Graffiti Tribe

Against the typical grain of thinking.

A Carbon-Neutral Christmas: It can happen!

This Christmas season I vow to keep it carbon neutral.


First step I’m taking is creating my own decorations out of materials that I find around my home. Yesterday, I made a Christmas wreath using scrap material and an old coat hanger. It’s quite easy, looks great and costs nothing! (I went to Rustic Pig for instructions.)

My ocean themed Christmas wreath using scraps of old material & a coat hanger.

My ocean themed Christmas wreath using scraps of old material & a coat hanger.

The next step is to make some Christmas baubles by attacking my scrap paper pile. Recently, I saw some craft ideas for eco-decorations on the Reverse Garbage Facebook page. I’m thinking I might give these a go. Unfortunately for me, they (RG) just finished a workshop series on eco-decorations but I consider myself to be pretty good at reverse engineering so will give it a go anyway.

For the tree, I haven’t quite decided what I will do. I have a small space so a big tree is not necessary. I’m thinking of maybe trying to create a tree using old Jenga pieces… stay tuned for that one.

Interestingly enough, I had a quick Google to see what’s out there for eco-trees and came across this article on The Malay Mail.

 eco-decorations by Reverse Garbage

eco-decorations by Reverse Garbage
 An eco-Christmas Tree

An eco-Christmas Tree


Once ‘Stage 1’ is done, I’ll move onto ‘Stage 2’: Gifts and Cards. The latter is a bit of a no-brainer as there’s already a big market for e-cards. Alternatively, there’s also the option to continue on the ‘arts and crafts’ theme by recycling cards from Christmases past.



With gifts, luckily for me I only have two nieces and one nephew. Last year I adopted an orang-utan for the oldest through The Orangutan Project. It was a hit and she loved it.

The orang-utan is a little girl by the name of Rahayu and my niece is still able to keep track of Rahayu’s progress on-line. All that’s required is an ongoing annual adoption fee of $100. It might sound hefty but in the grand scheme of yearly expenses, this is a mere blip on the money scale.

With the other kids, I’m thinking experiential gifts are the way to go than toys. For example, swimming lessons, IOU coupons listing various adventures (e.g. a night out in the backyard in a tent, a painting workshop, etc).

With the adults, I come from a long line of green thumbs so maybe a plant per family, or better still, a fruit-bearing tree may be the go.

If all else fails there is always the option to offset a year’s carbon footprint by purchasing a plot of forest. There’s a number of organisations that do that. Two that do it well, in particular, are Green Fleet and Carbon Neutral.


Agh! Of all the stages for attaining a carbon neutral Christmas, I think this one will be the hardest to achieve.

First of all, I need to decide where is Christmas going to be this year, who am I sharing it with and who is doing the catering?

Assume that this year I will be doing the catering. With maintaining a carbon neutral menu, there are two points for consideration: what is being served and how its going to be prepared. In my mind, this means there needs to be a willingness to break from tradition with what can be served on Christmas day. At the end of the day, Christmas is not really about what you eat but whom you eat it with.

Jan Powers farmers market in Mitchelton

Jan Powers farmers market in Mitchelton

Taking this ‘disclaimer’ (philosophy) into mind, the next port of call is where to buy the food. Immediately, I’m thinking about produce from a farmers market.

In Brisbane, we’re quite spoilt for options but the one stand out would be Jan Powers Farmers Market, which are held in the Queen Street, Mitchelton, the Powerhouse and Manly. They can also do Christmas orders if you get in early enough.

Preparation-wise, there’s a number of ways to cook a fish (my Pacific spin on that cat phrase) and I intend to take advantage of all of them. Stay tuned for that one too!

Ok, so I think this is enough to get me started towards my goal? I’m sure there’s a lot more I need to take into account to achieving my carbon neutral Christmas but at least it’s a start and, hopefully, whatever I’ve missed I can pick and learn along the way.


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