With all the overindulgence that’s associated with the season, how can we do it all in a way that feels more sustainable and ethical without turning into Scrooge and taking the fun out of it all?
1. Make the most of your meat
See if you can get local or organic meat this year. It might be a little more expensive but it will taste a whole lot better and be far less harmful on the planet. Mass production of meat is a huge contributing factor to global warming so making good decisions about where you get it from and how much to consume is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t worry if you can’t manage it this year but do what you can to use up every last part of the turkey.
2. Cook up a veggie feast
It might be too much of a stretch to go meat-free on Christmas day but why not try a few vegetarian alternatives over the season? Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Nut Roast looks just that or what about Squash and Blue Cheese Wellington or this yummy-looking veg lasagne. Try to buy vegetables grown in this country, rather than those shipped thousands of miles around the world.
3. Make something you’ve always bought
I always try to leave some space for late-night Christmas baking. Homemade produce is often cheaper than what you can find in the shops and creates a whole lot less waste, plus you’ll impress people with your culinary/baking/cordon-bleu skills. Things like cranberry sauce, mince pies and gingerbread biscuits are super simple to make. This year why not make one item that you would usually buy from a shop?
4. Can I have some more please?
My brother’s favourite meal of Christmas is the Boxing Day buffet when you get to eat up everything you couldn’t get through the day before. Have some recipes up your sleeve for making good use of what is left over to reduce how much you waste. There are loads of ideas online, in fact Food Network has 76 Christmas Leftover Recipes! The celebrations can get a little excessive so plan well, carefully counting up how many mouths you have to feed and do your best not to go too crazy at the tills. It’s tough with all those tempting treats beckoning but consider what will keep and what will go off – as well as what realistically you will eat before it all starts to go very pear-shaped (trust me – I’ve been there and it wasn’t pretty).
5. Keep it festive with Fairtrade
There are so many Fairtrade goodies you can now buy, from Christmas pudding to a vegan chocolate selection box to After Dinner Mints to biscuits for cheese to Christmas cake. Lots of mainstream shops including Waitrose and Marks & Spencers do a pretty good range of Fairtrade products so it shouldn’t be too tricky to get a few items for your Christmas larder.
6. Bag some post-Christmas bargains
There’s an infamous story about an End-of-Christmas party that my friends and I hosted where we had a kilo of stilton on offer. We’d raided the local supermarket, and to our delight discovered loads of excellent party snacks for crazy cheap prices. It can be one of the best times to stock up on low-priced food that would otherwise get thrown away; some of which you can even freeze to eat up on one of those miserable, dark January nights. Everyone went home from that party with a stilton goodie bag and nothing went to waste.