December

What's new in my tiny little garden in December?

 

The cold has set in, and other than clearing and maintenance there isn’t a lot of leg work to do.

 

I was fortunate enough to get some new boots and new overalls this month so that the messy work can begin. Every winter, when things have lost their leaves it’s a great time to plan any renovations or changes to the current set up. We will raise the back of the garden slightly and place a picnic table there so that from next spring when I work from home I can actually mean work from the garden. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

 

Other than the cleanup we have little planned in the garden. It’s just a little too cold for me and for the plants. It’s exciting though for those friends in the southern hemisphere who are just getting started. Enjoy the rest and the holiday season.

Having a sustainable holiday season

 

Christmas decorations

 

Each year at Christmas more than 40 million felled trees are sold in the US alone, the demand in Europe for live trees excels 50 million a year with an additional 35 million live trees going to the US. Most of these trees originate from Germany who produce more than 19 million trees, France with 9 million, Denmark with 8 million, and Belgium and the UK produce about 4 million each.

 

As you can imagine, this tradition creates a lot of pressure on the environment and is not very sustainable in the long term.

What should I do with the live tree once Christmas is over?

 

When we were children my parents would buy a tree and after Christmas would plant them on the farm. This is great if you have a farm but if you are an urban gardener it may not be so handy. You could “guerilla garden” and plant it in the park or on the edge of a vacant lot. Many local city councils in the Netherlands collect the trees and recycle them in a sustainable manner or collect the live trees for replanting. (please note: that if you decide to illegally plant a tree somewhere, this is your own responsibility. I suggest you check your council bylaws.

 

Alternatives to a Christmas tree

There are lots of alternatives to getting a real Christmas tree this year. There are many lovely and creative ideas available on Pintrest.

 

  • Fake tree – It can last you many seasons, can be made from plastic, recycled clothing/felt, recycled wood, driftwood, cork, or sticks.
  • A wreath made from Holly or pine tree branches
  • Pine cones, branches, ribbons, and nuts
  • Reindeers made from corks
  • Sewing your own decorations or stockings
  • The important thing is that you can either use it again next year or recycle it in the compost bin

 

Remember that most Christmas cards, gift wrap, & envelopes can also be reused, recycled, or composted.

 

Sustainable gift ideas:

 

Think before you buy, ask yourself “Do we really need more stuff?”

If you still wish to get your loved ones a gift there are some non-commercial alternatives below that may work for you.

 

  • Make a donation on behalf of a loved one
  • Buy from used items from a 2nd hand, goodwill, or charity shop
  • Buy sustainable goods
  • Make or bake your own gifts
  • Give away cuttings or plants
  • Give seeds or seedlings
  • Make your own seed bombs (see how here)
  • Give experiences such as movie dates, day trips, learn a skill, or take some time away
  • Create vouchers for your time or skills

 

What about lights?

 

As the days are short and the darkness can creep in it may be nice to have some extra lights in the house. I would suggest picking LED lights or using candles. I have had my lights for about 10 years and do not intend to replace them once they stop working. We were also given some light stars last year by an aunt that upgraded to new lights last year.

 

Christmas has become one of the most wasteful and unsustainable holidays in the world. Of course we all enjoy gift giving and receiving but it is nice to be mindful of the environment and the needs of those less fortunate. Remember that the holidays are about family and friends and being together.

 

In saying that, I would like to thank you all for your support this year and wish you a wonderful holiday season.