presents are now ready!
Hannah Chung is currently on a zero waste challenge; she seeks eco-alternatives and green solutions for everyday living and aims to achieve a zero waste life. Follow her journey on Instagram @thezerowastechallenge