With Christmas just around the corner, many of us would be thinking about gathering with our friends and family. This month will pass just as quickly as the rest of 2020, with the hunt for suitable gifts, cooking or booking Christmas dinners, choosing Christmas trees, and decorating our homes for one of the biggest celebrations in the year end calendar.
But, how many of us are taking a step back, and thinking about ways to make our Christmas celebrations greener? As we celebrate, isn’t it also the right time to think about how we can minimise the environmental impact of our festivities?
OrangeTee & Tie’s staff have been doing just that, inspired by the company’s long-term commitment to embrace sustainability in its day-to-day business, and impact future generations. Here are some of their practical steps and tips to make Christmas more sustainable, starting from their own homes.
Practical tips for a greener Christmas
1. Give practical gifts, including the gift wrap
“Giving gifts to my close friends is one of my biggest Christmas traditions. This year, I am planning to give practical gifts that my friends can use in their everyday lives to reduce waste, and use reusable bags or containers instead of wrapping paper for the gift wrap.”
Gabriel Lee, Customer Relations department
2. Gifting food and time, not things
“Christmas is the time for gift exchanges with my friends. This year, I plan to only gift food at Christmas or share a meal with my friends to celebrate, so that there will be less waste generated from unwanted gifts. In fact, I have stopped sending physical Christmas cards to my friends, with the exception of some of my overseas friends”
Sylvia Yeo, OTG
3. Upcycling gift boxes and supporting sustainable businesses
“While I don’t really celebrate Christmas, I do indulge in a sumptuous Christmas feast every year. Also, gift-giving during Christmas is something I enjoyed doing.”
“I prefer to bake homemade goodies instead of getting gifts, and I will not be using any wrapping paper for the gifts. Instead, I will upcycle my existing boxes and repurpose them into gift boxes which can be reused again by the receiver.”
“I have also started frequenting environmentally friendly shops for gifts. There is a growing number of eco-friendly shops around in Singapore who are playing their part to save the earth and are worth paying a visit.”
Chew Pei Yu, Human Resource department
4. Reduce waste with cloth gift wraps and zero Christmas décor
“Christmas for me is all about family reunions over dinner and a gift exchange, as well as attending church events. My family doesn’t even have decorations or a Christmas tree at home.”
“This year, I also plan to use cloth to wrap presents instead of wrapping paper, because cloth can be easily reused.”
Fong Ee Ming, Learning & Development Department
5. Virtual cards and safe gatherings
“Christmas is an important time for family bonding, but with Covid-19, we will be staying safe and having a virtual dinner gathering this year. Aside from reusing our Christmas trees and decorations, we will also be sending e-cards to reduce our impact on the environment.”
Patricia Lim, Finance Department
6. Reuse gift wrap
“Our Christmas traditions include a family dinner & a gift exchange while playing board games beside our reusable Christmas tree. We will also be unwrapping our presents very carefully in order to reuse the wrapping and produce less waste.”
Bernd, Marcomm department
7. Skip the gift wrap altogether
“During Christmas, we like to exchange presents and share a festive log cake. In the past I would reuse my gift wrapping paper, but this year I will be giving presents without wrapping it.”
Jacyln, Finance department
8. Reduce disposable utensils
“For our Christmas dinner this year, we will be opting for less disposable utensils, and supporting stores that use less packaging. We will also be using less wrapping for our gifts exchange.
Eileen, EO department
9. Choosing reusable wrapping paper and reducing food waste
“We enjoy decorating our tree and exchanging presents at Christmas. I have chosen wrapping paper that can be reused easily and will plan our Christmas dinner portions to reduce food waste.”
Moi Suei Ying, Marketing Communication department
Doing our part for a greener Christmas
OrangeTee & Tie, Singapore’s third largest real estate agency, was the first among its peers to pledge a long-term commitment to sustainability. Since 2019, the company has been taking steps to move towards zero waste in its operations. Earlier this year, the company launched its dedicated sustainability website (https://sustainability.orangetee.com/) to encourage its staff, agents, and others to do the same.
Do you have plans to make your Christmas more sustainable? Perhaps these tips will spur you on to find unique ways to have a greener Christmas.