If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that everyone enjoys a bit of a foodie treat at Christmas. The main meal should be a time to relax, connect and celebrate, but how do you make sure that the food is sustainable?
The vegan/meat debate will continue to rage, with strong views on both sides. Whichever side of the fence you fall, making sure your food is local and seasonal is the best thing you can do.
If you are opting for a bird, choose one that is organic, local and free-range. Make sure it is big enough for your guests, but not so much that it gets wasted (and remember, use up those left overs with curries, sandwiches or search the net for other inventive left overs recipes - often they can be the best bits!!
Source your veggies from a local farm shop or trade with an allotment owner. Maybe make this the year that you join a veg box scheme or grow your own (we'll be having green beans from the summer that have been tucked away in the freezer).
Create a table centrepiece fron natural elements such as pine branches, holly from the hedgerow or simple dipped candles.
Add delicious scents by drying oranges or simmering mulled wine spices rather than using chemical sprays.
Bring out the fine china and the cloth napkins - this is the special occasion that you save them for! If you don't have any, hunt down mismatched chinas in the charity shops for an eclectic table setting or ask your guests to byo (bring your own) rather than buy disposables. Get everyone pitching in afterwards to help with the washing up rather than running the dishwasher and save the tablecloth/napkins until you have a full load of laundry. Use natural cleaners (soda crystals/baking soda/vinegar) rather than harsh chemicals.
Make up a big bowl of punch, jug of hot chocolate or cocktails/mocktails and set them out on the table rather than have individual bottles of water or fizzy drinks. There are some amazing food and drink producers in Somerset - head down to one of the farmer's markets and you'll probably meet the very person who grew your veg, or bottled your cider. Make the most of the delicious traditional varieties that are right on the doorstep in this lovely part of the world rather than something imported that has had to be preserved and transported thousands of miles.
Food scraps and veggie peelings can be composted or given to animals to minimise waste.
So, that wraps up our season of Christmas ideas. We hope that you've found lots of useful tips for making Christmas a little bit greener this year. We're always on the look out for other green ideas so share them with us via social media or the comment section. All that remains is for all the volunteers and directors of Somerset Eco Centre to wish you, our readers, members and supporters a Very Merry Christmas. We'll be back in the new year with lots of exciting news as we continue our work to make Somerset even more sustainable and create the Eco Centre vision.