If Christmas really is the season of peace and goodwill why not start planning now to make it a truly ethical occasion for yourself and your loved ones?
Charitable gestures in this season of giving are so easy to make at a cost which would even have Scrooge smiling with approval.
Just what does the way you wish someone a happy Christmas say about you? Old traditions die hard and it seems that writing a few scrawled clichés on a Hallmark greetings card is still the favoured method of most Brits.
The Royal Mail delivers as many as 150 million cards per day in the pre-Christmas run up but it is a sobering thought that these cards can take up to 30 years to decompose.
So why not send an ecard (an email wishing someone well) instead? You can actually make them more personal than a shop-bought card by pasting in a scene from a famous Christmas film (what about Jimmy Stewart’s It’s A Wonderful Life?) and using PhotoShop to superimpose a speech bubble with your greeting.
Charity Christmas cards are a fine alternative if this idea doesn’t appeal.
Cards that you receive can be recycled by organisations such as the Woodland Trust.
A compost bin can be a good Yuletide investment which will help you recycle much of the waste that the festivities generate.
If you’re dreaming of a green Christmas it is best to buy presents which don’t harm the environment. Buying the adoption rights to an animal can prove to be a great gift and what better time of the year can it be for adopting a reindeer?
For just £32 a year you can adopt a Cairngorm Mountain reindeer and receive photos, souvenirs and newsletters. The money will be well-spent on food and welfare (in the form of medicine and vets’ fees) for these magnificent creatures.
Polar bears can be adopted even more cheaply. For as little as £3 per month the World Wildlife Fund will let you adopt one of these Arctic animals.
It doesn’t take much imagination to decorate your house without ruining the planet. Plastic trees are not environmentally-friendly so you could always grow your own holly tree instead of supporting the trade in holly branches. Put seeds, a compost pellet and a terracotta pot on your Christmas list and watch your green credentials grow!
If it’s too late to do this in time for the big day, you can always contact Oxfam and make a donation so that a tree can be planted in a developing country.
No decent Christmas is complete without the chance to gorge yourself on food before slumping in front of the Queen’s speech with a paper crown on your head. Buying your choice of dinner locally, perhaps at farmers’ markets, is a sure-fire way of ticking the right green boxes.
With time off work, Christmas is a time to reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. You can always bring some seasonal cheer by buying an Everyclick eVoucher to give to someone to donate to their favourite charity before the year is out.