5 min read

Solar-powered Lights and 6 Other Eco-friendly Christmas Options

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The end-of-year holiday season is almost here. Just as Christmas shall be celebrated by many, so too will there be many other celebrations in coming weeks worldwide for events such as Three Kings Day and Kwanzaa. These aforementioned holidays are in addition to the New Year festivities, and – while this year saw it fall earlier on the calendar – many who observed Hanukkah in late November and early December will surely be looking back on it fondly as 2021 comes to an end. 

For those who are participating in Christmas celebrations this year, you’ll know there are of course a number of ways to get into the Christmas spirit, from decorating at home to sending Christmas cards out. Undoubtedly there is much to be said for maintaining the joy and cheer that these celebrations bring. It’s also of course worthwhile to take pause now and then and reflect on what ways such activities can be enhanced, to celebrate Christmas in a joyous and eco-friendly way. So let’s look now at solar-powered Christmas lights and 6 other eco-friendly Christmas options.

 

1. Hang Solar-Powered Christmas Lights

For anyone yet to come across them, solar-powered Christmas lights essentially work in just the same way as regular outdoor Christmas lights except – you guessed it! – they are solar-powered. Although the precise specifications can differ slightly from product to product, essentially all lights will come with the globes, the cabling, and then a solar panel which allows for the generation of energy during the day. Then, the lights can flick on after sunset, and many sets of lights out there can run for up to 6 hours, allowing plenty of time between sunset and midnight – and beyond! – to let your home shine and spread the Christmas cheer throughout the neighbourhood.

 

2. And Regular Solar-Powered Lights!

Many Australians will celebrate Christmas in their backyard, with a BBQ or similar outdoor cookout. Cooking outdoors at Christmas is a great Australian pastime to pursue, yet one that will require lighting to carry on after the sunset. In addition to solar-powered Christmas lights for around the home, making use of solar-powered lights for the garden – such as in-ground lights for walkways or string lights to hang around a dining area – will enable the fun to continue into the night without having to head indoors.

 

3. Track Electricity Usage With a Home Energy Monitor

Although using solar-powered lights is fantastic it’s also a reality that many households – even those already equipped with a rooftop solar system – will of course be making use of electricity from the grid throughout Christmas. By using a home energy monitor it’s possible to regularly check and see which appliances are using a lot of energy. This is good practice throughout the year anyway, but given Christmas can see a lot of extra activity around the home such as more cooking, washing, and potentially the greater use of electronic gadgets and appliances if hosting parties, consulting with a home energy monitor can help identify and minimise any wasting of energy.

 

4. Send Christmas Cards Made From Recycled Paper

Sending Christmas cards is a timeless and thoughtful gesture, and paying some extra thought to the environment when selecting the type of cards that’ll be sent is truly terrific. Giving Christmas cards made from recycled paper not only helps to minimise waste, but it can also help make others who’re maybe yet to know recycled cards exist aware of them. As a result, this can help see others take up the use of recycled Christmas cards in years ahead, and accordingly, see a reduction of single-use cards in your wider social network.

 

5. Make an Event of Planting a Christmas Tree 

One of the greatest aspects of Christmas is the capacity to build traditions over time, from one year to the next. It’s why if you’re keen to create a new one this year, then planting a Christmas tree (be it in the garden, or a pot) is a great way to do so. Not only does this create the possibility to use the Christmas tree for celebrations in future (more on that in a moment) but it’s also a very visible symbol in the celebration of an eco-friendly Christmas. This is the kind of gesture that younger members of the family particularly can gain a greater understanding of sustainability from, and it helps sow the seeds of them pursuing their own sustainable practices in future. 

 

6. Reuse Your Christmas Trees

Although Christmas trees can take a while to grow before they become a sufficient size for use at Christmas – with estimates commonly indicating it’s prudent to allow up to four years for a tree to grow to size – so it’s necessary accordingly to factor that in if there’s an aspiration to use this Christmas tree as a focal point of celebrations in time ahead – it’s held it’s also possible to grow a Christmas tree outdoors in a (very) large pot, and then bring it in for a time during the Christmas season, before then returning it to the outside until the next year. This is a great way to have an eco-friendly tree in use each year, and it can also serve as a wonderful reminder of the celebrations had around Christmas when it sits outdoors throughout the year.

 

7. Utilise Reusable Decorations

There are fantastic reusable decorations out there that are well-made, beautiful, and set to stand the test of time. These may be a little harder to find at first, but once they’re in-hand they can be absolutely brilliant. What’s more, as many eco-friendly Christmas decorations can be made from materials such as wood and seashells, they can illustrate the eco-friendly identity of your Christmas celebrations in a very visible way, in addition to adding a local aspect to the decor, with the seashells evoking Australia’s vibrant and dynamic coastal beauty. The best thing about taking this approach is over time a Christmas tree (and other areas of the home where decor features) can come to be filled with many momentos that are used from one year to the next, and can eventually be handed down from generation to generation.

 

Recognise These Tips Can Take Time to Implement – And Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

For those who celebrate it, the Christmas season can be an incredible time. It’s one that allows us to reconnect and celebrate with those closest to us, and in a way that can be a challenge to do so in the same way at other times given the busy pace of the regular working year. It’s certainly terrific if anyone is right now keen to implement some changes in their Christmas traditions to make this particular Christmas more eco-friendly, but it’s also worthwhile to keep in mind it may be impossible – and indeed very stressful! – to try and introduce all these changes at once. The good thing about Christmas coming once a year is even if time doesn’t allow for many big changes this year, there’s certainly a lot of time between now and next Christmas that can be utilised to help prepare for a 2022 Christmas that is very eco-friendly.

This is essential to keep in mind as it’s no secret Christmas can also be very hectic. So for anyone passionate about having an eco-friendly Christmas but finding themselves short on time this year to implement ideas from this list here, there’s no need to fret! After all, just like growing a Christmas tree, growing this end-of-year holiday into a truly eco-friendly occasion can take a little time. So if not for this year, it can be great to just make a plan to look to pursue changes from this list for next year. 

In the meantime, it’s certainly been an incredible 2021! From everyone here at the Solar Trust Centre team, we send our best wishes for the holidays to you and yours!

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